• Taylor Hall and the World Championships

    by  • May 16, 2013 • Uncategorized • 25 Comments

    The Edmonton Oilers have been awfully supportive of Hockey Canada over the years. I was curious so I went and looked at the past decade or so and Edmonton’s sent 25 players to the World Championships for Team Canada in that time. Second best is Carolina, with 13. If you look at it on the basis of seasons out of the playoffs, Edmonton still scores very well – not many teams send more than their average of 3.13 guys per season out of the playoffs and those that beat it tend to be teams that are almost never out of the playoffs.

    I suspect that this is a bit of a cultural thing – Kevin Lowe’s he head of the Oilers and he has long standing ties with Hockey Canada. I assume that different teams have different views of the tournament and I suspect that the Oilers have more of a culture of encouraging their players to play in it. I tend to think that playing in high pressure games is good for players (and, honestly, Europe’s a blast and seeing a bit of the world isn’t a bad thing for young people), so I think it’s a good thing that the Oilers seem to be committed to it.

    Except…you’d hope that Hockey Canada isn’t going to invite your guys over there and then jerk them around. Taylor Hall finished second in the Western Conference in scoring this year and was top ten in the NHL. Somehow, he couldn’t play for Lindy Ruff. There isn’t particularly detailed information available but I’m told Hall didn’t play on the PP. He finished 11th in TOI for Team Canada, which was more than 19 minutes behind the guy who finished in 10th (Jordan Staal).

    The really weird thing about this is that despite getting very little ice time and none on the PP, Hall ended up second on the team in shots/60 minutes of TOI. If you could factor out the PP team, I suspect he ended up leading the team at 5v5. He was sitting for guys who did much less with their ice time in terms of generating shots. Shots/60 is a pretty good indicator of “How much offence are you generating?” so when you see a guy with a big number playing behind guys who are getting PP time and posting worse numbers, it’s a bit of a red flag.

    If I was a member of an organization that was really supportive of Hockey Canada, I’d be extremely irritated about this. I don’t know whether the Oilers leaned on Hall to go or not (I suspect he has his eye on the Olympics and wants to be seen as a good soldier) but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a kind of organizational pressure to go if you get an invite, given the number of Oilers who turn out. Some years the pickings are going to be lean for Hockey Canada and they’re probably a bit reliant on those teams that will encourage their guys to go.

    This is (or should be) a two way street. The Oilers consistently send guys over there because they see value in their players participating in the event. Other teams presumably don’t. If Hockey Canada is going to take a guy who has established himself as elite NHLer and sit him on the bench so that Lindy Ruff can play the guys with whom he’s familiar from the Eastern Conference, what, exactly, is the value that Hall’s getting out of this? What’s the value that the Oilers are getting out of this?

    We saw with Eric Staal today that playing in this tournament isn’t exactly a risk free proposition. Hopefully, the Oilers aren’t in a position again in my lifetime to send guys to the World Championships but if they are, they should look a bit more closely at what they’re getting for encouraging their players to go over there and take the risks that come from playing hockey. If I was the Oiler, I’d want Hall playing the big high pressure minutes – I want some reward from my risk that I’m taking on. You have to balance this a little bit – Justin Schultz didn’t play a ton but I have less of an issue with that because I think he can get value from the tournament simply by the continued exposure to high level competition.

    Taylor Hall though? He’s one of the best thirty players in the world or so. Sending him over there to sit on the bench is disrespectful towards the Oilers, disrespectful towards Hall, a waste of time and a risk that isn’t really commensurate with the reward. I hope that the Oilers remember this next time Hockey Canada is looking to borrow some players.

    (Also: if you were an organization that’s picked up a reputation, fair or not, as not the best one to play for, making a small public stink about this is an easy way to look good. Just sayin’.)

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com


    25 Responses to Taylor Hall and the World Championships

    1. cam
      May 16, 2013 at

      K. Lowe and Mac T should be calling Ruff and telling him he won’t be coaching again next year. Look at the reults so far. Team Canada has not exactlt lit it up with a very good team being sent over there. He has proven the coach. He is in the past. A talent laiden buffalo squad and he did nothing with them. At the least K Lowe should be telling every reporter he sees that it BS and Hall should be playing first or second line minutes.

