ALES HEMSKY: IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME

Robin Brownlee
December 11 2011 06:05PM

In the end, it doesn't matter who is to blame, what went wrong or why it went bad. When a relationship has passed the point of no return, it's not a matter of if it ends, but when. You can almost hear the tick, tick, tick of time winding down. I suspect the Edmonton Oilers and Ales Hemsky are nearing the start of that countdown.

Is there anybody who hasn't been there? At some point, the details and reasons why things go bad blend into each other. If you're spending a lot of time fighting about leaving the cap off the toothpaste and the toilet seat being left up, about spending too much money or not enough of it, chances are you've got a problem that is bigger than caps, crap or finance.

When you're done fighting about the details and trying to fix what's wrong and you come to that realization, the tick, tick, tick begins. It's then when you get down to the heart of the matter, "I'm just not happy." Then, the coldest consolation, "It's not you, it's me."

You can't argue that. It's done.

THE GUESSING GAME

Fans of the Oilers and media covering the team have been offering comment and speculating about Hemsky's "body language" and demeanor most of this season. He looks unhappy. He seems off. He doesn't seem engaged in games or with his teammates. Something isn't right. Mark Lee and Craig Simpson got into it more than once in Calgary Saturday.

Fact is, we don't have one solid bit of information from which to draw that conclusion. Hemsky, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, hasn't said anything on the record about being unhappy. All we have is what we see, and it seems unanimous – Hemsky looks miserable.

Could it be Hemsky is frustrated his surgically repaired shoulder isn't coming along as he hoped? Sure. Could it be his lousy start to the season? Absolutely. Might he be unhappy about being displaced as the go-to guy by Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle? Maybe.

Is Hemsky unhappy about diminishing ice time and looks on the power play, which resulted in him playing less than 16 minutes in Calgary? You think? After five straight years out of the playoffs, is Hemsky disheartened about a tailspin that's all but wiped out a promising 9-3-2 start to the season? Seems a reasonable possibility.

With Hemsky's injury problems and inability to stay in the line-up in recent seasons costing him more and more money as time goes by and free agency approaches, is he sour about how things have played out? Would you be? How about all the above? Is that possible?

IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING

Those of us toting notepads have picked away at Hemsky at various times over the past several seasons trying to figure out what he's thinking and why. This isn't the first time we've seen him look detached and distant.

In the past, he's talked about being unhappy about losing. Most people with a functioning brain stem get that. Losing beats you down. Yet, after enduring back-to-back 30th-place finishes, Hemsky didn't seem to get much of a kick out the promising start to this season. Maybe it was the shoulder . . .

In years gone by, Hemsky was frustrated by a lack of teammates who shared his offensive flair and creativity, who could complement his considerable skills. OK. Yet, with the addition of the dynamic Hall, the deft passing skills and vision of Nugent-Hopkins and the ability to finish of Eberle, is Hemsky now displeased about sharing the spotlight and ice time?

While Sam Gagner, who has never seen a playoff game as a member of the Oilers, has battled back from a frustrating start to the season (and injury), one in which he's played all three forward positions up and down the line-up, to find his game, has Hemsky shown the same willingness to prevail?

Does Hemsky look engaged in what's happening now and hell-bent on reclaiming, as opposed to being handed, top billing on the marquee as the kids come on and push him? Is he excited about how the future is shaping up for the Oilers or does the name on the back of his jersey mean more than the crest on the front of it?

Is this really about shoulders or slow starts or linemates or having enough talented teammates in the line-up? Or, is all of it starting to blend together, symptoms of a deeper discontent? Is there an underlying desire by Hemsky to be someplace else, to move on? Is it possible the Oilers, after addressing the toothpaste cap and the toilet seat and the rest of it all these years, feel the same way?

Tick, tick, tick . . .

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 12 2011, 12:08PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Then what was all that talk about him making demands for different treatment and a decade of 1st line assignments that apparently he wasn't worth... etc?

you changed your tune pretty quick there silver!

@melancholy

your link doesn't work too good... had to re-imput the numbers. Impressive stat though. 27th on the list... who needs that, right?

I also find it ironic that your name converges so well with the impression so many Hemsky detractors ascribe to him

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#102 TigerUnderGlass
December 12 2011, 12:16PM
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@dougtheslug

No one said Hemsky was a pos

Not in those words. Note how I said "as though" instead of quotations.

nor did anyone suggest we should ship him out based on his last 20 games

False.

