The Hemsky Quote Everyone Is Talking About

Jonathan Willis
March 24 2009 09:33AM

Hemsky

If you’ve missed it, there’s a story in the Calgary Herald from yesterday where Ales Hemsky publicly complains about the way he has been handled.

Dan Barnes, for my money the best sports columnist in Edmonton, writes the piece and does his best to soften Hemsky’s complaints, but here’s the money quote:

"I'm just trying to do exactly what they want. I'm becoming a checker," he said with obvious displeasure after Monday's practice. "We're just doing what we have to do to win games. I'm not complaining. It's important to win the games. I just don't feel as important as I did before when they were riding me. I don't feel they use me as much as they did before. If they don't give me the confidence or trust me, I will never be playing the way I was before, the way they want. I'm just saying I don't care about points. I know I didn't play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But they have got to show me they need me. Ride me. It's 10 games. I will feel important and I will get better every game."

The responses have been about what you would expect. The vast majority of people seem to think that either a) Hemsky’s being a big baby, or b) Craig MacTavish just moved much, much closer to the chopping block.

Personally, I’m not convinced it’s that big of a deal. Do a quick Google search for “unhappy ice time” if you don’t believe me. There are pages and pages of players complaining about their ice-time -- it happens.

At the same time this isn’t a complete non-story either. Hemsky’s a star player, and there’s an obvious disagreement between him and MacTavish over his exact role. Hemsky feels that he deserves more ice-time, and I’m not at all convinced he’s wrong, although he hasn’t really earned a heavy workload this last little while.

The bottom line though is that it isn’t all that uncommon for a hockey player -- even one as notable as Hemsky -- being unhappy with the ice-time that the coach is giving him. So don’t expect this quote to result in much more than a talk between the coach and the star, and perhaps a few extra shifts for Hemsky; that’s about all it warrants. And as for the notion that Hemsky’s being petulant or whiny – isn’t a star player who wants to play more a good thing? While Hemsky may not have handled things ideally, the root motive -- a desire to play a bigger and better role -- is only a positive for this team.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 mr.obvious
March 24 2009, 09:39AM
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bye bye MacT!!!

FMNF!!

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#2 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 09:40AM
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Asking Ales to be a complete player is hardly a bad thing. I always felt his max potential was as a Datsyuk/Zetterberg type guy. Someone that could put up 30+ goals 85+ points and play a solid all around game to boot. He's hitting "prime age" now... time to step up and take the next step... or retreat back as a secondary "offense only" type guy.

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#3 I'm a Scientist!
March 24 2009, 09:42AM
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You can't teach an elephant to be a monkey... let the elephant be an elephant and construct a jungle around him. Then see what happens.

Good for Hemmer for saying how he feels. We, as fans, are too often fed the censored opinions of the players... let'er rip. Tell us how you really feel.

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#4 airbag
March 24 2009, 09:42AM
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this article just makes me like hemsky more, hes a champ. If he wants more ice time why wouldnt you throw him a couple extra shifts in the second and third, maybe play him with cogs.

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#5 Wanye Gretz
March 24 2009, 09:51AM
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HOLY SHIT!!!!!

PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC

I can't remember Hemsky ever really saying anything in the papers before.

MacT - thou are so fired.

*shakes head in dismay that the quiet Hemsky is talking like this*

FMNF

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#6 Peter Pan
March 24 2009, 09:51AM
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Untie the rope; rid the leash. Let him play his game. Hemsky has never been a major liability on defense so whats up with this new concept? Hemmer a checker? Let him control the game. He has that ability so why take it away from him. Besides, the best defense is a strong offence. You could see him sagging out there. We need a happy, confident Hemsky. Bottom line!

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#7 AlBundy
March 24 2009, 09:52AM
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Right on Hemmer, you tell them. You are a star player being treated like a checking forward.

What you gonna do, trade him for speaking his mind. I wish more Oilers would really say what they are feeling.

How do you patch this up when it would appear the only way to get his message across was to go the the media? WOW

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#8 Jonathan Willis
March 24 2009, 09:54AM
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And I thought the HFBoards response wasn't proportionate. Wow.

