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With Taylor Hall sitting to recover from a concussion, there was some talk about the Edmonton Oilers shutting down the star winger for the remainder of the season. According to their Twitter account, that's exactly what they've done, but for an unexpected reason: Hall will miss the remainder of the season to undergo labral shoulder surgery.
GM Steve Tambellini touched on the decision via the Oilers' Twitter account:
"Recovery time will be between five and six months, so our hope is that Taylor will be ready for the start of next season ... He's going to have an incredible career, so this is the right time to take care of business and get this (surgery) done."
But it sounds like the right time might have been years ago. According to Hall, he's been putting off the surgery since he was with the Windsor Spitfires. Here's what he said upon being asked when he first injured his shoulder, also via the Oilers' Twitter account:
"Four years now … I injured it in junior and it's been wearing away ... I've been playing with a pretty bad shoulder for most of this year and I'm excited to see what I can do after it's fixed ... It's not the way I envisioned my career starting, but I hope to stay healthy after this and be a good Oiler for a long time."
No doubt the Oilers feel the same way, and while now is indeed a wise time to get this surgery done, one wonders if earlier might have been wiser. Allowing your projected superstar to play the first two years of his pro career with his shoulder "wearing away" seems callous, especially since his body is already racking up some serious mileage.
You hate to give a guy the "injury-prone" tag, since a great many injuries are just the result of bad luck (such as Hall's horrific facial laceration), but this marks the 2nd time in two years that Hall has finished the year on the injured reserve. He missed the end of last season with an ankle injury.
Hall has also missed time with a concussion and the abovementioned skate cut. In all, the sophomore winger will already have accrued 38 man-games lost due to injury by season's end. Are Hall's injury troubles due to the way he plays, and if so, can Hall make adjustments without losing what makes him so effective?
On the bright side for the Oilers, the fact that Hall won't be returning has to increase the team's chances tanking for the rest of the season. Hold on to your hats, all, because there's another big-time race in the standings going on at the bottom: there are 6 teams within 4 points of 29th.
Lord knows it's tough not to pick up at least one point in the NHL these days, so the race for that 2nd overall pick is going to come right down to the wire.
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