We would dispute the assertion that Hemsky is a "pure point producer" based on his career stats

Which career stats are those? Please tell me how many players you believe are capable of putting up .90 points per game. That number suggests a pure point producer to me - which leads me to my assertion that that this entire thread is a joke considering the expectations some of you have.

And it was Brownlee musing that maybe Hemsky 's days are numbered. I'm an Oilers fan and it doesn't embarrass me to discuss the future of our players - isnt' that what this whole thing is about?

Did you even read my comment other than the part that hurt your feelings?

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#104 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 12 2011, 12:17PM
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@Kodiak

I broke the teams win/loss record down last year with Hemsky in and out of the lineup and we were a much more successful team with him out of the lineup. Same so far this year. If he is so good then how is this possible?

it is possible because you are content to employ one of humanity's favorite logical fallacies! This is a popular argument around here, it goes something like this:

"we were winning and Hemsky wasn't here; now he's here and we are losing... therefore he's 'poison' or 'isn't really that good'..."

here's a simple showcase of how faulty this reasoning is and how easily it can be applied to all manner of things:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/correlation-or-causation-12012011-gfx.html

and, regarding these comments:

he can't be relied upon to produce consistently.

he really isn't that good

I don't see how a player with a .92 PPG since the lockout can be said to not produce consistently or to be not very good... unless you think NHL points come easily??? This is a pretty hard league to score in. If you do it and at a close to elite level for a long period of time.... well what do you call that if not "consistent" and "very good"??

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#105 Clarko
December 12 2011, 12:35PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Toews is twice the player Hemsky is regardless of point production.

The ppg thing means nothing if he's only in the lineup half the time. Hemsky is just not a go to guy. He isn't there in the big games and he can't be relied upon to produce consistently. I broke the teams win/loss record down last year with Hemsky in and out of the lineup and we were a much more successful team with him out of the lineup. Same so far this year. If he is so good then how is this possible?

There is a reason we won't get much for Hemsky if we were to move him and it has nothing to do with his performance over the last 19 games. It's that he really isn't that good, regardless of his what his career ppg is.

My argument wasn't Hemsky is as good as Toews...obviously if you could trade Hemsky for Toews, any one of us would take that trade.

But your statement of "regardless of ppg, he really isn't that good". What on earth is that suppose to mean? So you're basically saying that, "as long as you ignore all those points he gets, he isn't much of a hockey player." Give me a break.

The fact is we live in a sports world where most of us just see highlights of other games. I would have never guessed that Toews has never been at a point per game for his entire career based on all the highlights and praise he gets in the media. The difference is that most of us see every single shift that Hemsky plays. We can all see the flaws in his game on a per shift basis.

But the fact is he averages more points per game since the lockout than guys like Rick Nash and Kopitar. You can't just dismiss that fact and say "he really isn't that good".

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#106 VK63
December 12 2011, 12:39PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I think you could also point out that he accumulated the points on a team offering zero skilled support to his cause.

But that would be obvious......... no?

~with apologies to fans of nedved and the guy who couldnt take a pass on his backhand~

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#107 Torcida
December 12 2011, 12:47PM
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I see alot of Don Cherry fans in Edmonton and Alberta. No matter what these so called fans will always dislike Europeans if they play good or bad. That is why I never liked Cherry, if a player is good doesn't matter if he is Canadian or European. You cheer for your team. He is struggling, now that the kids are showing themselves( which is great) get rid of Hemsky. One of few players who liked and wanted to stay in Edmonton. You won't find too many players that say that.

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#108 Sweetjibs
December 12 2011, 12:53PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Getting first line minutes here like he has for the last half decade, you're painting yourself in a corner there Clark.

Why the need to make all these excuses for him? He didn't make players around him better, he didn't take advantage of the golden opportunity he had here. He's the proverbial Tomas Kaberle of NHL forwards.

Ask Shawn Horcoff if Hemsky helped his game (bank account) at all.

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#109 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 12 2011, 12:59PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Toews is twice the player Hemsky is regardless of point production.

The ppg thing means nothing if he's only in the lineup half the time. Hemsky is just not a go to guy. He isn't there in the big games and he can't be relied upon to produce consistently. I broke the teams win/loss record down last year with Hemsky in and out of the lineup and we were a much more successful team with him out of the lineup. Same so far this year. If he is so good then how is this possible?

There is a reason we won't get much for Hemsky if we were to move him and it has nothing to do with his performance over the last 19 games. It's that he really isn't that good, regardless of his what his career ppg is.

