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Hall Leaves Mark of Grit and Determination

by Melanie Formentin / Tampa Bay Lightning

The eventual winning goal during Game 3 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals was typical Adam Hall-style hockey.

While crashing to the front of the net, Hall gained control of the puck in the slot off a pass from Maxime Talbot. The 6-foot-3 forward controlled the play at the left side of the crease, firing off a backhand shot on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood. After collecting his own rebound, Hall skated to the back of the net where he patiently waited for the opportune moment to shoot.

From his spot behind the net, Hall banked a shot off of Osgood for his first of two goals during the Finals.

The goal may not have been fancy, but it was just what any team would want out of a power forward. Using his size and a healthy dose of grit, Hall made the most out of the crush of players surrounding the net – a game-night norm for Hall.

“I just try to use my size as much as I can,” Hall said. “Whether it’s going into the corners or going to the front of the net, you want to play physical and you want to use your body as much as you can to shield the puck and use it to your advantage.”

During a summer in which the Tampa Bay Lightning re-tooled their roster, it was that kind of tireless work ethic which understandably caught the attention of upper management.

Adam Hall embodies exactly what we are looking for from our new players,” Brian Lawton, vice president of hockey operations, said. “He brings a high level of determination, grit and character to the rink each and every day, which we believe is critical to not only winning in the regular season, but also in the playoffs. Adam displayed all of those skills last year in the Stanley Cup Finals.”

For Hall, the march to the Stanley Cup Finals as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins was a dream come true. Although the result may not have been ideal for the Michigan native, Hall came out of his first Finals appearance with a new perspective on the game.

“I think getting that close and having a taste of it makes you just that much more hungry to get back there and win it,” Hall said. “That’s got to be one of the hardest things, to be there standing on the ice and in your bench watching the other team celebrate a Stanley Cup Championship. I remember guys just being there and I remember staring at that and I just wanted to burn that in my memory and make sure that next time that happens it’s us.”

Such a focused attitude is one that the Lightning were looking for when free agency opened up, and it is one that Hall has built up throughout his career.

Only 27 years old, Hall has already showed the strength of his focus as he has captained teams including his alma mater Michigan State Spartans and Team USA at the World Junior Championships.

As a member of the Spartans, Hall led his team in goals two out of four seasons and led the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) in goals (26) as a sophomore. Earning both the Outstanding Rookie and Outstanding Senior award in his time with the Spartans, Hall was eventually named team captain during his senior season.

During his time there, Hall got a taste for winning championships as his Spartans skated to two CCHA titles and a pair of Frozen Four appearances.

“Winning the CCHA Championship, getting a chance to lift that big trophy and skate it around the ice with your fans cheering and all your family in the stands,” Hall said, “…it’s things like that you’ll always remember.”

Since his professional career started, Hall has also shown his leadership at the international level.  In addition to playing for Team USA five times at the World Championships, Hall captained one of the two World Junior Championship teams he played for.

“You try to do everything that you can to lead by example,” Hall said. “If there’s anything you can say or do in the locker room, it’s anything you can do to help your teammates… helping them stay positive. It’s just a mindset every day that you try and put in the effort and the work ethic, and I think that on its own goes a long way towards showing other guys that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.”

After making the jump from college to the NHL, Hall has gone on to post 51 career goals. Eight of them have stood as game-winners, showing Hall’s ability to step up at key moments during games.

Stepping up to a task for the benefit of a team has also led Hall to develop a special kind of versatility. One of the biggest assets Hall brings to a club is that he has developed the valuable skill of being able to play any of the three forward positions.

“It’s sometimes out of necessity if there’s been an injury,” Hall said. “Sometimes it’s just been in practice, goofing around taking some faceoffs, you just kind of do a decent job at them. Over the years it evolved into something where it was seen as something that I could contribute, playing at different positions.”

Having signed a three-year deal, Hall will aim to combine his versatility and winning attitude to contribute to the Lightning lineup.

“Anything I can do to help this team win, I’m definitely more than happy to do,” Hall said. “Whether it’s playing right wing, left wing, center, taking faceoffs or penalty killing, I’m more than happy.”

Mostly, the seventh-year forward is simply looking forward to getting the season underway.

 “Obviously, I’m just so excited to be here,” Hall said. “It seems like it’s going to be a really thrilling year and there’s just kind of a lot of anticipation building up right now because you just want to get going… There’s so much enthusiasm coming out of this organization that it’s contagious.”

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