Taylor Hall realizes that given an opportunity, anything is possible.
He recalls watching the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers as a young teen sneak into the playoffs, and eventually advance to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. "There's a lot of things that can happen, and I think it's important for teams to get a chance."
If the NHL implements a 24-team return-to-play format to finish the season, the Coyotes would have that chance. Hall was cautiously optimistic when appearing on NBC Sports' 'Lunch Talk Live' with Mike Tirico Wednesday.
"At the end of the day, I would love to play hockey again for the Coyotes this year and finish what we started," he said. "But we'll have to see what happens."
Hall spoke from his home in Toronto.
"I think people are starting to see that the world is getting back to a more normal place," he said. "Certain states are opening up, restaurants and all that sort of thing. Just have a little more patience, and hopefully things are back to some kind of normalcy and we can get back to playing hockey again, whether it's in front of fans or not."
The 28-year-old forward is confident in the NHL effort to prioritize players' safety.
"I know they're not just going to feed us to the wolves," he said. "They're going to set up regulations for us and they're going to have testing involved and make sure it's as safe as possible for us. I think that's what we all want, and that's good for me.
"There's so many moving parts," Hall said. "I'm not really sure what the situation will be when the time comes, when I'm called to go back to Arizona. But the people at the league, they've been great, they have some of the toughest jobs in the world right now as far as deciding when to come back, the logistics of it all."
If the Coyotes re-assemble the roster for a mini-camp, Hall will hurry to Arizona, where he rents Auston Matthews' home in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
"He's got a nice place," Hall said. "Pool in the backyard, putting green, the works. So, that was nice of him to let me stay there. It worked out well. He came right back to Arizona when the pandemic started and I made my way back to Toronto. So, hopefully when the season starts again, we'll make that move again."
At the very least, a return gives Hall the opportunity to fit Matthews' home with a gift for the Maple Leafs star's generosity.
I thought of a couple gifts," Hall said. "He has basically everything. But I think there's an area where a dart board would go really well. So, hopefully I can get a customized one for him when I leave."
Hall has no crystal ball about what the future holds; he will be an unrestricted free agent when the 2019-20 season ends.
"I've had a great time playing with the Coyotes," he said. "Meeting everyone here and talking to John [Chayka] and Rick [Tocchet] and the coaching staff, I think we have a great relationship. But with everything going on, we don't know what the outlook is for the future. There's still time to have those talks, and I think there are really good relationships on both sides, so we'll see where it goes."
The near future, Hall hopes, includes playoff hockey.
Lead Photo Credit: Christian Petersen - Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick - NHLI via Getty Images