We haven't had a "big game" in 5+ years.... when we did I remember pretty clearly that he showed up in spades.

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#110 Dodd
December 12 2011, 01:37PM
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Fact: We will only get a good return on Hemsky if he's playing well.

Fact: If he's playing well, most of us won't want to trade him.

And the beat goes on.....

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#111 Quicksilver ballet
December 12 2011, 01:38PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Then what was all that talk about him making demands for different treatment and a decade of 1st line assignments that apparently he wasn't worth... etc?

you changed your tune pretty quick there silver!

@melancholy

your link doesn't work too good... had to re-imput the numbers. Impressive stat though. 27th on the list... who needs that, right?

I also find it ironic that your name converges so well with the impression so many Hemsky detractors ascribe to him

6 of one, half a dozen of the other...same thing really.

Hemsky, Mr. my offensive skills need no further improvement speaks volumes about his overall attitude. How about showing some of his younger teammates a thing or two about the offensive game. He's certainly not likely to teach them anything about the defensive aspect of the game. If he's not improving any aspect of his game after practice, he certainly didn't appear to be helpful to many of his teammates on his own time. Just don't feel he has an ideal attitude for the younger players to look to for guidance.

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#112 Slats
December 12 2011, 01:39PM
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Torcida wrote:

I see alot of Don Cherry fans in Edmonton and Alberta. No matter what these so called fans will always dislike Europeans if they play good or bad. That is why I never liked Cherry, if a player is good doesn't matter if he is Canadian or European. You cheer for your team. He is struggling, now that the kids are showing themselves( which is great) get rid of Hemsky. One of few players who liked and wanted to stay in Edmonton. You won't find too many players that say that.

Ahhhhh when you go to Rexall next time take a look up high in the ceiling and you'll see #17 - last time I checked he was from Finland and a national hero over there and here. . .

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#113 Slats
December 12 2011, 01:48PM
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Everyone likes the dangle-drive the net-go to the hard places- .92pts/g -Hemsky but not everyone is a fan of this Transition-Hemsky.

It's funny that when Hall got injured everyone said "heh he's got to pick his spots" and "no more balls to the wall play" as he'll never last in this league. How come Hemsky doesn't get this same latitude.

Personally I think he's awesome and if we only get to see the former Hemsky say half a dozen times per night as he "preserves" himself for a longer career (or maybe the playoffs!) and plays the other shifts a +/- even I'd take that. In the meantime get him matched up with a defensively minded forward and a shoot the puck other fwd and let him find his way.

For those who want him gone - I can see Ales Hemsky as the classic re-furb project in Detroit and that would be painful to watch!

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#114 shanetrain
December 12 2011, 01:52PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

still drunk from the weekend?

Still eating your Cheerios in your Hemsky boxers?

With your Hemsky spoon.

Sitting on top of your Hemsky table mat?

While you stare at your Hemsky poster?

Seriously, I have never understood the love with Hemsky and I get enraged when people defend him.

We have our skill now .. its time to find the sandpaper.

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#115 Torcida
December 12 2011, 01:52PM
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Slats wrote:

Ahhhhh when you go to Rexall next time take a look up high in the ceiling and you'll see #17 - last time I checked he was from Finland and a national hero over there and here. . .

I never said all fans, I'm saying there is alot of fans who are like that. They do get treated differently and are easier targets.

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#116 Clarko
December 12 2011, 02:08PM
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shanetrain wrote:

Still eating your Cheerios in your Hemsky boxers?

With your Hemsky spoon.

Sitting on top of your Hemsky table mat?

While you stare at your Hemsky poster?

Seriously, I have never understood the love with Hemsky and I get enraged when people defend him.

We have our skill now .. its time to find the sandpaper.

Maybe because he has been our most talented forward for the last 8 seasons and has been our only reason to cheer for the past 5 years. Maybe because he has been up until now the only forward to come anywhere near a point per game pace on what has been one of the worst teams in the league over the past few seasons.

I don't understand fans who think RNH, Hall, and Eberle is all we need as far as offense goes to be a real contender. Do you really want to have one line of scorers and 3 lines of sandpaper?

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#117 Captain Obvious
December 12 2011, 02:24PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Who in the media is trying to run Hemsky out of town?

Self-reinforcing slanders? Explain what that means. Media people from a wide variety of outlets are going to make stuff up about a player like Hemsky for, what, the hell of it? To create conflict?