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#9 Reggie
March 24 2009, 09:55AM
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FMNF

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#10 GoOilers
March 24 2009, 09:55AM
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Sorry Mr. Hemsky but you have been a turnover machine for the last 20 games.

How can you blame McTavish for wincing every time you go out there in a close game?

Suck it up and start playing like you did before and you will see loads of ice time.

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#11 RY
March 24 2009, 09:56AM
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MacT wants Hemsky to be more like Datsyuk or Zetterberg. Maybe the problem is MacT needs to be more like Babcock.

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#12 Rice
March 24 2009, 10:00AM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

You can’t teach an elephant to be a monkey… let the elephant be an elephant and construct a jungle around him. Then see what happens. Good for Hemmer for saying how he feels. We, as fans, are too often fed the censored opinions of the players… let’er rip. Tell us how you really feel.

Are you saying Hemsky is an Elephant, or the monkey?

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#13 AlBundy
March 24 2009, 10:01AM
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Maybe it isn't MacT, maybe it's Klowe telling MacT what to do??????

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#14 The Towel Boy
March 24 2009, 10:02AM
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We all wanted Hemsky to play like the superstar we all know he can be...now he's acting like it.

Sounds like his ego is a bit bruised after having the team win games without him being the centerpiece of it all.

I think that's good. Spit that hot fire Hemmer! Your anger towards the situation shows me that you care. Now channel that energy and put up 4 points tonight and contribute to a big fat W and you'll have your redemption.

ViVa La Resistance!

GOILERS!

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#15 Victoria
March 24 2009, 10:07AM
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What Hemmer needs is some better guys on that first line with him. It's great that he wants the team to push him, especially since he's risen to the task in the past, but for the better part of the season (okay, the whole season) he's been the only one on that line getting anything done offensively. We can't play a line that isn't producing more then line that are and Hemmer's the one who ends up getting punished for that.

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#16 joe
March 24 2009, 10:09AM
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Well this doesn't seem to be working with Hemsky, maybe MacT should look at this and put it to the side for now.

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#17 Archaeologuy
March 24 2009, 10:09AM
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This is just another entry into the "Fire MacT" box.

MacStifle clearly never should have been a head coach in the first place. He had almost no qualifications when he got the job. He's accomplished nothing as a head coach. Nothing. 8 bad-mediocre regular seasons, only 1 player in 8 years ever had more than 77 points (Weight in Craigs 1st year), Bad PK (except when Simpson was in charge), terrible PP, no effort from the boys on many nights, and that stupid look on his face bothers me.

If this club was more interested in the future and less on the past we might have had our own Farm club sooner and maybe someone would be able to look past the time faded cup banners to see that the team was being mismanaged. Ales Hemsky is just another victim of the coach's belief that the bottom 6 forwards are more important than the top 6. Its the only explanation for the contracts of our 3rd line center Horcoff, our penalty killer Pisani, and our 4th liner Moreau. With the coach whispering into Lowe's ear we managed to lose Sykora, Lupul, Laraque, and Cole; Only to keep spare parts at extreme prices.

I'm glad Hemsky is going public with his frustration. Hopefully, a little daylight is exactly what this festering sore needs.

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#18 Victoria
March 24 2009, 10:11AM
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To add to my last comment, I like Hemmer speaking up like this. It seems like he's starting to understand that, in order to be the face of this franchise, he's gotta stand up when he's off the ice.

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#19 BUCK75 - FMNF
March 24 2009, 10:11AM
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He hasn't been shooting in Shoot Outs either...

I agree with him, he should be on the ice more. He should be rotated through the lines not to limit him only playing with Horcoff.

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#20 Wanye Gretz
March 24 2009, 10:12AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

And I thought the HFBoards response wasn’t proportionate. Wow.

PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC

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#21 Fun Berto
March 24 2009, 10:15AM
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RY wrote:

MacT wants Hemsky to be more like Datsyuk or Zetterberg. Maybe the problem is MacT needs to be more like Babcock.

Quoted for truth!

FMNF!!!!

