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LA is sometimes called the land of hype and superficial. It is a place of cocktails handed out with plastic cups by failed actors. Is it any wonder that upon the advent of the NHL draft is a ton of hype, rumor, and innuendo flying around today? Nope. Not a chance.
LA is also a sprawling city of style, image and scene. It is no wonder that the LA LIVE area around the Staple Center is not a hodgepodge of smalltime politics that is facing Long Islanders. The area around is spruced up with stores, restaurants and is a swinging place. To the Town of Hempstead and Nassau Rrepublicans, we call that local commerce. Just a FYI.
But enough about the Lighthouse Project, to which there will be the ToH plan unveiling in two weeks…
Two teams are near playoff level that could use some regular players: Columbus and Florida. In fact, if Howson of Columbus fails to do so, you can be assured he won’t keep his job. Tallon who was just brought in has a bit of time. Both are wildcards however, as three dmen are going to go somewhat early.
The Isles sit at 5, and as I cited in a previous piece, I am bucking the defense trend and say Isles look at a forward. Why? Because they want a system player to mesh with their character, system and lockerroom. Look at Skinner, Johansen and perhaps El Nino is Isles remain at 5. The further back they move, the more likely they are looking past them at an Austin Watson or Quinton Howden, both of whom many teams mark in the teens. Jaden Schwartz is still someone up their alley late in the 1st round.
After that…teams are on the outside looking in…either going to wait on who is left. OR make a move to push in a bit.
Zero shock at #1, EDM takes Taylor Hall.
Zero shock, despite the anti-climatic wait time as Bruins take Tyler Seguin. That kid was born for Boston.
Florida taking a bit of time here. FL in a position to want to make playoffs can go either way.
Florida cashes in the time they spent interviewing Gudbranson and pick him. Isles fans shouldn’t be disappointed. They didn’t think he’d be available and likely would not take him. Doesn’t fit their template.
Columbus with a lot of stalling might have thrown a wrench into the Isles plans. They select versatile forward Ryan Johansen.
Isles have shot at Connolly or Fowler. Fowler matches the defensive template, but I still see them dropping back or bucking the trend and taking a forward. El Nino? Skinner? Or do they trust Connolly’s health? Lets not forget Gormley.
They are picking El Nino.
Went to back and waited for Nino forever. Pics coming.
NHL transcripts on Taylor Hall’s interview. More coming…
Q. Was there an element of surprise out there for you tonight?
TAYLOR HALL: I was so shocked. I was shaking in my seat. I got up to the podium, or whatever it is, and I was shaking so much I couldn’t even put my jersey on. I’m just so happy. My whole family’s so happy. It means a lot to us.
Q. Why were you nervous?
TAYLOR HALL: Because I had no idea what was going on. They said Windsor Spitfires and it’s all a blur from there. I don’t remember anything. I’m so happy right now.
Q. What’s it mean to be an Oiler?
TAYLOR HALL: Just to join such a great franchise. Hopefully I can make that team next year. That’s my first step. We can really recreate some of the magic they had there. I think when you have a young team, that’s something I’m really looking forward to joining.
Q. Uniting with Jordan Eberle, a pretty good opportunity as well?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, that’s going to be awesome. He’s such a good guy, and good player, and somebody I had a good chemistry in Russia. It’s going to be awesome playing with him.
Q. Tambellini said you’re the best player, that’s why he went with you. How much do you respect that?
TAYLOR HALL: That’s something I work for all year. I always push myself on and off the ice, for him to say that, that’s such a tremendous comment for him to say. I have no words right now. I’m so honored to join this organization, I feel so honored by them.
Q. You’re a student of history. Did you do anything to get drafted by the Oilers and Paul Coffey’s on the stage, and Kevin is on the stage?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, they’re such a great franchise. They have so much history behind them. With the five Cups they won it would mean a lot to me to join their organization, hopefully bring another one up there. That is the ultimate goal for me and the franchise.
