Taylor Hall is in his fifth NHL season and is getting ready to serve under his fourth bench boss after Dallas Eakins was fired on Monday. Eakins is just the latest coach to fail to lead the Oilers to even mediocrity and while he bears responsibility for that, he wasn’t the only one at fault.
“I got drafted by the Oilers and I love the franchise, I love the city,” said Hall, per the Edmonton Sun. “Standing here, having a new coach again, really makes you look in the mirror and wonder what you’ve done wrong.”
Hall is aware of the rumors suggesting that trading him might be one of Oilers GM Craig MacTavish’s next moves.
“I think everyone is going to be on watch, for sure,” Hall said.
“Everyone knows the importance of playing well for the new people in charge. If anyone understands that, it’s me. I haven’t been near as good as I can be.”
Hall’s production has been off this season, but over the last few years he’s nevertheless established himself as a top-tier forward. When reporting on the possibility of Hall being dealt, TSN’s Darren Dreger emphasized that the reason Hall might be traded isn’t necessary due to his work on the ice, but because he has become the face of Edmonton’s “sagging work ethic and a lack of culture.”
If nothing else, the Oilers’ culture problems don’t seem to be in dispute. As captain Andrew Ference put it on Dec. 1 following Edmonton’s 5-2 loss to Arizona, “To come here and have to eke pride out of guys to get out there and pay attention and do details … it’s not right. … It’s 100% unacceptable.”
Fast forward two weeks and Ference is saying that the Oilers’ fix is easy, provided the players mean it when they talk about taking the steps necessary to turn the team around.
“Dedicating yourself to a team and a system and doing what you’re told, playing the same way as your whole team, that’s a decision,” Ference said. “That’s something you can change and it doesn’t take years and years of practice. But everyone has to make that decision themselves.”