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#22 Mother Pucker Hockey
March 24 2009, 10:17AM
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This is still shocking me... I'm tempted to be "that guy" at the game tonight and have a huge sign with something along the lines of "Hemsky needs to check more... Reddox needs to score more..." or some shit.

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#23 Ducey
March 24 2009, 10:17AM
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Typically Hensky busts up the ice ragging the puck like only he can do. If the D man goes for the puck Hemmer makes him look silly. Occassoinally he goes on to make the Goalie look silly too.

However, the majority of the time Hensky gets checked, or refuses to shoot and then makes a bad pass. Turnover. What does Hemmer do? Usually he looks like my nine year old when you tell him he needs to do homework. Then he kind of loafs back up the ice to see whether the other 4 guys on the ice were successful preventing a goal.

I have to agree with MacT. There is nothing wrong with making a great offensive player play defence too. Gretzky could be seen floating out by the redline occassionally, but he also was just as likely to be backchecking. There is no reason Hemmer can't backcheck or cut down on his turnovers.

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#24 Harlie Chuddy
March 24 2009, 10:18AM
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wow! What a revelation!!! MacT tries to turn an offensive star into a checker!?! Man this is a HUGE SHOCK! Stop the presses!! Kill the midget! Stab the Ginger!

...ok maybe it's not THAT shocking. :(

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#25 I'm a Scientist!
March 24 2009, 10:22AM
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@ Rice: Elephant. Hmm, maybe elehpant is a better analogy for Penner? Ok...Tiger...let the Tiger be a Tiger.

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#26 The Towel Boy
March 24 2009, 10:22AM
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Ducey wrote:

here is no reason Hemmer can’t backcheck or cut down on his turnovers.

I do remember him blocking a shot in Minnie...like actually going down in a slide type of block...not just getting hit with the puck.

...or am I making this up...I'm sure I remember it.

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#27 Ted L
March 24 2009, 10:26AM
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I see this as only a good thing. Hemsky wants to be the 'go to' guy, but feels he isn't being given the opportunity lately. He's calling out the coach using the media just as the coach was calling out his players earlier on in the season. The fact that Hemmer wants to be 'the guy' on the team is good, very good. If given the opportunity I only see his game taking off to a new level.

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#28 swany
March 24 2009, 10:34AM
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I like what Hemmer is saying, He has asked that he be the guy to lead our team GIVE it to him play him 22-25 min play him on the first line and every second shift play him with Penner and Brods. We all know Roli is our MVP, well without Hemmer in the first 50 games we would be no where near the playoffs he was our offence. I do think his comments have something to do with not beeing picked for the shootouts, look back at the Hawks game he looks really pissed on the bench. Mact once said if Hemmer isn't breathing hard he's going back out well do it now. play the crap out of him.

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#29 Nickler
March 24 2009, 10:39AM
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If you are going to the game tonight, lets start a Hem-mer, Hem-mer chant when he steps on the ice.

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#30 AlBundy
March 24 2009, 10:45AM
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Instead of MacT whispering in Klowe's ear, maybe it's Klowe whispering in MacT's ear. WE GOTTA MAKE THE PLAYOFFS or we make Brian Burke look like he knows what he is talking about.

How do you make the playoffs, trap trap trap. Oiler hockey in the 2000's

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#31 I'm a Scientist!
March 24 2009, 10:48AM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

I do remember him blocking a shot in Minnie…like actually going down in a slide type of block…not just getting hit with the puck. …or am I making this up…I’m sure I remember it.

It happened. I was shocked...and a little worried. I guess Hemmer has a point though, it is hard to dangle a puck when you are laying on the ice blocking a shot.

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#32 Archaeologuy
March 24 2009, 10:49AM
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@ AlBundy:

If this was a trapping team we wouldnt be outshot every night and we would have had more odd man chances in our favour.

Unfortunately, we have no discernable system.

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#33 Colin
March 24 2009, 10:53AM
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Awesome. And he's absolutely right, Tigers(Offensive Players) kill things(score goals) they don't protect the livestock(prevent goals).

