Two months. That's now apparently what the doctors say about the return of Sam Gagner. That's what GM Craig MacTavish said on a TSN second period interview. Two months! Not three or four weeks. Not returning about the same time as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Two months! Guess that means you're a centre Taylor Hall. Until further notice. Perhaps permanently. “At first I was looking at it that I was going to play centre until Nuge got back. I realized it was probably going to be longer as soon as Sam went out. Now obviously I'm a centre until they tell me not to be.” And being that sometime this weekend or on Monday before the Oilers open the regular season the Oilers are expected to name a captain to replace Shawn Horcoff what does it do to the captain's picture? Do you ask a guy to get used to playing a new position in the NHL and to wearing a 'C' at the same time? Obviously you can't sew the letter on Gagner's sweater anytime soon. When he gets back he's going to take a month or more to get up to speed. Does that make it Jordan Eberle by acclimation? Or was he going to get it anyway? Does this prolong the decision by Eakins? Does he give it to somebody like Andrew Ference to hold in trust until it's is passed on to one of the core players for the future? That might have been the best bet all the way before Nugent-Hopkins got hurt Gagner hot hurt or Hall switched position. You have to figure Hall is or was in consideration however. He's the engine of the team. He's their best player ninth overall in NHL scoring in the lockout-shortened season last year. He's gone from 42 points (65 games) to 53 (in 61) to 50 (in 45). You have to figure that trend is going to continue for the back-to-back MVP of Memorial Cup wins by the Windsor Spitfires. “I have no idea of what Dallas is thinking” said Hall. “We have a lot of good leaders in here and we're developing a lot of good leaders in here. He has a lot of players to pick from. “It would be an honour to wear the 'C'” Eakins said that Hall being asked to transition to play centre for an extended period of time and perhaps all of the season and who knows maybe the rest of his career isn't going to affect his decision in selecting the captain. “It has nothing to do with it absolutely zero to do with the process.
Hall of a dilemma for Oilers captain
Edmonton Sun | Sep 25