In his first Zoom interview as a member of the Boston Bruins, Taylor Hall made sure to tamper expectations.
It's often a bit striking when a pro athlete candidly delves into their own flaws, especially one with the resume that Hall boasts over his 11-year career as a former No. 1 overall pick and a Hart Trophy winner.
But after toiling away on a sordid Sabres club for the first four months of the 2021 season — and seeing his on-ice production tank as a result (two goals, 19 points in 37 games) — Hall admitted that patience might be needed as the veteran winger attempted to build his game back with his fourth club in two years.
“Unfortunately, right now, I’m not the most confident hockey player,” Hall said. “Throughout this year, there have been a lot of struggles and obviously, goal scoring has been the biggest one. I’ve got to find a little bit of that part of my game back. I don’t think it’s completely lost or anything like that. But I’m not expecting to come and score 93 points in Boston again. I want to be a part of a winning team and whatever I have to do to do that, that’s what I’m here to do. I still believe in myself a lot as a hockey player. In saying that, I still believe I have a lot of athleticism and a lot of speed and I hope I can add to the team with those traits.”
Indeed, Hall may not be the tour-de-force that he was during that Hart Trophy campaign in 2018 — but the Bruins (while certainly receptive to said return to stardom) don't need him to be. Rather, they just need the 29-year-old to play to his level as a viable top-six weapon next to David Krejci — solving a years-long vacancy that has dragged this Original Six franchise down season after season and tanked even the most promising playoff runs.
And so far, he's lived up to those expectations — and then some. For all of his comments regarding his confidence (or lack thereof) before donning a black-and-gold sweater, Hall's refreshing and transparent thoughts on Monday certainly haven't carried over onto the TD Garden ice.