GDB 73: Hemsky's 'outburst' nothing to worry about

Jason Gregor
March 24 2009 02:20PM

hemskylockerroom

With ten games to go and sitting somewhat comfortably in 7th place, you would think life is grand yet everything is not rosy in Oilerville.

The Oilers best player is unhappy.

Ales Hemsky told Dan Barnes, “I’m just trying to do exactly what they want. I’m becoming a checker. We’re just doing what we have to do to win games. I’m not complaining. I just don’t feel as important as I did before when they were riding me.”

I spoke with Hemsky today and he reiterated that he is more frustrated than complaining.

“I was a little down. I want to play better and help the team make the playoffs. This is not a time to feel sorry for yourself. I have to focus on the last ten games and be better.

“I don’t feel that everything is right. Every player wants to be used more, that is why you play hockey. I don’t regret saying it. That is how I felt and I said it, but the bottom line is now is not the time for me to feel bad about my game.”

It might not be the best time to feel bad about your game, but I think it was the best time to voice his displeasure in how he is being used. For a long time you got the sense that Hemsky was happy being a good player, but that greatness wasn’t his main focus.

I wrote earlier this year that after a dominating performance v. Columbus that Hemsky was becoming great.

I spoke to him after that game and for the first time I felt he wanted to be great, and realized how much effort and hard work it would take. Hemsky’s skill set is top ten in the world, but his consistency and overall drive wasn’t.

His comments today and yesterday show me he wants to be that go-to-guy now, and rather than worry that he wants out, the organization should embrace his new attitude and channel it onto the ice.

His coach wasn’t that concerned.

“I find that players that are a little more difficult to manage, I’d rather have the difficulty managing players that will go play the game the hard way and go to the tough areas, than a guy who is super easy to manage and sometimes don’t go to those tough areas.

“I respect the way he plays. Character to me is how you react in certain situations on the ice. I’m totally supportive of the way he plays the game, and with the toughness that he plays the game.

“I’m not managing his ice time any differently lately. The last guy I really worry about confidence wise is him, because he is so skilled. He has been playing fine in my estimation. The way he has started the last few games, he has been outstanding. He hasn’t got anything offensively to show for it, but he has been playing fine.

“You look back after you hear the comments about the way he has been used, and I did sit him down in the Colorado game when we were up 7-1, and probably in hindsight maybe that should have been the time to play him, but I didn’t see him lacking confidence because he is still making plays.

“I support the player. I’ve had him for seven years. I understand where the player is coming from. These comments could be malicious at times, but I really don’t view it that way with him. You may think I’m just saying that because he is a good player and I’ve got to have a good relationship with my best player, but I’m not. I like the player and I always have. I owe him a lot, and he will have my support in this situation.”

So where do they go from here?

Hemsky and MacTavish had a conversation early in the year when Hemsky was struggling and he told the young Czech to just relax, and not worry about his stats because they would come. That convo happened before the Philly game, and then Hemsky went out and scored two highlight reel goals.

They spoke yesterday according to MacTavish and he stated it was good chat, and that he expects Hemsky to probably score tonight.

It is obvious that Hemsky is frustrated, and it is obvious the coach respects his game, but is it an easy situation to resolve? Yes. Play him more. Double shift him five-on-five, let him play the full two minutes on the PP if he wants.

I’m not sure how many of you have noticed, but Hemsky has gone down to block shots three times in the past two weeks. I asked him about it, and he said he admitted that for the first time he would be interested in a few PK shifts here and there.

Hemsky finally wants to be the guy. Now it is up to the coach to give him more responsibility.

Fourth line

Marc Pouliot draws in tonight for MacIntyre, and the Colossal Fossil starts again. Former Oiler Ty Conklin gets the nod for the Wings. Conklin came to Detroit to be the back up, but with Osgood’s season-long struggles continuing, Conklin might be their guy come playoff time.

