THE TEAM TODAY: Hall Aboard
Barons skate with 16 forwards, get set for three-games-in-three-nights
HALL ABOARDOKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Barons practiced on Wednesday following a day off where the players took part in a house build for Habitat for Humanity. There were 16 forwards at the skate, including Cameron Abney, Kristians Pelss and Taylor Hall.
Abney was just recalled from the ECHL's Stockton Thunder while Pelss was assigned to Stockton following the skate. Taylor Hall had just been cleared to play this weekend for the Barons.
Barons head coach Todd Nelson was also very excited to see Hall play in game action.
"He's a very good hockey player, everybody knows that," said Barons head coach Todd Nelson. "What he adds is speed. He's a tremendous skater. He's very electrifying when he plays, he's exciting to watch. It's a nice complement to our hockey team right now. Just talking with him, he's very excited to get things going and start playing."
Hall has been practicing with the Barons for the past several weeks, which he says will help him quite a bit when he finally does suit up.
"It's helped me a lot, just being able to watch the games here and sit in the stands and see what the game is all about," he said. "It's not an easy league by any means. People don't give it as much respect as it should get. I feel like I'm prepared. Once I get into a game I'm sure it'll be a little quick for me but hopefully I get the hang of it right away and I can just help the team out as soon as I can."
Eberle also commented that Hall being down in OKC the past few weeks will certainly help.
"He's been here watching so I think he's kind of got the gist of it," said Eberle. "He hasn't played a game in seven or eight months now so he's definitely going to be rusty. It's going to take a few games to get back into it up judging the guy he is and the player, he'll be fine."
THREE-IN-THREE COMING UP
The Barons have their first instance of three games in three nights coming up this weekend. Friday and Saturday they play Houston at home then travel to San Antonio for a Sunday late-afternoon clash with the Rampage. Coach Nelson talked about not having many of his forwards -- Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins included -- in all three games.
"A lot of our defencemen will (play three-in-three) for sure. As for our forwards, we'll have to see how it shakes out but for the most part I think a lot of the forwards are just playing two out of three," Nelson began.
"Right now, we have it scheduled where (Hall)'s playing Friday/Sunday," Nelson continued, adding that Hall won't be playing back-to-back games at all to start. "Nuge, Jordan and Taylor are not playing three-in-three-nights. We're going to play them two out of the three. We're just going to mix the lines up as we go forward. A lot of guys are going to get two out of the three games, just because of the bodies that we have."
All three of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle will not be in the lineup at the same time this weekend. The way it's looking right now, Eberle and Hall will play on Friday, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins on Saturday and Hall and Nugent-Hopkins on Sunday.
Nelson did say that the trio would certainly get into action together rather soon, and probably on the same line when they do.
"As it shakes down this weekend, with three games in three nights we're not going to see that. Maybe we do something like that in Abbotsford but right now it's one of those things where we're just mixing the lines up as we go along here."
LINE THEM UP
The lines on Wednesday were Hartikainen with Arcobello and Eberle, Hall with VandeVelde and Paajarvi, Tyrvainen, Martindale and Hamilton and Byers with House and Abney.
The extras were Nugent-Hopkins, Pitlick, Lander and the aforementioned Pelss.
Paajarvi talked about playing with Hall, on the right side.
"It's great. Every asset we can get. A superstar like that, it's awesome. We've got all the kids down here now so it's a lot of fun," said Paajarvi. "If me and Hallsy play, we can definitely get some speed going on the lanes and Vandy's very good defensively and a good face-off man so he will create open ice for us and time for us.".
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com