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Hall says “more liberties” being taken against young Oilers in AHL

Oct 29, 2012, 3:00 PM EST

Eberle-RNH

Are the young Oilers currently with AHL Oklahoma City — Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz — playing with targets on their backs?

That was the question raised by Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun after a rough weekend of action.

On Friday, Nugent-Hopkins received some free (and crude) dental work while playing against Houston and Schultz — the reigning AHL Player of the Week — was given an especially rough ride, with Barons head coach Todd Nelson noting that “Houston keyed on him quite a bit.”

The keying continued on Sunday.

In Oklahoma City’s 4-2 win over Texas, Stars forward Antoine Roussel went knee-on-knee with Eberle, earning a five-minute major and game misconduct in the process.

“It was on my knee,” Eberle said afterward. “Was it intentional? Who knows?”

All of this alleged targeting comes at a precarious time.

Taylor Hall is primed to join the OKC lineup this week and play his first competitive games since undergoing shoulder surgery in May.

That’s another high-profile star set to join the Barons, and Hall is keenly aware of the treatment his teammates have been getting.

From The Sun:

Hall said from what he’s seen the league is a little more “reckless” and maybe the NHL guys are targets to some extent, but not to the degree it changes his idea about getting cleared to join his linemates and Schultz in action.

“Against Houston, remember we were going against two NHL defencemen on that team, too. It was definitely like playing them in the NHL.

“But I do think there is more liberties being taken against us, hacking and slashing and that sort of stuff. To me, it just amps me up.

“But Nuge takes that high stick and guys are playing us a lot tougher.”

All that said, the young Oilers realize this is an important part of the maturation process. If they can’t handle the heat in the AHL, they aren’t going to handle it in the NHL.

“There are going to be guys coming at you,” Schultz said. “They’re fighting for a job. They’re trying to prove themselves. I took a couple extra hacks. But I expect it. I have to prove I can handle it.

“I’m trying to prove myself, too.”

  1. ThatGuy - Oct 29, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Sounds like whining to me.

  2. pastabelly - Oct 29, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I really believe Hall would have been better off in Boston. He needs a change in scenery and to go to a tougher team. I’m glad the Bruins have Seguin. They were lucky Edmonton passed on him. But Hall would have been better off playing with Bergeron or Lucic than with all of those young kids in Edmonton who feel “picked on”.

  3. pastabelly - Oct 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    I guess the thumbs downs are from Bruins fans who just believe that Hall is a stiff and happy the Bruins didn’t wind up with him. :)

    • highcountryhellcats - Oct 29, 2012 at 7:18 PM

      Nah. Just a dumb opinion that nobody agrees with.

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 30, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    When the NHL Network runs the ‘Oil Change’ 34 times a week and your team has won nothing, it’s no surprise that people are making runs at you. Is it the young core’s fault? No. But players never like it when the media and the league(s) themselves anoint certain players. A lot the players Hall and Co. are facing will never make it to the NHL. They will get every shot in possible. EDM needs to make sure that their future core is protected.

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