WINDSOR, Ont. - Taylor Hall hasn't missed a beat since helping lead Canada to silver at the 2010 world junior hockey championship.
In six games since returning to the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires, Hall has three goals and eight assists.
The six-foot-one left-winger, rated the top North American prospect for the NHL's 2010 Entry Draft, is second only to Plymouth's Tyler Seguin in league scoring with 29 goals and 41 assists in 40 games.
To say Hall is difficult to defend is an understatement. Just ask Windsor defenceman Cam Fowler, who played against him at the world juniors in Saskatchewan and helped the U.S. win gold.
"There wasn't much that I could tell my teammates in the tournament about Taylor because he can adapt his game so quickly," said Fowler, ranked third among North American skaters. "I tried to do my best to shut him down, but he had a great tournament.
"I think we came out even when it came to the battles we had on the ice during the two games we played against each other."
Next up for Hall is Wednesday's 2010 NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game in Windsor. The contest features the top 40 draft-eligible Canadian Hockey League prospects on teams coached by Don Cherry and Bobby Orr.
The 18-year-old Hall, who was born in Calgary before moving with his family five years ago to Kingston, Ont., has been on the NHL's radar for awhile.
Selected second overall in the OHL's Priority Selection by the Spitfires in the spring of 2007, Hall scored 45 goals in his rookie campaign en route to winning OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year honours. He followed that up by winning the Most Valuable Player award in the OHL playoffs before accomplishing the same feat in Windsor's Memorial Cup championship last spring in Rimouski, Que.
Hall is an electrifying skater with a penchant for scoring highlight reel goals.
"He is one of the best skaters I have ever seen in my life," said Windsor GM Warren Rychel. "He can change speeds and turn so incredibly well.
"A big part of Taylor's game is his ability to get to loose pucks, too," he added. "If there is a loose puck and he is anywhere near it, he will get to it first - that is a very big asset to have in your game."
Hall is also no shrinking violet and has shown a knack for getting physically involved in the play at both ends of the ice. Players shadowing him too closely or too aggressively can expect to receive an unfriendly hack or whack in response.
He showed it recently when he became involved in his second fight of the season. After a shoving match with Carson Dubchak of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Spitfires defenceman Ellis tried to intervene on Hall's behalf. But it was Hall who ended up pushing Ellis aside and dropping the gloves with the Greyhounds player.
Hall's offensive talents are still the main attraction and he showed that in Saskatchewan, where he scored six goals and added six assists at the world juniors.
"He was unbelievable and he was into it every game," said Ellis, who played defence for Canada. "He was not only one of Canada's best forwards, but he was one of the best forwards in the entire tournament."
Hall will captain Team Cherry on Wednesday.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," he said. "It's great to be able to play in front of my billets, family and friends and I know the Windsor fans will be just awesome.
"I'm looking at it as another opportunity to show off my skills in front of the whole country," added Hall. "And that drives me."