    2. Jerodd
      May 16, 2013 at

      Taylor Hall played poorly when he started this tournament , he never got a chance to redeem himself. In a short series you need to make quick decisions.

      As you say teams really need to think about the risk reward of these tournaments. I hope Eric Staal is alright but I think not. Carolina maybe losing their #1 center for a long time.

      • Matt
        May 16, 2013 at

        I think it could be argued, in regards to Hall’s poor start, that a former first overall and a top ten scorer in the league is allowed to have a poor start and not get benched and limited icetime thereafter. I imagine had Stamkos had a poor start that he would have been given the benefit of the doubt.

    3. Jerodd
      May 16, 2013 at

      One other thing regarding the hit on Staal, it looked to me the refs were not calling a penalty until they saw Staal in agony. Am I correct?

    4. RiversQ
      May 16, 2013 at

      So when do we hear about Hall’s new shoulder injury?

    5. Sliderule
      May 16, 2013 at

      I believe Tippett was handling forwards and Trotz the PP so you can’t lay it all on Ruff.
      The oilers are one of the worst teams in NHL not only because they don’t have the horses but the young guns are brutal defensively
      Unlike the oiler coaches Ruff and company held Hall accountable.
      The last three games I saw the light turn on for Hall and Eberle as they both played a safer game with less cheating for offense and being responsible defensively.
      If the two of them learn from this the oilers will start to compete for my gawd might I say playoffs

      • Woodguy
        May 16, 2013 at

        So Ruff, the Head Coach, is not responsible on how the forwards are deployed?



        Sideburns are easy to grow and tough to shave.

      • nrXic
        May 16, 2013 at

        That may be the case, but it still doesn’t explain Hall’s absence on the PP. Those are minutes where you are less concerned if a player is defensively sound, and more concerned about the offense they can potentially generate.

        I can see that logic in regards to 5 on 5 play, but not in regards to the PP, an area the team looked lackluster in throughout the series. Choosing to not use your top scoring talent in that case, seems nonsensical. Canada should have had a punishing PP line (or two).

      • Dimas
        May 31, 2013 at

        The worst jersey to wear? At one time you were prtety much taking your life in your own hands if you wore a Canadiens jersey in Boston, or a Red Wings jersey in Chicago. LOL. Now I’m not sure of anything what with all this talk about political correctness, and tolerance of others. Lets go back to the old way of thinking. When it was perfectly acceptable, and I dare so obligatory to call a fan of a team you **** a moron.

    6. steelymac
      May 16, 2013 at

      Diehard Oil fan here and I to noted Halls limited icetime.I was able to watch every game of the tournament and honestly I have never seen Hall play as poorly as he did and that kills me to say that.Hallzy was guilty of quite a few neutral zone turnovers and got benched cause of it.TSN commentators made note of it and when they did I noticed Stamkos turning the puck over time and time again and he never missed a shift.Dushesne was Halls linemate and he is a hell of a player but at times he was doing the peewee puckhog thing with Hall wide open and on the fly.

    7. Matthew Watt
      May 17, 2013 at

      My issue from the periods I watch was the constant use of Wayne Simmonds, and the little flair he brought. Was not really doing a whole lot on the PP or at Evens, yet constantly being ran out there in the games I saw. Made no sense.

      What Hall did wrong though was get caught on a bunch of blue-line turnovers. It was mentioned several times by old Crow himself that one “has to get pucks deep.” Do those in coaching not question this idiom? You want players carrying it in. If he gets caught at the blue line every once in awhile, so what? Lot better than your own, which is what Hall excels at (getting pucks from out of his own zone to over the red line).

      I agree with others who saw some of the games like I did (probably watch about 6-7 periods in total for the tournament). Hall did not play his best hockey. In his defense though, he really wasn’t given the chance to.

      • grumpy
        May 17, 2013 at

        An offensive blue line turnover results in a goal against much more frequently than a turnover at the defensive blue line.

