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Oilers’ Hall sounds upbeat thanks to health, familiarity

Aug 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

Offseasons have been difficult for Edmonton Oilers winger Taylor Hall beyond the disappointment of badly missing the playoffs. It seems like he’s had to deal with coaching change and/or rehab from a season-ending injury just about every time it gets hot outside.

That’s different this time around, and while some of the quotes provided to the Edmonton Sun seem like familiar refrains about entering a big season, Hall might have a point about some of those pluses.

“That’s a really nice way to go into a year,” Hall said. “There is no awkward handshake at the start of the season (with new coach), it’s a business-like attitude now. I think [head coach Dallas Eakins] feels really comfortable that way and I think all of us players over the course of 82 games got to know what Dallas expects from us and now we can hit ground running at camp.”

More than a few people were calling for Eakins’ head during the 2013-14 season, and even if his style truly might not translate to the NHL, it’s easy to see why Edmonton might want to finally stabilize a worldview that has become volatile even as top prospect after top prospect falls into the Oilers’ laps.

Hall’s injury history makes a solid argument that luck hasn’t always been on Edmonton’s side, either. Maybe a healthy offseason – literally and figuratively, considering some strong signings – will help the Oilers finally turn the tide, though?

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

  1. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I think it is very reasonable that they will be better this year – not a new coach, healthier, and improved goaltending. But even if they improve by 15-20 points, they still won’t have a realistic shot at making the playoffs given that they are in the WC.

  2. kclovesgaming - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Their record really was deceiving last year. The first 25 games of the season, they actually played really well. But there goaltending was so bad, it was literally every scoring chance and it was in the back of the net. Devan Dubnyk was so atrociously bad it wasn’t even funny. There’s a reason why he was shipped out and to Nashville and is now in the minors. He just couldn’t handle the pressure. Low and behold the team was .500 the rest of the entire season. I think they will be a lot better this year than people are thinking. Same coach, most of the players know his style and his system, GM MacTavish brought in better goaltending and better defense. The big question mark is up the middle. They won’t make the playoffs, but they will be close I think.

    • ray2013 - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      Last year was not Dubnyk’s first season. He played fine under previous coaches. I don’t think anyone saw him as a top-5 goalie but he wasn’t the league-worst until last season. They were not strong down the middle, even at full strength but then they also lost Gagner and RNH. MacT has no excuse why he hasn’t built up size and depth at the C position.

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