Oilers Lose Taylor Hall, but Won the Game

Taylor Hall
(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Edmonton Oilers desperately needed a win. They only had one so far on the season and have looked far from anything resembling a playoff ready team. Facing the road weary Ottawa Senators was just what the doctor ordered for the Oilers. They managed to get the win, and Devan Dubnyk stood tall in his first victory of the season. He seemed poised and confident in the net, at least after the first period, and did his job to help seal the win despite a strong push by the Sens in the third.

Bittersweet Win for the Oilers

It seems as though there should be a lot of smiling faces in Edmonton after today’s game, but alas in terms of injuries this team can’t catch a break. Taylor Hall, arguably their best player so far this season, was hit by Eric Gryba in the second period and was forced to leave the game. Gryba didn’t get a penalty call for appeared to be a knee-on-knee hit, but Hall found himself in the box for a retaliatory slashing call. After exiting the penalty box Hall, quickly left the game and didn’t return.

Hall is no stranger to injury, having suffered numerous aliments throughout his short NHL career. His style of play is sometimes conducive to injury, his fast and often reckless skating through the neutral zone and behind the net leaves him vulnerable.

Lars Eller - Aftermath of the  Gryba hit. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)
Lars Eller – Aftermath of the Gryba hit. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

Was it a Dirty Hit?

Knee-on-knee hits, in my opinion, are the dirtiest in the game. They’re dangerous and unnecessary. The question here, was Gryba’s hit a dirty one? Hall’s reaction deemed him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. He was not happy whatsoever with the play. But Gryba wasn’t penalized for it. Debating whether or not a hit is dirty, or just a hockey play, happens on an almost daily basis. Citing that Gryba is a dirty player because of his hit on Lars Eller in the playoffs last season might be stretching it a little, but when your star player gets knocked out, you want someone to pay.

Gryba probably won’t get suspended, in fact the league likely won’t even look at it. There have been much more outrageous hits of this nature. It’s unfortunate there could be a significant injury, but not every hit warrants a suspension. The point is that Hall is injured, and no one knows for how long. He was reportedly seen leaving the arena in a knee brace.

Not having Hall in the line-up is the last thing this team needed. They finally got a win, Dubnyk put together two solid games in a row, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is playing great and Sam Gagner is skating again. But no one ever said life in the NHL was easy. Every team faces key injuries at some point. It’s a tough break for Hall, who can’t seem to string together a full healthy season. The Oilers got the two points, something that has alluded them for the majority of this season. Losing Hall was the last thing they needed. Their goaltender stealing them a victory? Exactly what they needed.