Conklin is 24-9-2 with a 2.44 GAA and .911 SV%, compared to Osgood who is 24-6-7 with an ugly 3.18 GAA and woeful .884 SV%.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 topshelf FMNF
March 24 2009, 02:58PM
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GO OILERS GO GO OILERS GO GO OILERS GO

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#52 shakey
March 24 2009, 03:06PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

2) MacT doesn’t want the other players to think Ales is getting special treatment. If MacT uses Hemsky’s name in too-familiar a fashion (especially referring to a player’s first name after an outburst like this), it could promote the idea that favoritism is at play.

Ender...he had no problem using Penner and Nilsson's names when he was blasting them in the papers. Different issue but also when he blasted Schremp. I don't buy it that you can't use his name for fear of favoritism from others. He makes sure everyone know who he's talking about when he's dumping on them. Why is this different?

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#53 Jason Gregor
March 24 2009, 03:09PM
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Been running around and haven't had time to comment. MacT did say his name, Ales, during other times in the interview, but it was a bit odd with "the player" reference a few times.

You can hear all of what MacT had to say at www.justagame.ca. Hemsky's clip is there too.

Also Ken Holland will be on my show at 3:10 today...

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#54 Word
March 24 2009, 03:15PM
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shakey wrote:

Ender the Dragon wrote: 2) MacT doesn’t want the other players to think Ales is getting special treatment. If MacT uses Hemsky’s name in too-familiar a fashion (especially referring to a player’s first name after an outburst like this), it could promote the idea that favoritism is at play. Ender…he had no problem using Penner and Nilsson’s names when he was blasting them in the papers. Different issue but also when he blasted Schremp. I don’t buy it that you can’t use his name for fear of favoritism from others. He makes sure everyone know who he’s talking about when he’s dumping on them. Why is this different?

He's trying to depersonalize it. As much as we harsh on the guy, MacT knew the ruckus that would follow Hemsky's comments. He's a good company man and in the industry they call it "damage control". Saying "the player" is supposed to make us forget that "the player" that is unhappy is Ales mother-f$%kin Hemsky.

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#55 swany
March 24 2009, 03:22PM
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I still think these comments were NOT ment to get Mact fired, they were ment to let everyone know fans media managment that HE wants to lead this team it's his team, now it's up to Mact to give him the chance to take this team to the next level. After those comments Mact has to play him 22-25 min tonight, with MAP in the lineup I say every second shift MAP should sit and watch Hemmer with Penner and Brods. Let the guy go see what he can do with all those min, if he gets that many min he gets his first hattie tonight, its time

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#56 CurtisS
March 24 2009, 03:46PM
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Huge news and of course Oilers PR is trying to sweep it under the Mat. Glad the story got out.

Make the playoffs of not there is way too much happening inside that dressing room that makes me feel they dont want Mact as coach anymore.

Can we fire Mact as soon as the season is over and hire a real coach?? Please!

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#57 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 03:47PM
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swany wrote:

Is Hemmer really calling for Mact’s head OR is he telling his coach that HE wants to be the guy? To me Hemmer signed a long term contract while playing for this coach, he has said he loves it here. He also said at the start of the year that he wants to be a superstar, well he is doing what other superstars do telling everyone he wants to be the main guy, now it’s up to Mact play the shit out of him 22-25 min a night. Hemmer said they are turning me into a checker, then states he would like sometime on the PK what checkers do, I feel Hemmer is frustrated with the lack of help on his line, how many times can you set up Wiffcough and see a swing and a miss before it gets to you. I have stated it on RB’s blogs before Hemmer took less money so the team could get a star LW to help him and they let him down (I do believe PattyO could work given time). Hemmers comments make me feel he is going on a run Mact will turn him loose to a point watch tonight Hemmer with his first hattie.

Hemsky hardly took less money, 4.1 was fair value at the time. In fact their was some complaining from the fans that it was too high.