Hemsky should be playing 23-25 minutes per night, screw Moreau Pisani and the other talentless checkers getting too much icetime. Double shift him if the rest of line one can't hack the minutes. I'd be inclined to switch Horcoff and Cogliano for many games and see what a top speed first line with Offense first players could do.

Hemsky should be playing the full two minutes on the PP as should Souray; you use your best options. PP1 would have those 2 and Nilsson & Gagner, Gilbert, PP2 would use Penner & O'Sullivan, Grebs/Kotalik.

MacT can't run offensive players it's been proven time & again, I really think he needs to go. With Hemsky speaking up and the inconsistantcy/"underacheivement" this year It should only be a matter of time.

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#34 swany
March 24 2009, 11:03AM
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Colin wrote:

Awesome. And he’s absolutely right, Tigers(Offensive Players) kill things(score goals) they don’t protect the livestock(prevent goals). Hemsky should be playing 23-25 minutes per night, screw Moreau Pisani and the other talentless checkers getting too much icetime. Double shift him if the rest of line one can’t hack the minutes. I’d be inclined to switch Horcoff and Cogliano for many games and see what a top speed first line with Offense first players could do. Hemsky should be playing the full two minutes on the PP as should Souray; you use your best options. PP1 would have those 2 and Nilsson & Gagner, Gilbert, PP2 would use Penner & O’Sullivan, Grebs/Kotalik. MacT can’t run offensive players it’s been proven time & again, I really think he needs to go. With Hemsky speaking up and the inconsistantcy/”underacheivement” this year It should only be a matter of time.

Agree on Hemmer every second shift Hemmer should be the 4th lines RW, Brods and Penner could use the boost. as for your comments on Mact, we all think Hitchcock is a great coach and all he does is praise Mact as a great coach, just throwing that out there.22-25 min tonight and the first line will bust out watch 3 goals for Hemmer his first NHL hatty.

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#35 Jonathan Willis
March 24 2009, 11:05AM
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You know who else used to occasionally complain about ice-time? Miroslav Satan, in Buffalo.

As I recall, Satan was sort of a key player on that team for years and years, and fans accused Lindy Ruff of not knowing how to manage offensive talent. In point of fact, Satan was slumping and Ruff was just trying to get him out of it.

Have some perspective, people.

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#36 Stall35
March 24 2009, 11:05AM
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I am on....where do i get tickets to board the FMNF bus? Hemmer has never been a bitch to the Media guy, hell, he wasn't even a talk to the media guy until he decided he wanted to be a leader and in doing so, needs to be more media friendly. If he goes on record to talk about his frustration...I am definitely concerned. I think at one point in the Minnie game, Hemmer and was it Moreau were the only Oilers that had more than one hit. So even if he wasn't producing at least he was hitting something, which is more than can be said about that Penner guy...lol.

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#37 Rick
March 24 2009, 11:05AM
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I'm not sure what to think of it.

My first thought is that if Hemsky had done sweet eff all in the last 10 games then he his role is probably exactly what he wants it to be. But the reality is that he hasn't played well.

On the other hand, with how frustrating this season has been I find myself wondering more and more how a different coach would use the different players on this team.

The entertainment value for this years edition of the Oilers has been aweful. Letting the offensive guys play a little more recklessly would atleast provide some satisfaction in that regard.

If the game we saw on Sunday is a byproduct of how MacT wants to manage the chances then I would rather see Hemsky have the freedom to do what he wants or can and see them lose 4-2 than see them lose 3-0.

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#38 Chris
March 24 2009, 11:06AM
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I'm not so sure about this one... It looks to me like Hemmer has the green light to go. I never EVER hear the coach complain about Hemsky's constant turnovers: Remember Chicago..?. Tied game late... Hemmer turns a four on one in the offensive zone into a two on one the other way?...OUCH! (What would have happend if Penner had made that play?) Is it MacT's fault Hemskey hasn't buried even one of his last four breakaways? I don't like the way MacT has handled his assets this season... That being said, the team is finally playing better DESPITE Hemsky. Seems like a poor timing on Hemsky's part.

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#39 Wanye Gretz
March 24 2009, 11:39AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Have some perspective, people.