Q. Why was Windsor such a good organization to prepare you for that next step?
TAYLOR HALL: I haven’t able to give credit to the guys in Windsor. They transformed me as a player. I went there as a young 15-year-old, and I came out as an 18-year-old man. With all the winning they did there, it really taught me a lot about hockey. Just what you have to do in the postseason and everything like that.
Q. Personal significance of going number 1?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, there is a lot of significance. I feel honored with all the players that have gone number one. I came into this year, that was one of my goals was to go number one. In saying that, there is still a lot of work to do out here. Dustin Brown on the podium before just saying how much work he had done so far, there is still a lot more to go. So hopefully I can do that.
Q. What kind of play per do you think you were before?
TAYLOR HALL: I have no idea. I haven’t even thought about that. That’s for them to decide. I don’t even know if I’d wear it.
Q. What kind of player do you think the fans at Edmonton should expect to see?
TAYLOR HALL: Well, like I said, I have to still make the team. Nothing’s for sure. There are a lot of number 1’s that have gone back to junior.
But I hope to be a dynamic offensive player, I like to play in the corners and knock it up, obviously get points because that’s my role.
Q. For somebody who was born in Canada, how does it feel playing in the battle of Alberta?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, that is something that shows my career has come full circle. I played in my backyard in Calgary, now I’m playing in the big rink. There’s been such a transformation, and it’s a tremendous journey that I’ve been on.
Q. What number will you wear?
TAYLOR HALL: I have no idea. I haven’t even thought about that.
Q. The fans it seems were toting whoever was going to be number one as a bit of a savior. Do you feel a burden of expectation in that regard?
TAYLOR HALL: Not really. I thought about that. There are always expectations no matter what you do. Obviously being a number one pick, I have to go in there and have a job to do, and I think I have the tools to do it. I know I have the confidence and the drive, so that’s what’s going to push me every day to be a better player and help the team out.
Q. Does this make up for going second in the OHL selection?
TAYLOR HALL: No, I’m still really shocked about that, actually. That was a long time ago. I can’t imagine three years ago I was that 15-year-old kid hope to go play in the OHL, now I’m going to become a member of the NHL soon. That’s tremendous.
Q. Does winning Memorial Cup or going first overall?
TAYLOR HALL: They’re totally different things. There’s a lot going through my mind right now. Those Memorial Cups are tremendous. You play for a team the whole year, and you develop a bond. With this, this is purely individual; I have a lot of family, and lot of people — I owe a lot to them.
TAYLOR HALL: I had no idea. I was so shocked. Like I said, when they said Edmonton Oilers, my mind went blank there. I have no idea what went on: I was smiling as big as I can. He just said congrats, and the TSN interview said my drive and intensity is what pushed me ahead. That’s a part of my game that I’ve never had to work on, so it’s always been good.
Q. You’re such a competitor?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, being a competitive guy is pretty important to me. At the same time, there is a lot of work to do. Lot of guys have gone number one. They played in the NHL, but they haven’t really exceeded the expectations that they began.
So I have a lot of work to do. Sure I went number one, but I still have a team to join, and a team to make better.
Q. Taylor, it’s personal for you to win this. What’s it mean for the franchise and all the people in Windsor for a Spitfire to go number one?
TAYLOR HALL: Hopefully they’re pretty happy. I know my time in Windsor has been remembered really well. I owe a lot to that organization, that city, and it’s still a city I love. A city I’m going to go back to. Just like I said, a city I owe a lot to. And hopefully they really appreciate me going number one because I appreciate them.
Q. Do you have a message for the fans back in Edmonton?
TAYLOR HALL: Just that I’m very excited to join the organization. I know that some of them are pulling for me. Hope they’re excited for the next season. I know I am. I can’t wait to get started with training camp, and just to meet the guys on the team, and hopefully develop a bond with the players and the fans.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.