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#58 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 03:48PM
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george wrote:

Yeah, that’s great news. Mac-T is trying to make a grinder out of one the most gifted offensive players in the league. Sure, that’s gonna really help us land other free agent players who - if they’re smart - won’t come within 100 miles of Edmonton. So long Hossa. Jagr. Give me a break. Mr.Katz, please do the honarable thing and fire his a**. When your star player is complaining about being a checker you know it’s time for a change. Just so tired about hearing about player after player underperforming because of Mac-T’s warped logic. The coach is a cancer in the room. Get rid of him! Enough already!

Who's the under performers?

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#59 Oilersordeath
March 24 2009, 03:54PM
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You nailed it right on the head right there!! If you get someone who can skate and has same skill set as hemmer he would flourish. But he has to skate with Whifcoff enough said.@ Peter Pan:

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#60 Harlie Chuddy
March 24 2009, 03:55PM
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MACT- “You look back after you hear the comments about the way he has been used, and I did sit him down in the Colorado game when we were up 7-1, and probably in hindsight maybe that should have been the time to play him"

Sam Ganges is on the ice fist pumping after making his first hatty and Hemsky is chomping at the bit and crying on the bench. Nice asset management IceT!

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#61 Archaeologuy
March 24 2009, 03:56PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Who’s the under performers?

Horcoff Penner Cole Gagner Nilsson Cogliano Lupul Sykora York Torres Stoll Nedved Dvorak

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#62 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 03:59PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Who’s the under performers? Horcoff Penner Cole Gagner Nilsson Cogliano Lupul Sykora York Torres Stoll Nedved Dvorak

Riiiiight

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#63 Archaeologuy
March 24 2009, 04:17PM
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@ Ogden Brother: so you think 16 goals is bang on for your #1 Centre? Nilsson still has goals in the single digits! Gagner hasnt cracked 15 goals. only 3 forwards have 40 or more points

Maybe every goalie we played against this season was embodied with the spirit of terry sawchuk, or there are lots of under-performers. One of the two, its a toss-up really.

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#64 Smokin' Ray - NNC
March 24 2009, 04:19PM
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nutsandgum wrote:

This is the GDB now? w00t. It’s Game Day! *quarter to Smokin’ Ray* And I’m going!!

Quarter accepted. :)

GAME DAY!!!

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#65 Reggie
March 24 2009, 04:19PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

MacT doesn’t want the other players to think Ales is getting special treatment. If MacT uses Hemsky’s name in too-familiar a fashion (especially referring to a player’s first name after an outburst like this), it could promote the idea that favoritism is at play.

MacT uses players nicknames all the time in his press conferences ... it is an odd group of quotes to not mention Hemsky in it. Very strange.

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#66 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 04:23PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: so you think 16 goals is bang on for your #1 Centre? Nilsson still has goals in the single digits! Gagner hasnt cracked 15 goals. only 3 forwards have 40 or more points Maybe every goalie we played against this season was embodied with the spirit of terry sawchuk, or there are lots of under-performers. One of the two, its a toss-up really.

Under perform vs what? Your expectations? That really doesn't mean anything. If you actually want to debate it, you can look for guys that underperform here vs elsewhere.

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#67 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 04:24PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Just so tired about hearing about player after player underperforming because of Mac-T’s warped logic.

Remember, this is the line

"Just so tired about hearing about player after player underperforming because of Mac-T’s warped logic."

That was being refrenced

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#68 Word
March 24 2009, 04:25PM
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Did Pat Falloon underperform here? Or did he perform to what was expected considering his underperformance elsewhere?

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#69 Deans
March 24 2009, 04:36PM
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I view Hemsky-gate (see what I did there?) as a positive for two reasons. Firstly, anytime a hockey player is honest with the fans, its great from an entertainment perspective. Secondly, I think these quotes shatter the perception that Hemsky 'doesnt care enough'. This guy wants to be the franchise player. I think that in the next few games, Hemsky will rev up his game and prove to the hockey world, once and for all, that he is a true superstar. Either way, it is going to be an entertaining finsh to the season.

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#70 Boundz
March 24 2009, 04:40PM
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topshelf FMNF wrote:

Ales has set the bar now and it’s up to him to take what’s given to him and run with it.

