Welp, clearly Taylor Hall hasn't gotten accustomed to how things work in New Jersey quite yet. I know, I know. It felt like he was a seamless fit within the culture that the organization has been trying to develop, but returning from an injury ahead of schedule goes against everything that this franchise has stood for over the years. Who does he think is he shortening a 3-4 week diagnosis into 2.5 week diagnosis? Doesn't he know that day-to-day is supposed to mean week-to-week, and week-to-week is supposed to mean month-to-month? I mean, we didn't even get to make a "status quo" joke yet! Here I was thinking that the guy was looking for a fresh start in a new city. Meanwhile, we're barely 20 games into his first season here and he's already attempting to break the unspoken rules of recovery? The Devils should really try to get a feel for how the locker room feels about his return before penciling him into the lineup, because a quick look at recent history shows that none of them were allowed to hit the ice prior to their respective due dates. Wouldn't want to body shame his new teammates whose "lower body injuries" weren't able to heal quicker than expected.
I guess I shouldn't start counting chickens before a definitive plan for his return has been hatched. Taylor Hall will be missing for at least one more game and it could be as many as two or three. That said, the Devils handled his absence about as well as they could have hoped for. Their 2-3-2 record without him thus far doesn't look nearly as bad as they have on the ice the last week, but at the end of the day those points will matter more than their performance. If adding their most consistent playmaker back to the top of the lineup doesn't help them regain the form they were in prior to his injury then there's definitely cause for concern. However, they needed to stay afloat while he was on the shelf and - as close as they were to drowning at times - they treaded just enough water to continue smooth sailing once the engine behind their entire offense is officially up and running. Let's hope that's sooner rather than later because this optimistic tone might die a painful death if Winnipeg pumps 50 shots on net tomorrow net.
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