The perpetrator, who was notably contrite and obviously frustrated with the Edmonton Oilers’ ongoing woes, said he had absolutely no intention of injuring Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck.
Still, Taylor Hall may have to explain that to Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s disciplinarian.
With the Oilers down 3-1, and less than three minutes left on the clock Thursday at Rexall Place, Hall drove himself into Clutterbuck, who had to be helped off the ice. He left the rink with his left thigh wrapped, which would indicate a charley horse, not a knee injury, and he was on the team flight to Calgary.
Clutterbuck was third in league stats last season with 288 hits and has been at the top of the category in the past.
Hall left the game with two hits, giving him 10 on the season.
“I made the decision to go and hit him, but I don’t feel like I led with my knee. I’ve been hit like that before and it’s not a good feeling. I felt I got him with my hip,” said Hall, who received five minutes for kneeing and a game misconduct. He had eight penalty minutes in his first 15 games this season.
“For a second there, I didn’t even know if it was going to be a penalty. I just went through my check and he kind of ran into me at the same time as I was going at him.
“I didn’t change direction ... I felt I got a good chunk of him with my hip,” said Hall, who did say the hit may have been a little late. “It sucks to see him down, but I don’t really think it was that dirty. I could have hit him in the head, and that thought crossed my mind.
“I really didn’t want to bury him too bad.”
Wild coach Mike Yeo didn’t see it that way. He said Hall just looked like a player who was trying to hurt someone.
“How would it be if it was reversed — if it was Clutter hitting Hall that way? That’s what I wonder,” Yeo said.
“I just thought the puck was right there,” Hall said. “For that instant, he was a little bit vulnerable, but I didn’t want to catch him with his head down or hit him in his head.
“I just wanted to get a piece of him and, hopefully, get the puck back.”
Taylor Hall may face disciplinary action from league
Edmonton Journal | Feb 22