Meanwhile, in practice-land

Jason Gregor
September 25 2009 04:22PM

skate-or-die-quinn

I spent a bit of time at the Oilers' skate session today. Ethan Moreau didn’t skate; he pulled something late in the game last night and will be evaluated this afternoon.

The lines looked like this today:

Jacques — Horcoff — Hemsky Penner — Comrie — O’Sullivan Cogliano — Gagner — Stortini Nilsson — Brule — Stone

Reddox, Schremp, MacIntyre, Brennan and Eberle mixed in on different rushes. Moreau, Pouliot and Pisani didn’t skate.

Defence had:

Souray — Staios Gilbert — Grebeshkov Smid — Visnovsky Strudwick — Chorney

Khabibulin, Deslauriers and Dubnyk

If Moreau's injury isn’t serious, look for him to skate with Cogliano and Gagner, and then Stortini will move down with Brule and Nilsson.

You could see Nilsson and Moreau swap during the game depending on how the game is going. You saw Quinn move Nilsson back with Cogliano and Gagner in the second period when the game became more of a free-wheeling style. If the game is tight, he won’t play them together all the time but has no problem moving Moreau and Nilsson around.

These lines aren’t set in stone, because of the injuries, but they give a pretty good picture of what the opening day roster could look like.

On the blueline, the pairings aren’t set. Quinn said there are lots of discussions still happening amongst the coaches on who will play where.

Today was the most relaxed practice I’d see so far. Quinn had lots of drills focusing on offence and skill. In fact at the end of practice, Hemsky, Gilbert and Penner had to skate three laps as punishment for spraying the goalies with snow. It was not a hard skate, but more of a joke amongst the players.

Quinn also said, “I shouldn’t speculate but I think cuts will occur on Monday.” So we will see how it plays out.

To me Brennan, Reddox, Eberle, Schremp, Chorney and Dubnyk are obvious cuts. That would leave two more forwards to get cut, of course Peckham and Rajala will be re-assigned once they are healthy as well.

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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 Fiveandagame
September 25 2009, 09:55PM
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I like these lines. I would think that Pouliot has a much better chance at being sent down over Nilsson.

I like Nilsson/Stone as our extra forwards.

I also think

Moreau Brule and Pisani are a great fourth line. Why not bump up Stortini banging and crashing for Gagner that likes to generate his offense down low anyway. I think it's a good combo.

Maybe I think to much of the guy but he's a more physical player than Pisani and those two mighty mites could use it.

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#52 MattL
September 25 2009, 10:01PM
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@ ronaldo:

I'd rather see Sully there for sure. Although, PDP fits on the first line because Hemmer can rag the puck forever, and Horc can cover for him defensively. Penner was a glaring defensive liability playing on a line with Schremp, another guy who isn't the greatest back-checker in the world, (although he definitely showed a willingness to try). In that sense, Penner on LW1 works, but he certainly doesn't excite me the way O'Sullivan or Cogs or Nilsson would from an offensive perspective.

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#53 heavyd
September 25 2009, 10:12PM
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Just wanted to let the owners of the site, that there is a website called oilerhockey.com, and they hvae stories from here on there. Don't know if they are affillated with this site or not, but just thought i would say something.

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#54 RossCreek
September 25 2009, 10:18PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

To me Brennan, Reddox, Eberle, Schremp, Chorney and Dubnyk are obvious cuts. That would leave two more forwards to get cut, ... Jason, if I’m reading things correctly, you can add Nilsson and MacIntyre to that list.

Jonathan Willis wrote:

Nilsson, eh? Bold, if that’s the way they’re going to go.

How is it bold to dump Nilsson? He's the only guy making any $$ that is repetetive. We've gone over how they can't just dump Moreau & Pisani without replacing them with other vets, so that leaves Nilsson & Staios as the only expendable $$ players. And in the now, Staios has more value to the team.

@ Robin Brownlee: So you see them keeping Stone & Pouliot as the extra forwards? Do you see them moving S-Mac in a deal rather than risk losing him on waivers to a rival? Does anyone pick Nilsson's contract up?

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#55 Archaeologuy
September 25 2009, 10:34PM
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Chris wrote:

After this little rant Hemsky completely disappeared down the stretch… (And hasn’t been seen since)

He had 14 points in the last 20 games, 9 points in the last 10 games. Not exactly a disappearing act down the stretch. Funny how the memory works isnt it?

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#56 Robin Brownlee
September 25 2009, 10:41PM
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@ RossCreek: I don't know if anybody will puck up Nilsson with two years at $2M each year. Maybe a bottom-feeder with cap space. Somebody will take MacIntyre.

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#57 David S
September 25 2009, 11:24PM
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"Nilsson — Brule — Stone"

OK. Help me here. Keep in mind I Only know what I see at the games or on TV, and from reading the wide range of excellent Oilogosphere posts. And I don't have NHL 10.