Something is wrong here. You cannot see a problem? It might be something as simple like frustration or lack of confidence about the shoulder. It could be something more. We don't know. There is nothing wrong with posing the questions based on what we've seen just because those questions and observations run counter to your opinion. My guess is that if Hemsky was to come out and ask for a trade a month from now, you'd be one of the first guys to ask why the media didn't see this coming and criticize people who cover the team for not doing their jobs. You're that guy, aren't you?

On the radio, in the newspaper, here, every single mainstream media guy has been spreading a variation of the same thing. Now you may think that you have all independently come to the same conclusion because this is what is happening.

A more plausible explanation is that this can be explained by group psychology and classic bullying behaviour. An idea takes hold in a group that provides a plausible explanation for the some social problem that conveniently targets an already marginalized person that doesn't have anyone to speak for him/them. This happens in sports all the time because the media that cover sports are composed of men that are not very smart and not very courageous and hence easily swayed by groupthink, mob mentality, and bullying.

It is plain as day that Hemsky is being judged by a different standard than other players for reasons that have nothing to do with him. Why don't you write about that?

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#118 shanetrain
December 12 2011, 02:26PM
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@Clarko

No doubt that Hemmer is ultra talented with the puck and his offensive skills are elite-like.

However, he is now damaged goods. He was the one bright lights in the last few years. No doubt. Those days are now over. You can't tell me that every time he goes into the corners now, you kinda cringe, and hope he doesn't end up on the ice writhing in pain!? That is where Hemsky is at now. It's inevitable.

This is a business. I wish they would have traded him when he would have legitimately got us a top player/pick coming back.

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#119 stevezie
December 12 2011, 03:27PM
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@shanetrain

You're completely wrong. No matter how good a player is, you don't want band-aids like Hemsky, Gaborik, or Connolly to be your best player, because you can't depend on them. It only makes sense for them to go to teams that could really use their skills (everyone), but have the depth to survive stretches of injury/recovery. Right?

You know I just described? The Edmonton Oilers! The emergence of the kids means we can afford to pay Hemsky to give us 50-60 games of 0.9 ppg hockey. This teams needs scoring beyond the big three, and Hemsky should have a reasonable price tag.

Obviously he hasn't been what he needs to be consistently so far this season, but ignoring the last five years- how could you be so obtuse? History suggests that good Hemsky is the real Hemsky.
If he wants out that changes things, but if you don't understand why some fans see value in a reliable offensive threat whose game is designed to shred weaker defenceman then my compliments on the avatar.

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#120 stevezie
December 12 2011, 03:30PM
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I'll add that I'd love some more sandpaper in the top nine, and if the right trade offer comes along than no one is untouchable. Just remember that good teams get that away by accumulating talent, not by trading it. Consider Hossa's value to a team that already had Toews, Kane, and Sharp.

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#121 5 Cups
December 12 2011, 03:57PM
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shanetrain wrote:

Still eating your Cheerios in your Hemsky boxers?

With your Hemsky spoon.

Sitting on top of your Hemsky table mat?

While you stare at your Hemsky poster?

Seriously, I have never understood the love with Hemsky and I get enraged when people defend him.

We have our skill now .. its time to find the sandpaper.

Can I still wear my Hemsky t-shirt? It fits nice and its got that "been worn for a few years" look to it. I dont want to have to work in another shirt.

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#123 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 12 2011, 04:13PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

On the radio, in the newspaper, here, every single mainstream media guy has been spreading a variation of the same thing. Now you may think that you have all independently come to the same conclusion because this is what is happening.

A more plausible explanation is that this can be explained by group psychology and classic bullying behaviour. An idea takes hold in a group that provides a plausible explanation for the some social problem that conveniently targets an already marginalized person that doesn't have anyone to speak for him/them. This happens in sports all the time because the media that cover sports are composed of men that are not very smart and not very courageous and hence easily swayed by groupthink, mob mentality, and bullying.

It is plain as day that Hemsky is being judged by a different standard than other players for reasons that have nothing to do with him. Why don't you write about that?

I think you've got a legit point about group think. A lot of the press I've been reading over the last two weeks about Hemsky has indeed hammered home a single narrative about the guy looking uninspired at times (frustrated, tentative).

I think that in isolation this is for the most part fair comment by the press. Hemsky has looked sub-par 19 games in and trying root out the cause by questioning or guess work is the press' job.

