Return of the Hall: Devils @ Oilers

Today’s the big day, Gary! Taylor Hall–the former Oilers first overall pick, Crystal Glass spokesperson, and co-founder of Ranch Wednesdays–returns to the city where he racked up a career record of 160-238-60. The Hall era was…something. Only a small fragment of the catastrophe that was Hall’s time in Edmonton was probably his fault. Hall was the centrepiece and oftentimes the blame child for miserable management, questionable coaching, and abysmal ownership. His time in Edmonton can really be summed up in one compound sentence: Steve Tambellini traded for Jerred Smithson at the deadline, which got him fired, which made Kevin and Daryl hire Craig MacTavish, who subsequently fired Ralph Kruger for some inexplicably shit awful reason and replaced him with Dallas Eakins. The Taylor fucking Hall era, boys and girls.

Of course, I’m not mad about any of that. I’m from the “everything happens for a reason” belief background, and without that near-decade of wrist slitting futility, we wouldn’t have landed Connor. Just think, if like one thing would have gone right while Taylor was here then Connor McDavid would be playing for like Buffalo or Arizona or Toronto. It’s a blessed life. Welcome home, Taylor.

Oh, and Luke Gazdic is back too.

Lineup

Speaking of eras, the Monster is finally gone!

Yes, Jonas has officially slide all the way to Bakersfield. He’ll never start a game for us again, barring injury (knocks every piece of wood in the city).

The rest of the lineup isn’t out yet and I got shit to do, but I’m assuming Tony Slepyshev and/or possibly Khaira will draw in for the recently demoted Lander and the recently terrible Matty Ice.

Tonight’s Opponent

Five Most Memorable Moments

We played New Jersey five days ago. You already know why they stink. Instead, I thought I’d do something a little different for this preview. I thought we’d make it all about Taylor Hall. He will get his video tonight at the Silent Jungle, but it won’t capture all his truly memorable moments as an Oiler. That’s what I’m here for. He are some of our memories of #4:

5. June 26, 2010: Oilers draft Taylor Hall first overall, who subsequently signs an endorsement deal with Easton and is forced to wear their piece of shit bucket.

4. March 30, 2013: Oilers. Canucks. This wasn’t your typical Hall-era game in March. Nope. This was actually the last time we were fighting for a playoff spot, because short season. Hall breaks Wayne Gretzky’s record for fastest hatty in Oiler history, burying three passed Bobby Luongo just 7:53 into the first period. Hank got BANGED up at this one. Woke up on a couch without a clue where his pants were. This was literally days before our epic late-season collapse.

3. June 26, 2010-June 29, 2016: Taylor Hall tries to toe drag, it doesn’t work.

2. January 17, 2012: Things are going so Oilerz that journeyman 8th defensemen Corey Potter steps on Hall’s face in warmups, resulting in 30 stitches and a face that looked like Harvey Dent after the Joker lit his mug up.

1. March 22, 2014: Taylor Hall is visibly upset with how shitty things are in Edmonton, promptly murders water bottle which happens to unintentionally spray the 2014/15 Dallas Eakins Award winner for Worst Coach of the Year, Dallas Eakins.

Our then-coach handled the moment about as well as he handled his first coaching gig in the NHL, by firing a towel at our then-franchise player.

Ah, the Oilerz days.

The Roundup

Back to us for a second, this is a huge game. We’re slowly falling behind the PAC-pack. Anaheim and San Jose are three points ahead, and Calgary’s win last night puts them a back behind us for third. Can’t have that.

Tuesday night was not the Iceman’s best performance. But thankfully, I can’t remember him having two bad games in a row this season. He’ll bounce back. Now it’s up to the boys to score on Cory Schneider. Buddy is the Oilers’ kryptonite. Can’t be relying on Matty Vegas to do it all the time.

Prediction

Hall feels no nostalgia at all while for gigantic concrete slabs but only seeing glass and luxury suits and the Sportsnet Lounge. The environment confuses him, and he gets off to a slower-than-usual start after making up for lost time at Cactus Club last night. The boys come out swinging, like the Offspring, and quickly bury the Devils in front of the Silent Faithful. Connor’s still two shy of 50 thanks to Martin Jones, so he gets three. Matty Vegas continues his fuegoism with two assists. Big Rig scores a pair.

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