Last Night I saw Nilsson score a sniper's goal and execute some world class passes. The night before I saw some pretty decent hustle too.

How in the heck is a guy like Nilsson supposed to thrive with the likes of fringe throw-away players like Brule and Stone, when its patently obvious he works exceedingly well with skilled players?

It seems to me that all three of Sam, Andrew and Robert have put more of an edge to their games over the summer. Why not challenge the three of them to play like bulldogs on the same line for 10 games or so and see what happens? Might we be wasting an emerging power line because we're overly concerned with "team toughness", so much so that we're basically placing a proven (although inconsistent to date) shooter with dregs. And hey, I love Zack, but no way is he going to be the lubricant for Cogs and Sam.

Maybe Nilsson at his point total last year isn't worth $2 Million, but if he played hard this year and got a decent set of linemates he could go 25 goals and as many assists. Those sorts of numbers would make sense for alot of teams, wouldn't they?

I guess I'm looking at a situation where a guy knows this is his last chance at an NHL career. With that sort of motivation, wouldn't you want to see if he's up for it before throwing in the towel?

Cogliano — Gagner — Nillson Stortini — Brule — Stone

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#58 Josh Rose
September 25 2009, 11:30PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

If its me I keep Schremp and Stone as extra forwards, simply because i dont think anyone will claim Pouliot on waivers and Schremp i think would be.

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#59 David S
September 25 2009, 11:34PM
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Josh Rose wrote:

and Schremp i think would be.

We can only hope.

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#60 Copperhead Mike
September 26 2009, 12:02AM
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David S wrote:

Josh Rose wrote: and Schremp i think would be.
We can only hope.

I think Pouliot is definitely picked up. He has shown he has some skill and is fairly reliable defensively. Someone could get great use out of him as a fourth line centre.

His versatility to me means he stays. Even as the 13/14th forward. He can easily slot in on LW beside Hemsky and Horcoff and not look terribly out of place, or he can work with Stortini and Stone on the down low cycle too. He won't WOW you in either place but he'll be solid and mostly reliable.

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#61 David S
September 26 2009, 12:19AM
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@ Copperhead Mike

I took it that the dude was worried Schremp would get picked up. I HOPE he does. But realistically, who else wants our garbage?

On the bright side, the KHL is always on the lookout for a few good men.

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#62 David S
September 26 2009, 12:28AM
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"$2.99 fat dummy special". Bah-ha ha ha ha!

C'mon Jason. Robin's "Irritants" segment has to rate a Brownlee photo spread.

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#63 jdrevenge
September 26 2009, 01:36AM
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Quinn is leaving everyting up to Tambo at this point. He is saying everything and nothing on the day to day. He's truthing when he says its up to management, Tambo has the starting lineup not, so much Quin-ney.

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#64 Pinto
September 26 2009, 08:19AM
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Sorry I am out of the loop a bit but when is Peckham back from his injury and what is injured anyways?

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#65 Helicopter Guy
September 26 2009, 08:37AM
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heavyd wrote:

oilerhockey.com

They just link to the sites that have Oilers news - they aren't rehosting or stealing anything. Way to expose this epic interweb crime!

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#66 Death Metal Nightmare
September 26 2009, 09:15AM
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i cant believe you used a picture of fu***@#$ "Lester" from Skate or Die. so sick.

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#67 douggy
September 26 2009, 09:34AM
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schremp is junk. the guy doesnt have what it takes to make the NHL. sure he has decent hands, but everytime he touches the puck, he stops skating. why do fans want this plug to make it so bad? i'd take nilsson over shitty schremp anyday. put him on waivers and let him become someone else's problem.

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#68 Chris
September 26 2009, 10:03AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Chris wrote: After this little rant Hemsky completely disappeared down the stretch… (And hasn’t been seen since) He had 14 points in the last 20 games, 9 points in the last 10 games. Not exactly a disappearing act down the stretch. Funny how the memory works isnt it?

Let's check my memory with some facts:

Monday March 23, 2009. Hemsky has his little rant. Is crtical of the coaching staff... Gives a Heatley-esque talk about wanting to be the "man".

Mar 24 Detroit: 1 assist in a loss. Mar 26 Phoenix: 1 assits in a loss. Mar 27 Anaheim: 1 assist in a loss. Mar 29 Minnesota: 1 assist in a loss. Mar 31 Anaheim: 1 assist in a loss. Apr 2 San Jose: 0 points in a loss. Apr 4 Vancouver: 1 assist and an empty netter in a win! Apr 7 L.A.: 0 points in a loss Apr 10 Calgary: 1 assist in a win! Apr 11 Calgary: 0 points in a loss.