And, Brownlee's piece is a good example of trying to remind the knuckleheads that we don't have a lot to go on and most of this is guess work. I think that's fairly responsible.

In the aggregate, however, it looks sloppy. I don't think it's a matter of bullying but rather buying into a narrative and running with shady inferences without checking all the facts or simply trying to answer the question at hand.

The Republican pre-primary lazy susan of candidates and how the press pegs their success daily down south is an analogy that has crossed my mind more than once. X is Up; X is down; Y is Up; Y is down; etc.... like a military column the press speaks with one voice about who will be anointed and who is down and out - and yet these apparently solid convictions fly out the window within days!

where's the press scrutiny of the instant and ubiquitous narratives that unfold and then collapse with relative ease? well... it's hard to scrutinize a narrative you bought hook, line and sinker.

The tipping point for me came with the Spec Report on Gregor's show the other day:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/the-jason-gregor-show/highlight_reel/clips/Spec_Report_-_Dec_9.mp3

here's a couple of excerpts:

(talking about Ales being first off the ice at practice)

"he does not hang around the dressing room. I mean, I can count the number of interviews I've had with Ales Hemsky.. whoo boy.. since that 2006 cup run... i can count those interviews on... certainly on two hands if not one... how about you, when's the last time you had a good long chat with him?"

Gregor: "oh I've had good long chats with him..."

Spec: "haha... when was that?!"

(My take away from that... what are you really concerned about here Spec? that he doesn't hang around the dressing room with his teammates or with YOU? Funny that Spec makes the lack of interview access to Hemsky a primary piece of his criticism of his ON-ICE PLAY!!!)

And:

"Hockey... the whole process has always been laborious for Ales, you know he doesn't really like doing interviews at all..."

(That was first on Spec's list of things Hemsky finds laborious about hockey... I imagine Hemsky is not alone! but saying he finds talking to the media laborious and playing actual hockey laborious are totally different things.)

Hemsky's not gregarious. you won't hear a great joke or story from him. he won't be your best friend. He won't become a sloppy mess at a bar and make great copy. I think the press wants to cover more of this:

http://bustedcoverage.com/2011/06/21/more-tyler-seguin-shirtless-drunken-dancing-a-new-tattoo-photos/

And I suspect that if Hemsky did more interviews, told more jokes and was affable with the press this current sh!t-storm would be isolated to a few blog posts noting how that super-cool fun-guy's numbers are marginally down after coming off massive surgery and not playing the better part of two seasons and that he seems frustrated because of it.

All that said... I don't find the press "not very smart" or "bullying"... there are legitimate questions to be asked, but the aggregate itself raises a legitimate question about the proportion of freakout, reasonable expectations and falling prey to group think and narratives.

(sorry for the obscenely long post... Hemsky Haters get my ire up something fierce)

[edit] c'mon Brownlee... I write this whole damn thing only to find you've come along and beat me to it with two sentences... crap.

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#124 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 12 2011, 04:27PM
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shanetrain wrote:

Still eating your Cheerios in your Hemsky boxers?

With your Hemsky spoon.

Sitting on top of your Hemsky table mat?

While you stare at your Hemsky poster?

Seriously, I have never understood the love with Hemsky and I get enraged when people defend him.

We have our skill now .. its time to find the sandpaper.

i never said i loved hemsky, nor did i defend him.

my comment was directed to your "hemsky for penner" proposal.

Now, you suggest finding sandpaper.. yet tossed out hemsky for penner...

i am all for moving hemsky. But, for penner? really? really?

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#125 shanetrain
December 12 2011, 04:41PM
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@stevezie

obtuse?

I did agree Hemsky has been our lone offensive bright light in the last handfull of years.

Are you seriously comparing Hossa to Hemsky? Or even more ridiculous, the Blackhawks to the Oilers?!

Reliable offensive threat?

Really?

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#126 shanetrain
December 12 2011, 04:45PM
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@cableguy

The Penner for Hemsky was just in jest. Although, I would do that trade. Penner stuck up for his guys here and certainly didn't get pushed around.

At the end of the day I just want a team that can demolish the fLAMES both on the scoreboard and in the physical department.

Thats all.

I f@$^ing hate the fLAMES

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#127 Dog Train
December 12 2011, 05:19PM
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I don't have the answer to what exactly is troubling Hemmer but sometimes, a change of scenery is best for everyone. Hemsky is somewhat of an enigma. He was our best player for years yet it was rare to see him do an interview. He always seemed so disconnected and it doesn't seem like he wants to be a leader on this team. I don't see him in Edmonton beyond this season. I just hope that he can regain his form enough to convince another team to give up a solid return for him.