        • Matthew Watt
          May 17, 2013 at

          Based upon what? I think you may be right, but I am uncertain of this. Also, it has been proven that those who carry the puck in are more effective offensively than those who don’t. Isn’t that the price to pay then for having strong offensive players is that they will have the odd blue-line turnover?

          • spOILer
            May 18, 2013 at

            I don’t think anything has been proven. Teams have to be able to do both, and adjust to what the opposing D is giving and taking.

            Has anyone actually proven that utilizing one strategy to the exclusion of the other generates more success than doing both?

          • May 18, 2013 at

            Forwards have to be able to read what the opposing D is giving them and employ both strategies effectively.

            And I don’t think anyone has proven that using one strategy to the exclusion of the other is more effective than using both.

    8. Sliderule
      May 17, 2013 at

      I love Halls passion and drive but he has to slow his game down.

      When he gets excited he gets going too fast loses balance and becomes mr snow pants which he was doing a lot in first couple of games.

      The coaches didn’t have him penciled in for PP from the getgo which was their mistake as he is dynamic on the PP.

      The benching will benefit him as he played more controlled the last few games and next season will try to stick it to Nashville and Coyotes if Tippett is there.

    9. TigerUnderGlass
      May 17, 2013 at

      Where does the idea that a guy who tilts the ice a sharply as Hall does, sucks at defense?

      • TigerUnderGlass
        May 17, 2013 at

        My comment made no sense but you get the idea.

        • Tyler Dellow
          May 17, 2013 at

          I completely agree with TigerUnderGlass here. People get goofy with the whole idea of defence. I’d rather have a guy who scores 3 and allows 2 then a guy who scores 1 and allows 1.

    10. Pingback: Spectors Hockey | NHL Postseason Blog Beat – Friday, May 17, 2013.

    11. Bruce McCurdy
      May 17, 2013 at

      I watched every minute of every game wearing both my Oiler & Team Canada hearts on my respective sleeves & was alternately bemused and enraged by the coaching decisions. I do agree Hall played poorly for stretches, but he was given virtually no chance to play his way out of it, unlike many (lesser) players who Ruff trotted out time and again. In particular the 2nd powerplay unit was brutal from the first game to the last, yet E.Staal, Duchene & Simmonds were trotted out again and again and again to do nothing. They produced one goal in 10 games. Ruff picked his favourites early and stuck with them regardless of actual results … or lack of same.

      Worth noting that when Tyler says Hall didn’t finish in the top 10 in ice time, that’s the top 10 FORWARDS for pete’s sake. Pretty hard to tilt the ice from the freaking bench.

      Hall never got a single game with top 6 opportunity or ice time, despite having proved himself as an elite NHL scorer. I didn’t even mind when Ruff benched Hall in Game 2, but was fully expecting the coach to then unleash him at next opportunity. The following game Hall did respond and was flying, leading the team in goals an shots, but had the least ice time & shifts. It never really changed thereafter. To borrow Ruff’s own favourite term, it was a joke.

    12. Sliderule
      May 17, 2013 at

      The reason defence counts is that goals dry up in playoffs and big competition.
      You can tilt the ice all you want but are giving up breakaways and grade AAA scoring chances in your own end things will not go well.

      • Bruce McCurdy
        May 17, 2013 at

        I agree defence counts, obviously it does, but when guys like Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, or Claude Giroux made horrendous mistakes with the puck — as they all three did, just to pick on Flyers alone — Ruff wouldn’t sit them down for even one shift. The double standard was pretty obvious.

        • Matthew Watt
          May 17, 2013 at

          Simmonds was the one that really bothered me. Wasn’t really a factor in the games I saw, yet was continually ran out there. Furthermore, his ceiling has a player is lower than Hall’s, outside of physicality. So why was he continually out there. Made no sense to me.

    13. Sliderule
      May 17, 2013 at

      Bruce you are absolutely right it wasn’t fair.

      The coaches had him in doghouse before the first puck was dropped.

      I do think Hall played better in the limited time they gave him and learned from it.

      I have seen first hand how Tippett handled Turris so I feel he was a big part of the way they treated Hall

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