ST. LOUIS — Gashes like this one are reserved for Planet of the Apes movies, or Harry Potter. It is a forehead zipper the likes of which we have not seen in 20-plus years around the game.
But alas, this one was inflicted upon Taylor Hall’s forehead in one of the biggest freak accidents of all-time, a chain-reaction, and three-man pile-up in warm-up that left the 20-year-old Hall bleeding heavily in the corner.
“It doesn’t look good, that’s for sure. I looked a lot better before,” Hall said Thursday morning, speaking to the media two days after taking 30 stitches between his left eyebrow all the way into his hairline. After a couple of days of looking in the mirror, Hall has come to this perspective:
“It’s lucky and it’s unlucky at the same time,” he said. “You can say I’m lucky because I didn’t get my eye taken out or my throat sliced. Or you could say I’m unlucky because something like this has never happened in the history of the sport, with how many guys who have not worn a helmet in warm-up.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve fallen,” he said, after stepping on a puck that began a chain of events that he’ll never forget. “I didn’t feel too much pain, and thought it was kind of just a little cut. I knew right away when the blood was coming out pretty bad that it was pretty serious. I just tried to get back in the room as soon as I possible, and slow the bleeding down.”
A plastic surgeon was on hand at the rink in Columbus, saving Hall a trip to the hospital. “Even though I tried to get back in the lineup that night, (when) I got on the bike and just get warmed up again, it started bleeding and swelled up.”
Of course, Hall called home as soon as he could to let his parents know he was OK.
“I asked him if he was still good looking and he said, ‘Mom, I look like Frankenstein,’” Hall’s mother, Kim Strba, told the Edmonton Journal’s Joanne Ireland. “Maybe it will send a message to everyone about how important it is to wear a helmet. Maybe it will be a wake-up call.
“Unfortunately, Taylor is going to be the one remembered for bringing about the change.”
An erroneous tweet on Wednesday night reported that Hall’s season was over. That prompted a clarifying statement by Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, while Hall answered it with a tweet of his own.
“The reports that I’m out for the season aren’t true,” Hall tweeted. “I am going to be back as soon as possible. Thanks for all the get well responses.”
On Thursday Hall reiterated, “For someone to come out and say, after a day, that I was going to be out for the season is a little extreme. I won’t be out of the lineup too long.
“I’d like to think I’ll try and play Saturday against Calgary, but that’s not a for sure. I want to get a helmet, on, get a couple of bumps in… There’s no for sure yet.”
With Jordan Eberle re-joining the Oilers lineup Thursday in St. Louis after missing four games with a knee injury, Hall’s return would give Edmonton two of its three young stars back. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who injured his shoulder seven games ago in Chicago, is expected back after the All-Star break.