Fair enough JW. I think the shock comes not so much from his comments, which are mild enough, but rather from the fact that since he joined the team in (insert year here) we haven't heard a peep out of Hemsky - really at all.

It's the fact he is talking, rather than the words, that shock me. Plus we are all a bit jumpy when a star starts getting unhappy up in here.

PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC

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#40 shakey
March 24 2009, 11:46AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Plus we are all a bit jumpy when a star starts getting unhappy up in here.

I think my immediate response when I read this was to throw my head back in my chair and say "that's just what we f**kin' need, a pissed off Hemmer." Yeah...I'd say we're a little jumpy.

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#41 topshelf FMNF
March 24 2009, 11:54AM
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Hemsky isn't on this team to block shots and backcheck like mad. He's here to be a dynamic offensive player and create offense. If Hemsky broke his foot blocking a shot what would we say then... "Why the hell is he trying to block shots?".

Let the pluggers plug and let the players play. Cut the rope and let him fly.

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#42 rindog
March 24 2009, 11:56AM
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@ topshelf FMNF:

topshelf FMNF wrote:

Let the pluggers plug and let the players play

Couldn't be more true.

Sadly - it's a concept that MacT has never been able to grasp...

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#43 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 11:58AM
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Colin wrote:

Awesome. And he’s absolutely right, Tigers(Offensive Players) kill things(score goals) they don’t protect the livestock(prevent goals). Hemsky should be playing 23-25 minutes per night, screw Moreau Pisani and the other talentless checkers getting too much icetime. Double shift him if the rest of line one can’t hack the minutes. I’d be inclined to switch Horcoff and Cogliano for many games and see what a top speed first line with Offense first players could do. Hemsky should be playing the full two minutes on the PP as should Souray; you use your best options. PP1 would have those 2 and Nilsson & Gagner, Gilbert, PP2 would use Penner & O’Sullivan, Grebs/Kotalik. MacT can’t run offensive players it’s been proven time & again, I really think he needs to go. With Hemsky speaking up and the inconsistantcy/”underacheivement” this year It should only be a matter of time.

Don't you think it's kind of ironic that you say MacT can't coach offense and then suggest they play 2 guys 2 minutes straight 2-5 times per game?

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#44 lego
March 24 2009, 11:59AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

You know who else used to occasionally complain about ice-time? Miroslav Satan, in Buffalo. As I recall, Satan was sort of a key player on that team for years and years, and fans accused Lindy Ruff of not knowing how to manage offensive talent. In point of fact, Satan was slumping and Ruff was just trying to get him out of it. Have some perspective, people.

Great example!

Lindy Ruff, has about the same record of mediocrity as MacT, almost won a cup once too!

MacT said it himself earlier this year that "defense wins". Well the Minnesota Mild are hands down the best defensive team in the league but WTF have they ever won?

Someone needs to review basic math with MacT to prove to him that's impossible to win with just defense!

Let Hemmer do what he does best! In fact let all the players do what they do best, only then will you have a team that is capable of playing to its full potential!

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#45 topshelf FMNF
March 24 2009, 12:08PM
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@ Ogden Brother: You don't think other teams in the league leave their key players out for the entire powerplay?

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#46 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 12:09PM
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topshelf FMNF wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: You don’t think other teams in the league leave their key players out for the entire powerplay?

No, I don't.

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#47 Ogden Brother
March 24 2009, 12:09PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

topshelf FMNF wrote: @ Ogden Brother: You don’t think other teams in the league leave their key players out for the entire powerplay? No, I don’t.

Or at least rarely... and likely not 2 guys.

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#48 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 24 2009, 12:17PM
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PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF FMNF!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh wait, how about this Hemsky, how about you score some freaking goals in the 18 minutes of ice time you have.

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#49 topshelf FMNF
March 24 2009, 12:17PM
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I think it's more common for a D-man to do it. I know Pronger does it or at least used to do it.

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#50 roughneck
March 24 2009, 12:21PM
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wow.. i am confused.. am I now obligated to boo the turnovers or still sit quietly patiently awaiting the highlight reel goal that justifies them?

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