Sunday, June 13, 2010

Excerpts and Guesses

"The glazed look in Couture's eyes during the game remind me of Alyn McCauley, another 67's player who had his own issues with injuries in his draft year and throughout his junior career. The 67's had selected McCauley with the third-overall pick, but in his draft year he suffered a knee injury and tried to play through it. The New Jersey Devils chose him in the fourth round of the NHL entry draft and he went on to a great junior career, eventually being named the CHL player of the year. But even after his selection by the Devils, McCAuley tried to tough it out through injury, dressing when he had no business being on the ice. I recall seeing him in Belleville when Ottawa was locked in a tough opening-round playoff series with the Bulls. McCauley had been sidelined with a concussion for a few weeks but felt the psychic pull of showing up when his team's season was on the line. Ottawa won the game, and McCauley was good if not great in the game, but nothing he did in the sixty minutes stuck with me as much as talking to him later in the dressing room.

'Everything is a blur out there,' McCauley said almost drunkenly. He hold me the concussion wasn't the first of his young life and that he wasn't sure how many times he'd had his bell rung. With McCauley that night, and Couture this evening about a decade later, I figure it's a scout's dilemma: Do you give them points for bravery, or subtract a few from recklessness?"

-excerpt from Future Greats and Heartbreaks by Gaye Joyce

While there are a number of current Oilers for whom this quote would make a nice introduction, I like most Oiler fans am thinking about the draft more than anything right now and hence my thoughts surround Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. There are a lot of arguments I'm content to ignore and I honestly feel most of what we say as fans about prospects is just noise - if ever a scenario existed that perfectly exploited human psychology to polarize people on issues they haven't a fucking clue about, I think talking about 17 and 18 year old hockey players blew it out of the water.

Lowetide has mentioned injury time and time again as one of the biggest possible reasons for failure to launch as an NHL player. From Brett Lindros to Doug Lynch, I've seen enough good players fall by the wayside in my own lifetime to be more wary of injury than any other factor in a player's development. Even Brett's absurdly gifted brother Eric was eventually forced to play as a shell of himself after being one of the most impressive players in the NHL for most of a decade.

So, a simple question: IF Hall is the better player, how many healthy seasons justify taking him #1 overall? I'm not saying he will get hurt and that Tyler Seguin won't get hurt. I'm just looking for a line in the sand.


Lastly, a hat tip to Vic for your recent flurry. I seem to have a lot of reading to catch up on!


Blogger Coach pb9617 said...

It's the one reason that I'd trade down to #2.

6/14/2010 9:29 am  
Blogger spOILer said...

Hall's health going forward is definitely a concern. But it also seems one of the more difficult things to predict.

Messier played with abandonment, and it never became an issue. A larger Lindros dod too, and it was an issue.

That said, Lindros' biggest fault was skating with his head down (not his board work) which doesn't seem to be a problem with Hall. But we've also seen the likes of Roy and Smid limited by the pounding they've taken on the walls.

Out of the two prospects, Hall is the shinier object, so he's the one I expect they will take.

Nice to see a blog entry, Showerhead!

6/14/2010 10:56 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Coach: it's a tough call, isn't it? I suspect that Boston and Edmonton have been playing the misinformation game for a while now but all the same, I can't imagine the assets gained being too amazing. That said, if I thought the players were equal then I flip picks if Boston's own 1st was involved. If I actually thought one was better, I'd leave it be and pick him. The cost to acquire whatever that mid-round pick becomes is probably less than the cost to acquire the margin of difference between stars, or at least that's my tired way of thinking tonight.

spOILer: your Messier/Lindros juxtaposition gets the dilemma exactly right. Who can say? Heck, maybe Bettman legislates against hits to the head and hockey goes gentlemanly to the point where we never have to worry about concussions again. I think you're right though - Hall is shinier. Combine that with that one game he faceplanted into the boards and then scored a highlight reel goal and I think Edmonton takes him and runs.

6/14/2010 9:52 pm  

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