Saturday, July 4, 2009

Casting off: A farewell to the USS Hal Gill

While Hal Gill has never been a favorite of mine, I am sad to see the dynamic duo pairing of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill part ways. I've already talked about what Rob has done for the Penguins so now I am going to turn to Hal.

Hal Gill is a defensive defenseman. He doesn't score very many goals, but he works around his own net to get to pucks and make sure they are cleared. He's decent at blocking shots and intimidating opponents. While speed has never really been on his side, he makes up for it with his huge amount of body mass, standing 6'7" tall and weighing 250 pounds. Hal Gill is a beast. As Pierre McGuire loves to say, "... is a monster!" It's not just Pierre though, most commentators love reminding us every time Hal gets near the puck just how long his stick is or how long of a reach he has. It's great. However, my favorite mentions of Hal Gill's long stick come from liveblogging. These two examples come from Seth over at Empty Netters. Read his blog. It's genius.

15:40: Richards and Hal Gill race for an iced puck behind the Penguins' net. Gill touches it a week before Richards gets there because of his long stick and the faceoff goes into the other end.

0:30: Hossa gets behind Gill on the left wing for a second. Before he can do anything with the puck, Gill uses his pool skimmer to reach back and interfere with Hossa's possession just enough to prevent a shot.

I love it even more than usual when Gill uses his pool skimmer against Hossa.

Hal Gill and his ridiculously long stick

It's a shame that we only had Hal for one full season. Luckily for him it was a major upgrade as he now has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He was traded to us from the Toronto Maple Leafs in February of 2008 and will now be returning to the other side of the pond after signing a 2-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

Puck Huffers had an unreal banner up the other day:

Bon voyage Hal, you will be missed.

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