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Top pick Hall ready to make NHL debut

by Robin Brownlee
EDMONTON -- Taylor Hall has handled all the hype pretty well since the Edmonton Oilers drafted him with the No. 1 pick in June, and he showed more of the same maturity as he was mobbed by reporters at Rexall Place before his NHL debut against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

After answering the obligatory questions about the pressure of playing his first game, of fulfilling a dream to make it to the NHL and the like, the 18-year-old rookie summed up his feelings after the scrum broke up.

"It is very special," he said. "In saying that, I still have to go out there and perform. That's the biggest thing. If I go out there and (don't play well), it's not going to be very good."

Hall, a two-time Memorial Cup champion with the Windsor Spitfires, will have a cheering section of a dozen friends and family, including his dad Steve and mother Kim.
NEW SLOGAN: Coach Tom Renney has added his touch to the Oilers' dressing room. The words "Win From Within" have been painted high on a wall at the front of the room in copper script.

"I used that one year at the World Championship," Renney said. "It sort of fits here, I think, right now.

"Any of the answers we think are out there, aren't. I think the answers we can believe in are inside. Before we can start winning out on the ice, we have to win in our own minds and our own hearts.

"We have to win in our equipment room and our medical room and the dressing room and the coaches room. That's the idea behind it, to bring that winning approach to your day."
With forwards Daymond Langkow (neck), Matt Stajan (shoulder), David Moss (shoulder) and Ales Kotalik (knee) injured, the Flames signed free agent center Brendan Morrison and will play him between Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque. ... The Flames were 28th in faceoff percentage last season, so Morrison, who won 51.2 percent of his draws in 2009-10, should help. ... The Flames dominated the Oilers in 2009-10, sweeping all six games in the season series. ... Renney is 6-0 all-time in season openers. ... The Oilers won't unveil their assistant captains until game time, but Ales Hemsky is listed on the score sheet as one and Ryan Whitney will be the other.
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