8 points in nine games. Arch! Your right. Hemsky was awesome! 1 lousy empty net goal and a sprinkling of second assists and PP points in losses. Shift after shift of being invisible or turning the puck over. Hemsky himself said he was disappointed with his play down the stretch... It's okay for you to feel the same.

All I'm trying to say is that Hemmer was clearly upset when he made those comments and it showed in his play. I truly hope he snaps back to his old self soon, because I haven't seen it yet this Preseason.

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#69 The Menace
September 26 2009, 10:13AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ The Menace: Do you seriously believe that Stone and Nilsson are better for the team than Moreau and Pisani?

No, I like Stortini in the Stone spot, and Moreau on that line too. I think I still like Nilsson beter than Pouliot though.

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#70 The Menace
September 26 2009, 10:20AM
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Archaeologuy wrote: Funny how the memory works isnt it?

I don't think it's very funny.

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#71 Chris.
September 26 2009, 10:52AM
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The Menace wrote:

I think I still like Nilsson beter than Pouliot though

Nilsson, IMO, is a better player than Pouliot. Unfortunately, Nilsson is not a large right handed draw-taking center. This team needs another big center and not another flashy smallish winger.

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#72 MattL
September 26 2009, 11:11AM
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Helicopter Guy wrote:

They just link to the sites that have Oilers news – they aren’t rehosting or stealing anything. Way to expose this epic interweb crime!

Of course, they are making money on stolen content, but whatever, it's not like THAT'S illegal, right?

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#73 Archaeologuy
September 26 2009, 11:17AM
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@ Chris:

Ok, so Hemsky disappeared in Spirit but not in performance. Whatever you claim about me being too hard on guys like Moreau who are past their prime and cant help the club, you are claiming a guy disappeared after he griped about a coach we all knew had lost the room when clearly he didnt.

Whatever. Keep ragging on Hemsky for contributing when there were 15 other guys who really did disappear down the stretch.

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#74 Archaeologuy
September 26 2009, 11:19AM
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@ Archaeologuy:

That first line should have had a "?!" at the end of it to denote my complete lack of understanding behind your wild assertions.

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#75 cableguy
September 26 2009, 11:22AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ Chris: Ok, so Hemsky disappeared in Spirit but not in performance. Whatever you claim about me being too hard on guys like Moreau who are past their prime and cant help the club, you are claiming a guy disappeared after he griped about a coach we all knew had lost the room when clearly he didnt. Whatever. Keep ragging on Hemsky for contributing when there were 15 other guys who really did disappear down the stretch.

i agree.

while hemsky wasnt anywhere near his best down the stretch, the team as a whole was dreadful.

pointing the finger at one or two guys when the entire team was s**t isnt, IMO, the way to go.

im not at all saying the guy gets a free pass either.

but, how many players across the league can put up points almost strictly on their own? is hemsky anywhere near that category? i dont think so

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#76 The Menace
September 26 2009, 11:34AM
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@ cableguy: who do you want him to be like? Iginla? Thornton? Vinny? He doesn't get paid like those guys. Look at other playmakers that are a 4-4.5 mil cap hit, and he looks very good on those comparisons.

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#77 George
September 26 2009, 11:50AM
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moreau is a terrible choice to play with skilled players. He has probably the worst hockey sense and vision in the nhl and he only decides to hit in 1 out of 5 games, the other games he does absolutely nothing! If hes playing with gags and cogs he will ruin soo many of their breakout plays and cycles. Having said that, he would be a perfect 4th liner to help muck it up with stortini. I like jaques with hemsky and horcoff cuz he at least knows how to pass and make plays to some extent, unlike moreau.

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#78 Chris.
September 26 2009, 12:04PM
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@ cableguy:

I can make comments about the play of one player without commenting simulataneously about the play of twenty-two others.

Arch thinks I have a hate on for Hemsky... It's not true. Hemsky played poorly down the stretch... so naturally, the poor finish has been fodder for discussion for an entire offseason. It's probably not fair. Sorry. When you have a poor performance or two, the cure is to come back strong and answer your critics and Hemsky didn't have the chance to do so for several long months. Based on this, I'm a little surprised at Hemsky's effort level this preseason... But am cautiously optimistic that Hemmer will adapt to a new system and return to form in due time.

What I won't buy into is the theory that a player can play brutal for eight shifts, and then set up one highlight reel goal and be credited for having a great game; It's not the best way to help your team win.

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#79 Gunner
September 26 2009, 12:33PM
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@ Chris.: Ragging on one player, our best player, when the entire team sh*t the bed is ridiculous. Hemsky carried our anemic offense for the most part last season. While he may not have been our best player he surely wasn't our worst. Let it go.

