Taylor Hall

Hall may play again this season for Oilers, also eyes World Championships

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Taylor Hall has seen another season marred by injury issues, but we may see him play again before 2015-16.

Hall told the Edmonton Journal that he’s hoping to play in the upcoming world hockey championships and may even return for the Edmonton Oilers before this season is over.

“Going to the world championship would be good for me because I haven’t played much hockey this year and I haven’t played too much good hockey as well,” Hall said on Monday. “If I get invited (to wear the maple leaf), I’ll accept and hopefully we win a gold.”

The Edmonton Journal pointed out that he’d likely be joined by teammates Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, which would be an added bonus to playing in the summer.

Playing in that tournament makes sense, but it’s hard not to at least make the devil’s advocate argument regarding suiting up for the Oilers again. Considering where Edmonton ranks in the standings, some might wonder why Hall would risk aggravating his “bone injury” … again. Hall himself has admitted that he’s rushed back from injuries before, after all.

Even his comments regarding skating again raise a red flag for worriers in the audience.

“I practiced hard today, maybe too hard,” Hall said. “I’ll probably have to get my conditioning back before I can play.”

Taking a cautious approach would probably be wise, but for a player who’s never played a full season and missed at least 20 games three times at age 23, it’s understandable that Hall is also a little anxious to shake off some rust.

Oilers lose Fasth to knee injury (Updated)

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The Edmonton Oilers have been trying to at least end their disappointing 2014-15 campaign on a positive note and lately they’ve done okay in that regard with a 6-6-1 record following their loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 15. Their task of staying competitive got even harder tonight though.

Goaltender Viktor Fasth suffered a knee injury while attempting to stop Blake Wheeler’s deciding shootout goal in Winnipeg’s 5-4 victory tonight, per the Oilers Twitter feed.

Edmonton was already missing netminder Ben Scrivens due to a hamstring injury, which means it might turn to Richard Bachman on Wednesday against Boston. Bachman, 27, has a 3.02 GAA and .901 save percentage in 36 career NHL contests. Before being called up by Edmonton, he posted a 2.30 GAA and .921 save percentage in 22 AHL games in 2014-15.

The Oilers are also missing forward Taylor Hall (leg) and defenseman Nikita Nikitin (shoulder).

Update: Edmonton might be able to start Scrivens after all on Wednesday, per Jack Michaels.

‘Things are looking up’ for the Oilers

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That was Justin Schultz in the above video, saying how “things are looking up” for his Edmonton Oilers after three straight solid efforts on the road, including last night’s 4-3 overtime win in Montreal over the first-place team in the Atlantic Division.

Edmonton, playing without Taylor Hall for the fifth straight game, ended up outshooting the Habs, 38-26, in Thursday’s contest, one that left Montreal coach Michel Therrien to concede, “We were lucky to get one point.”

It wasn’t just a one-off either. The Oilers played the Islanders close Tuesday, despite losing 3-2, and they won the night before in New Jersey, 2-1, while holding the Devils to just 14 shots.

“That’s three good games in a row for us,” said coach Todd Nelson. “We just want to keep this thing going.”

Now, granted, the Oilers playing well at this point in the season may seem pointless. It may even seem counterproductive, given the incentive to out-terrible the Sabres, finish last overall and guarantee themselves one of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. That said, you can hardly blame the players for trying to win hockey games. That’s their job, and they’ve done enough losing already.

The Oilers take on the Sens Saturday in Ottawa.

Eberle brushes off trade rumors: ‘I want to be an Oiler’

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With Buffalo having fired the trade deadline’s first salvo — or, the first salvo in the tank-for-McEichel race, depending how you look at it — many are now focused on what the Sabres’ chief rival, Edmonton, will do in response.

One Oiler that’s appeared in trade rumors is Jordan Eberle. The 24-year-old is in his fifth season with the club, leads in both goals (15) and points (43), and knows his name is out there for all to see.

“Any time your team’s in the position we are, we have been for the last few years, names come up,” Eberle said, per NHL.com. “That’s the obvious thing, so you’ve got to put that aside. A lot of the times you have to try and use it as a compliment, you know, other teams want you.

“That being said, I want to be an Oiler, and I want to play here and I want to turn this thing around.”

These rumblings likely have more to do with Edmonton than Eberle. Primed to pick in the top-1o for the sixth year in a row, the Oilers head into tonight’s action 29th in the league — ahead of 30th-place Buffalo by four points — and as rudderless as ever. There’s no clear sign if GM Craig “Man of Action” MacTavish will give players one more chance, or start moving them out:

This invariably leads to talk about the “big three” of Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Of the group, Eberle is thought to be the most expendable because 1) he plays the wing, and 2) he’s the oldest. If Edmonton needs to retool in a significant manner, Eberle could net a significant return and there would be adequate replacements in the wings (pardon the pun), with Nail Yakupov topping the list.

That said, Edmonton would be giving up its alternate captain, most consistent scorer and longest-serving player. All of which is hard to fathom… on a variety of levels.

Oilers lose Hall again — what’s next?

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Big development in the McEichel Derby — on Tuesday, the Oilers announced that Taylor Hall was placed on IR:

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the suspicion is Hall suffered a “bone bruise’ that morphed into a fracture, and will miss the next 4-6 weeks as a result.

Two takeaways…

1) Will Hall play again this year? Assuming he misses the full six weeks, that puts a potential return around Mar. 24, at which point the Oilers will have 10 games left in the regular season. For a guy with a long, troubling history of health concerns — he’s now missed 60 games over his first four-and-a-half years in the NHL — the idea of shutting it down isn’t far-fetched, especially since it could benefit Edmonton in the aforementioned McEichel Derby (but hey, nobody tanks in the NHL.)

(Right?)

2) This latest injury will be a jumping off point for discussions about his future in Edmonton. This is, without question, another disappointing campaign; the Oilers are going to finish well out of the playoff picture and Hall, he of the $42 million deal and $6M cap hit, is on pace for his worst offensive campaign since he was a rookie (difficult to extrapolate given all the time he’s missed, but Hall’s current .71 points-per-game average is his lowest since breaking in during 2010-11.)

Remember, Hall’s already been the subject of trade rumors this year.