You got it, 100%. Ales, it's your turn to "bring it".. it would be great to see this as a pivotal turning point for him and the Oilers, where he can say "You wanted the best, you got the best" - and delivered.

B

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#71 DK0
March 24 2009, 04:57PM
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I wrote this almost a week ago on the tail end of a dying blog, so sorry if you've seen this already. I think it holds true with Hemsky's "outburst". I think he really wants to be free to run and gun and not become a "checker".

Please tell me I’m not the only one praying our next coach takes a run and gun strategy? I’m sick of losing games 2-1 in overtime. I want to lose them 6-5 in overtime. at least its more exciting. All offense all the time, and then let the colossal fossil steal a few games 4-2 for us. We have so many young players that are so dependent upon confidence. I don’t care what anyone says, prevent 99 goals and you’ll remember the one that got in. Allow 2 goals and then score one of your own and your going to be riding that high.

in summary: confidence boost of scoring >>> confidence boost of defending greater confidence -> more scoring more scoring -> greater confidence INFINITE WHEEL OF CONFIDENCE ALL THE WAY TO PLEASURETOWN!

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#72 Chris
March 24 2009, 04:58PM
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Ron Wilson is a competent coach. The San Jose Sharks were a winning team under his guidance.... Then Todd McLellan steps in; and the Sharks emerge as one of the most dominant regular season teams ever. One only has to look so far as the complete revitalization of Marleau to see that sometimes a fresh coaching perspective can lead to improved results.

The key, of course, is to find a Todd McLellan... instead of just crucifying your Ron Wilson.

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#73 Deans
March 24 2009, 05:03PM
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@ Chris: The book is still out on McLellan. With the sharks, the team is stll a giant question mark until they make the Cup Finals. If the Sharks go out in the 1st or 2nd round he will not be viewed as a savior.

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#74 Chris
March 24 2009, 05:16PM
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@ Deans:

That may be true... but if you were are a Sharks fan would you be disappointed with how the season has progressed?

If MacT were to step aside this summer and was replaced by Coach X; and under Coach X Hemsky had a 100+ point season, and the Oilers won the North-West, but failed to win the cup... would you view the coaching change as a failure? Would the "book" still be out on Coach X?

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#75 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 24 2009, 05:27PM
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@ Chris:

No absolutly not. People harp on San Jose for never getting past the second round. At least they had a shot every year. Under Mactavish we have a shot 3 or 4 times a decade? Yeah Id rather have success during the season and have a shot every year.

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#76 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 05:36PM
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Chris wrote:

Ron Wilson is a competent coach. The San Jose Sharks were a winning team under his guidance…. Then Todd McLellan steps in; and the Sharks emerge as one of the most dominant regular season teams ever. One only has to look so far as the complete revitalization of Marleau to see that sometimes a fresh coaching perspective can lead to improved results. The key, of course, is to find a Todd McLellan… instead of just crucifying your Ron Wilson.

Wait for the PO. SJ was far better after they added Campbell last year. They've had him all year this year (Boyle)

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#77 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 05:46PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Deans: That may be true… but if you were are a Sharks fan would you be disappointed with how the season has progressed? If MacT were to step aside this summer and was replaced by Coach X; and under Coach X Hemsky had a 100+ point season, and the Oilers won the North-West, but failed to win the cup… would you view the coaching change as a failure? Would the “book” still be out on Coach X?

A comparable would be someone replacing MacT, the Oil finishing 5th/6th and maybe winning a round.

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#78 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 05:52PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Chris wrote: @ Deans: That may be true… but if you were are a Sharks fan would you be disappointed with how the season has progressed? If MacT were to step aside this summer and was replaced by Coach X; and under Coach X Hemsky had a 100+ point season, and the Oilers won the North-West, but failed to win the cup… would you view the coaching change as a failure? Would the “book” still be out on Coach X? A comparable would be someone replacing MacT, the Oil finishing 5th/6th and maybe winning a round.

......and if the team were to accomplish that under MacT, I'd bet their would still be hordes of people calling for his head.

