That didn't take long. Hours after arriving in Edmonton, eager to suit up again for the Oilers, oft-injured forward Taylor Hall found himself bloodied once more – after bumping heads with teammate Jordan Eberle.
The 21-year-old Hall was sporting a cut, a few centimetres long, above his left eye when he arrived at Rexall Place Tuesday. Hall later spoke to reporters, and only after 10 minutes – once cameras had trickled away – was he asked about the small cut.
"To be honest, me and Jordan actually bonked heads. If you look at his, he has the same cut on his head. I'm surprised no one asked me about it," Hall replied, laughing and adding: "I'm actually kind of glad there's only two reporters here."
Eberle had spoken to reporters immediately before; any cut wasn't noticeable, and he wasn't asked about it. Only Hall will require stitches, a team spokesman said.
The pair returned, along with defenceman Justin Schultz, to Edmonton Monday evening from Oklahoma City, where they played for the Oilers' AHL affiliate Barons during the lockout. It was that evening when the injury occurred. Hall, with a smile, blamed the ordeal on Eberle, who is also his roommate.
"I was coming down the stairs, Ebby was coming the wrong way, and I was coming kind of hard and I bumped heads with them and I was bleeding," Hall said. "I've got to go get stitches after this."
Hall, Schultz and Eberle arrived at the Oilers rink, Rexall Place, just after noon local time Tuesday, shortly after an optional skate attended by six other players. Teams aren't yet allowed to hold formal practices, but players have started filtering back into town.
Hall has struggled with injuries in his young career. One year ago, he suffered a cut above his eye – the same one injured Monday evening – when he was hit with a skate during a pregame warmup. Other injuries include a concussion, a high-ankle-sprain that ended his first season and shoulder surgery that ended his second.
As he left, one hockey writer suggested Hall might benefit from a visor while on staircases.
"Well, considering everything that's happened to me the past two years, I'll take what I can take," Hall joked.
Hall is otherwise healthy, and scored 34 points in 26 games playing in Oklahoma City before being recalled after a deal was struck to end the NHL lockout. He's scored 49 goals and 46 assists in 126 games over two seasons with the Oilers.