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#80 Chris
September 26 2009, 12:33PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Whatever. Keep ragging on Hemsky for contributing when there were 15 other guys who really did disappear down the stretch

We will always have these little tiffs until you realize that there are other ways to contribute than just having your name appear on the scoresheet.

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#81 Chris
September 26 2009, 12:39PM
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Gunner wrote:

Ragging on one player, our best player, when the entire team sh*t the bed is ridiculous.

I ragged on most of the players down the stretch... It's just that Hemsky apologists in particular always come out of the woodwork to defend him blindly even if he's performing poorly. Just because he's "our best player" shouldn'ty give him a free pass. When someone with his gifts, pure talent, and his icetime fails to make much of an impact for ten games in a row... it's not "ridiculous" to be critical.

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#82 Gunner
September 26 2009, 12:48PM
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@ Chris: Chris wrote:

Mar 24 Detroit: 1 assist in a loss. Mar 26 Phoenix: 1 assits in a loss. Mar 27 Anaheim: 1 assist in a loss. Mar 29 Minnesota: 1 assist in a loss. Mar 31 Anaheim: 1 assist in a loss. Apr 2 San Jose: 0 points in a loss. Apr 4 Vancouver: 1 assist and an empty netter in a win! Apr 7 L.A.: 0 points in a loss Apr 10 Calgary: 1 assist in a win! Apr 11 Calgary: 0 points in a loss.

8 points in 10 games? Should he have scored the goals instead of setting them up? Would you then be satisfied?

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#83 Gunner
September 26 2009, 12:49PM
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Chris wrote:

We will always have these little tiffs until you realize that there are other ways to contribute than just having your name appear on the scoresheet.

THAT is exactly Hemsky's job though.

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#84 Gunner
September 26 2009, 12:53PM
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@ Chris: And I'm not a "Hemsky apologist" as you put it, but I think when the team loses you don't just pin it on one player. Especially a player who is in fact putting up points.

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#85 cableguy
September 26 2009, 12:59PM
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The Menace wrote:

@ cableguy: who do you want him to be like? Iginla? Thornton? Vinny? He doesn’t get paid like those guys. Look at other playmakers that are a 4-4.5 mil cap hit, and he looks very good on those comparisons.

that is sort of the point i was trying to make

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#86 Jason Gregor
September 26 2009, 01:00PM
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Pinto wrote:

Sorry I am out of the loop a bit but when is Peckham back from his injury and what is injured anyways?

Peckham sprained his ankle a month ago and it still hasn't responded. He is skating, but he doesn't have enough strength or stability to engage in contact drills yet. No set time on when he will return, but he'll go straight to Springfield when he is cleared to engage in a real practice.

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#87 cableguy
September 26 2009, 01:03PM
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Chris wrote:

I ragged on most of the players down the stretch… It’s just that Hemsky apologists in particular always come out of the woodwork to defend him blindly even if he’s performing poorly. Just because he’s “our best player” shouldn’ty give him a free pass. When someone with his gifts, pure talent, and his icetime fails to make much of an impact for ten games in a row… it’s not “ridiculous” to be critical.

we could spin this around for days...

find offensive players not on their entry level deal that make the same as hemsky and are more productive.

oiler fan holds hemsky up to this "elite" status, he isnt there. elite players are the best, night in and night out, and are paid and recognized accordingly.

because he is the best the oilers have isnt really a reflection on him, more so a reflective on the organization

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#88 Chris
September 26 2009, 01:09PM
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@ Gunner:

It's a matter of execution vs opportunity. Hemsky probably saw six minutes a night on the powerplay... He's the centerpiece of PP #1 and gets credit for an assist many of those times Souray rifles one in from the point... Many players could have generated a similar point total given that many quality minutes. On the surface, looking at nearly a PPG production, it appears Hemsky was doing a great job... But a quick glance at the scoresheet does not always tell the true story.

Look. I'm not out of line in suggesting Hemmer crumbled down the stretch (along with about 15 other players)... Hemsky himself acknowloged it: if he can why can't you?

And as for goals vs assists: when you consider that for almost every goal scored two assists are awarded: it's clear that goals are worth more than assists by a factor of nearly two. As a fun exercise, when cross comparing the offensive numbers of star players try crediting a guy with two points for every goal to see how that affects the rankings. (after all it's the number of goals on the board that win games) This is why Ovechkin is the king, and I'm sad that we didn't land Heatley.

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#89 Chris
September 26 2009, 01:16PM
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Gunner wrote:

And I’m not a “Hemsky apologist” as you put it, but I think when the team loses you don’t just pin it on one player.

Whoa! I never tried to pin those losses on Hemsky... Hemsky didn't cost us wins, or ruin our chances... he just didn't play up to his usual high standard. (Not even close)He even said so.

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#90 whvjoeb
October 10 2009, 06:27AM
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