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#79 Deans
March 24 2009, 06:00PM
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@ Chris: If I was a SJ fan I wouldnt be disapointed but I would be skeptical. If your scenerio were to take place, I would be more than happy w/ the Oilers and "Coach X". I do think that next season the Oilers need fresh ideas and a new coach. The big difference w/ San Jose and Edmonton coaching situations, is that when a new coach comes into Edmonton, their will be new expectations and the slate will be whipped clean. Mcleland will still be judged on San Jose's past playoff performances. In my opinion, kind of an apples and oranges comparison

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#80 Chris
March 24 2009, 06:05PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

The jist of what i was trying to say is as follows:

a) MacT is a competent coach. b) A coaching change could result in improved results... providing you find the CORRECT replacemnt.

I cited the situation in San Jose as an example.

It is also important to note that no two coaches will EVER have the opportunity to coach the exact same roster, over the exact same portion of the season for the purposes of comparison. That being said... It is still okay to compare coaches to one another... otherwise nobody would EVER be replaced.

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#81 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 06:08PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: The jist of what i was trying to say is as follows: a) MacT is a competent coach. b) A coaching change could result in improved results… providing you find the CORRECT replacemnt. I cited the situation in San Jose as an example. It is also important to note that no two coaches will EVER have the opportunity to coach the exact same roster, over the exact same portion of the season for the purposes of comparison. That being said… It is still okay to compare coaches to one another… otherwise nobody would EVER be replaced.

I would agree. I think it's time for a new direction. Just drives me nuts when "reasons" are fabricated or blown way out of proportion.

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#82 Chris
March 24 2009, 06:11PM
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Deans wrote:

In my opinion, kind of an apples and oranges comparison

A) There will never EVER be a perfect example.

B) Every single coach in the history of the NHL is compared to his predecessor...the slate is never "wiped clean".

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#83 olderthendirt
March 24 2009, 06:21PM
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If Hemsky wasn't upset at this stage i would be worried. He should be. Now he can step up and make believers. Love to see so anger out of Penner!

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#84 Phil
March 24 2009, 06:24PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Chaz wrote: Mac T does not promote offense and offensively gifted players have a difficult time playing for him. If this wasn’t indisputible before, I think it is now. Especially when it comes from someone as soft-spoken as Hemmer. ~Yeah, Hemsky’s really struggled under MacTavish.~

Hasn't exactly flourished either. Has been consistent at being your average star player. Has developed defensively, hasn't really gotten much better offensively. Ho-hum, and so it goes.

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#85 Phil
March 24 2009, 06:24PM
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*Hasn't developed defensively*

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#86 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
March 24 2009, 06:40PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Chris wrote: @ Deans: A comparable would be someone replacing MacT, the Oil finishing 5th/6th and maybe winning a round. ……and if the team were to accomplish that under MacT, I’d bet their would still be hordes of people calling for his head.

Hey Mac T Brother in your book Mac T can do no wrong,why dont you tell us what Mac T has done right? are you content on watching this underperforming team year after year under his guidence?, the way you defend him he is the best coach since Scotty Bowman in your books

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#87 Volfman
March 24 2009, 06:45PM
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If Hemsky does break out of his funk again from now until the end of the season, can all of oiler nation please make a pact not to call him a superstar until game 41 of next season. I will be the fisrt to call him that though at that time. GOILERS!!!!

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#88 Archaeologuy
March 24 2009, 06:56PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Under perform vs what? Your expectations?

Yes actually, in my opinion a #1 centre shouldnt be scraping to score 20 goals unless he has 60 or more assists. The second line guys shouldnt just now be breaking the double digit plateau in goals either. My prognosticating prowess clearly was off. I actually did expect more than 20 goals from Gagner and Horc. Stupid me. Not all of us thought that the team was so devoid of talent, as you obviously did.

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#89 Chris
March 24 2009, 06:57PM
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Isn't there a game today? 4-3 Oilers. Hemsky with a goal and an assist.

