Taylor Hall

Oilers’ Hall returns to Edmonton for further evaluation

The Edmonton Oilers have sent forward Taylor Hall home from the team’s six-game road trip for further evaluation on his left ankle the club announced Sunday.

Hall missed his fifth game due to the injury on Saturday night.

As Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press points out, Hall and Benoit Pouliot, who missed his second game due to injury on Saturday, account for a quarter of the Oilers’ goals this season.

“That’s an excuse, right? We’re not going to use it, but it is reality: We do miss those guys,” said Matt Hendricks following Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Leafs. “They play big minutes for us and are big offensive guys for us. But we’ve got to find ways to put pucks in the net.”

Hall has 11 goals and 30 points in 42 games this season.

The Oilers continue their road trip Monday night in New Jersey.

Oilers best Sharks in 13-round marathon shootout

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The Edmonton Oilers are by far the worst team in the NHL when it comes to protecting a lead established through 40 minutes and tonight looked like it might be another example of that, but they bounced back from their early third period struggles to earn a 5-4 shootout victory.

Edmonton had a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but the Sharks responded with three goals in the first half of the third, including Joe Pavelski’s 27th marker of the season.

For a while it looked like that might be the winner, but Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz managed to even things up in the dying minutes of regulation time.

After overtime failed to solve anything, Edmonton and San Jose settled in for a 13-round shootout. Both Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth and Sharks netminder Antti Niemi stood tall for much of the skills competition, with Fasth denying 12 of 13 skaters. In the end it was Rob Klinkhammer, who has just 20 goals in 151 career games, that managed to end the contest.

The Oilers have now won four of their last six games and have consequently opened a six-point lead over Buffalo in the battle to avoid the NHL basement. The Sabres have lost 14 straight contests.

At the same time, this was a potentially damaging night for Edmonton. The squad lost forwards Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Hall due to injuries, per the Oilers’ Twitter feed. Pouliot was hurt when he took a shot off his foot while Hall re-aggravated the leg injury that kept him out of Edmonton’s previous three contests.

Oilers’ Hall (bone bruise) to sit out versus Flames

Taylor Hall will not be ready to return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Hall has missed the last two games coming out of the All-Star break, after blocking a shot off the foot during practice on Monday. He’ll now miss three consecutive games, however he did skate Saturday with his teammates.

So, that’s a positive development.

“Today was good, the pain didn’t get worse . . . it even subsided a little bit,” said Hall, as per the Edmonton Journal.

“You can never really tell when you walk around with a skate on. It was just a weird injury. It wasn’t even a hard shot. Even if you look at it, there’s nothing there. There’s no swelling or anything.”

The Oilers, while they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, have won three of their last four games, but only once with Hall recently out of the lineup.

Hall has gone without a goal in his last five games, and has only scored once in his last 13 games.

“I just took a shot kind of where there is no protection right above the boot,” said Hall, as per NHL.com.

“It’s just an unfortunate thing. It hit the bone, hit right on the fibula and bruised it pretty bad.

“It’s always tough to tell with a foot injury when you get hit with the puck. Sometimes it hurts really bad and goes away 30 seconds later. This one hung around and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to practice and eventually wasn’t going to be able to play. It’s tough coming out of the break. I thought I refreshed my mind pretty well and I got prepared to have a good last 35 games and this happens. That’s the way it goes.”

Blues won’t extend Tarasenko ’til after season

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St. Louis tried to get started on a new contract for Vladimir Tarasenko earlier this season, but is now resigned to the fact it’ll have to wait until the year is over.

That’s per Sportsnet, who on Wednesday reported that Blues GM Doug Armstrong said there’ll be no Tarasenko extension until after the season. What’s more, Sportsnet also reported the Blues are unlikely to give the pending RFA a “bridge deal” — a shorter-term contract (often two-year) that would bring him to unrestricted free agency.

So, time to start speculating!

The 22-year-old Russian is in the midst of a breakout campaign, having already eclipsed his career-high in goals (24 thus far) while emerging as a point-a-game scorer. He’s also heading to his first All-Star Game in Columbus this weekend.

The 16th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, it’s conceivable Tarasenko could get a contract similar to what fellow draft mates Taylor Hall got from Edmonton (seven years, $42 million) or Jeff Skinner got from Carolina (six years, $34.35 million). The rub there, of course, is that both those deals were signed shortly before the old collective bargaining agreement expired; under the new CBA, we’ve seen more bridge deals given to RFAs, including a contentious one hammered out between Columbus and the fourth overall pick in Tarasenko’s draft year — Ryan Johansen.

It’s also worth noting that St. Louis doesn’t have a ton of money being freed up at the end of the season. Barret Jackman and his $3.25M cap hit are done, but the Blues have to also re-up with another key RFA: Jake Allen, the club’s goalie of the future.

PHT Morning Skate: Laviolette loses it on referee Kevin Pollock

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette lost it on an official last month during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. His problem? He claims referee Kevin Pollock was winking at the Blackhawks bench. (Puck Daddy)

Remember the name Denis Godla? He was the goaltender named tournament MVP and the best goaltender while playing for Slovakia at the recent world junior hockey championship. Godla made his professional debut in his native Slovakia this month and made a couple highlight-reel saves in his first game. (The Hockey News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Eric Staal wants to stick with Hurricanes. (ESPN)

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander is in Toronto now with the AHL’s Marlies and set to make his debut on Friday night. Chris Johnston writes there’s no need for the Leafs to rush the 2014 first-round pick. (Sportsnet)

Bo Didur is a 17-year-old junior hockey goalie with superstitions reminiscent of goaltenders such as Gump Worsley or Turk Broda. (The Vancouver Province)

Mississauga Steelheads owner receivd a note on his car that scared his children. (Steelheads)

Oilers’ Taylor Hall thinks this is the worst stretch of his career. (Jim Matheson)