Adam Hall is listed as a right winger.
But, you’d be better off just calling him a “forward.”
That’s because at any point during a Penguins game, Hall can be found on the right or left wings or lined up at center. The versatility he brings to the team is a huge bonus.
“I think it’s a lot of fun. I think it makes you better playing each position,” Hall said. “I think I have the most experience at right wing. But, when I play left wing or center, it gives me a little different perspective on positioning in different situations. So, I think it helps me play each position a little better.”
Energy, penalty killing, a big hit, a blocked shot, a faceoff win – Hall provides all that. He came through with a huge goal, too, Wednesday night in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win over the Red Wings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
|Maxime Talbot skates to celebrate with Adam Hall on Wednesday night. |
It wasn’t exactly a prototypical goal as Hall banked a puck off goaltender Chris Osgood’s backside and into the net. Yet, it stood as the game-winning goal and certainly one Hall will never forget.
“You know, I think every little kid that grows up playing hockey dreams of scoring a goal in the playoffs or to win the Stanley Cup. And I don’t think that – there’s no one way you dream about scoring it, you just kind of dream about the celebration, your teammates rush in. You just do everything you can out there and it’s just a great feeling.”
Hall is used to scoring goals, though. He was in a scorer’s role at Michigan State. He tallied 126 points (79+47) in 159 games with the Spartans. In 352 NHL regular-season games, he has 108 points (51+57). In 14 playoff games with the Penguins, he has three points (2+1). However, Hall knows his role in Pittsburgh is not necessarily to rack up the points. He’s usually found on the Penguins’ fourth line and his tasks are to play responsible, two-way hockey and provide energy and solid minutes against the opponents’ top lines.
“I try to do everything I can and be an all-around player. It’s one of those things where you can get frustrated a lot of times if the offense isn’t coming like you’d like it to,” he said. “But, if you have that work ethic every day and you’re putting yourself in position and playing the right way, you just try to be consistent and you know those things will come.”
Penguins forward Jeff Taffe knows the versatility Hall brings to a team is very important. Taffe grew up playing with Hall in various USA Hockey programs. Even though Hall, a Michigan native, attended Michigan State University and Taffe, a Minnesota native, went to the University of Minnesota, their college careers overlapped for three years. And, the two represented Team USA at the 2000 World Junior Championship tournament.
“We played a lot on the U.S. teams and he has always been a great leader. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s been well respected. From that standpoint, you can’t ask for a better guy,” Taffe said. “I played with Hallsy growing up, too. He’s always been a hard worker. He’s always been a guy who is great in the corners. He’s a guy who is always going to block a shot for the guys on the team. He’s a guy that you want on your side, especially when you’re on a team like this. He’s a great penalty killer, too. We have a lot of great players on this team, so you have to be able to move around and kind of fit in where they need you.”
Hall’s season was nearly shut down for good as he suffered groin and hernia injuries that forced him to have hernia surgery and miss 31 games from Jan. 21-March 31. However, he worked hard to find a way back in the Penguins’ lineup in the playoffs.
“It’s always tough when you get injured, especially for a long period like that, having surgery and rehabbing and coming back,” he said. “It was a tough process at the time, trying to get it diagnosed, and then trying to make the right call. What kind of surgery? What exactly do we need to do? Then, looking at the timeframe, where the recovery time was going to be right toward the end of the season. Am I going to be back before the end of the season? And it’s just a credit to everybody, the trainers and the doctors and strength coach we have, and to get me back in time and give me a chance to work my way back into the lineup.”
Now, Hall enjoys being part of the balanced attack the Penguins possess. He knows that’s a key to the Penguins challenging for the Stanley Cup.
“Whenever you can get scoring from different lines or offense from different places, like our defense or anyone, it’s just going to make your team that much better because teams can’t focus on shutting the top line down,” he said. “They have a lot more to worry about and that’s going to make us a better team.
“It’s great when everyone is clicking on all cylinders,” he continued. “The guys have a lot of confidence and it’s so much more fun to come to the rink when you’re winning and when guys are playing well. It’s a lot of fun right now.”