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#90 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 07:07PM
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oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Ogden Brother wrote: Chris wrote: @ Deans: A comparable would be someone replacing MacT, the Oil finishing 5th/6th and maybe winning a round. ……and if the team were to accomplish that under MacT, I’d bet their would still be hordes of people calling for his head. Hey Mac T Brother in your book Mac T can do no wrong,why dont you tell us what Mac T has done right? are you content on watching this underperforming team year after year under his guidence?, the way you defend him he is the best coach since Scotty Bowman in your books

Here's the deal, I look at this roster on paper at the start of the year and see a 6th to 9th place team... where are we? 7th? What do you see when you look at the roster on paper?

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#91 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 07:08PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Under perform vs what? Your expectations? Yes actually, in my opinion a #1 centre shouldnt be scraping to score 20 goals unless he has 60 or more assists. The second line guys shouldnt just now be breaking the double digit plateau in goals either. My prognosticating prowess clearly was off. I actually did expect more than 20 goals from Gagner and Horc. Stupid me. Not all of us thought that the team was so devoid of talent, as you obviously did.

The point is underperforming BECAUSE of MacT. You've presented no proof.

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#92 David S
March 24 2009, 07:30PM
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The Toronto game is going into OT. Better fire up the internet feeds for the first.

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#93 Archaeologuy
March 24 2009, 07:31PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

The point is underperforming BECAUSE of MacT. You’ve presented no proof.

no youre right, the coach has no bearing on the actions of his players.

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#94 David S
March 24 2009, 07:34PM
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hxxp://www.ustream.tv/channel/red-wings-live

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#95 Chris
March 24 2009, 07:41PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

The problem with MacT:

Tambellini gives MacT Kotalik (a second or third line right winger who hasn't been played in a scoring role in years) and O'Sullivan (A natural left winger with a shoot-first mentality 2nd in the LA depth chart behind Frolov)...

Who would you put on the first line? The slow, right winger whose recent offensive numbers were derrived almost soley from playing the point on Buffalo's powerplay? The guy who, if asked, would tell you that the left wing lock employed by many teams has rendered him ineffective on the left side for several years.... Or the young up-and-comer who lead his team in shots?

Naturally, when carefully looking at all the facts, MacT plays the less offensivly oriented, third liner, out of position through several consecutive losses... It's INSANE! I don't know all there is to know about NHL tactics; I'm not in that room ever day; but MacT has mismanaged his assets all season long. There are too many other examples to even begin to bother rehashing them all...

These decisions are costing the team points. Period.

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#96 David S
March 24 2009, 07:47PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: The problem with MacT: Tambellini gives MacT Kotalik (a second or third line right winger who hasn’t been played in a scoring role in years) and O’Sullivan (A natural left winger with a shoot-first mentality 2nd in the LA depth chart behind Frolov)… Who would you put on the first line? The slow, right winger whose recent offensive numbers were derrived almost soley from playing the point on Buffalo’s powerplay? The guy who, if asked, would tell you that the left wing lock employed by many teams has rendered him ineffective on the left side for several years…. Or the young up-and-comer who lead his team in shots? Naturally, when carefully looking at all the facts, MacT plays the less offensivly oriented, third liner, out of position through several consecutive losses… It’s INSANE! I don’t know all there is to know about NHL tactics; I’m not in that room ever day; but MacT has mismanaged his assets all season long. There are too many other examples to even begin to bother rehashing them all… These decisions are costing the team points. Period.

You forgot one sentence. "In my opinion".

There you go.

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#97 Harlie Chuddy
March 24 2009, 07:49PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Also Ken Holland will be on my show at 3:10 today…

great interview btw

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#98 David S
March 24 2009, 07:52PM
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Geez. You could take ANY player on the Wings, put him on our team and we'd be markedly better.

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#99 David S
March 24 2009, 07:57PM
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Pretty decent PP!

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#100 David S
March 24 2009, 07:57PM
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David S wrote:

Pretty decent PP!

You got that straight bud. Looks like we got the good Oilers tonight.

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