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#128 Jimmer
December 12 2011, 05:20PM
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Hemsky is now second line material on this team. Draft pick at the trade deadline will be his fate.

Sad but true.

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#129 stevezie
December 12 2011, 05:33PM
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Hossa's better than Hemsky, but over the last four seasons they've scored at an almost identical clip (Hossa is 0.91 ppg). Yes, I would call both these guys a reliable offensive threat.

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#131 Oilerbill
December 12 2011, 06:16PM
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Robin do think it is time for Hemsky and the Oilers to part ways?

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#133 Captain Obvious
December 12 2011, 06:43PM
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That was good stuff Robin. Some excellent reporting. In the meantime if you don't like my style, why don't you respond to Romulus who has observed the exact same thing as me?

Beyond that, do you not believe that there are instances in which the media in some towns in some sports have collectively got together (not through conspiracy but by acting like a mob) to unjustly run players out of town. Regardless of the specifics of this case you must admit that it happens, and happens frequently.

I mean if you can't recognize that this kind of thing happens all the time, I just don't know what to say.

If you do recognize that it happens all the time, I'd like to hear an argument that it isn't happening in this case. The bandwagon has started and everyone is jumping on. I'd like to see someone in the media standup and call a spade a spade. The only likely person I can think of is lowetide. But he isn't really media and he doesn't say what he really think when he's writing over here.

So that leaves you. Time to man up and be fair.

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#134 oilerman53
December 12 2011, 06:57PM
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Hemsky is fast becoming the goat here in Edmonton, his on ice play leaves a lot to be desired. Before his injury he was starting some nice chemistry with Hall, before we break out the torches and pitchforks I see management give him a solid ten to fifteen games playing alongside the Kamikaze.

You would think that after so many years of being numero uno only offensive threat. He would be slobbering pools at playing with such raw skill and talent. Such has not been the case and it is baffling. Hemsky will take these next few Weeks of being Halls set up man and I think the plan is to see where that takes his game. I wouldn't mind if they also keep him from playing with Horc Stonehands. Hemsky is on the clock now, if he wants an extension he's gotta stop pouting and start producing.

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#135 jake
December 12 2011, 07:38PM
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I would suggest asking the young guys on the club about their thoughts on the veterans and how they impact them in terms of being a pro in the NHL. Would be very interested which comments are made about which veterans.

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#136 Mitch
December 12 2011, 07:40PM
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Robin I think Hemsky is a gonner don't know when, probably for nothing more than a draft pick and not a 1st rounder. I don't think that he is engaged as much as he would like to be a few times on t.v I have noticed him grabbing his shoulder and wincing, I feel his body is beat up and in bad shape. It's been mentioned by others and maybe even you I can't remember, that Hemsky don't have the best work ethic in practice or work on his game after practice. The Oilers are gonna have cap issuses down the road Hemsky or Gagner not a Gagner fan, but I have to pick Gagner, something tells me something ain't right with Ales.

One other thing Robin I think that test on injured players that Renney does is a complete joke. Ryan Whitney is starting to skate a little better in terms of mobility. Hockey is not about skating in straight lines. Whitney wasn't ready and thats why he injured his knee. So how bad are those shoulders of Hemsky's in the real world?

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#138 Wanyes bastard child
December 12 2011, 08:07PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Thank you.

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#139 melancholyculkin
December 12 2011, 08:12PM
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@Robin Brownlee

"People with access to the team do "ask why" repeatedly. If, as a reporter, you get nothing but spin and excuses in response, that's what you've got to work with. If you are a senior guy who gets to write opinion pieces, you go that route and have your say. If not, you can pass it along to a columnist and he can take a run at things.

We might think this move or that player situation is as big a pile of BS as a fan does, but members of the MSM don't have the luxury of jumping up and down indignantly and proclaiming Tambellini a moron or pick your insult. You can't, as a professional covering the team, just rant with as much edge as a fan or a blogger with no skin in the game - like a job predicated on being relatively objective and balanced, for example -- can. Nor should we."

Those are fair points. I'm sure you'd love to get Lowe or Tambo or Katz to sit down with you for an hour, but if they're not willing to do so there's not a whole lot to be done.

I'm not expecting a passion filled rant, but - for example - when Lowe moved upstairs and Tambellini got hired I don't recall anyone really asking who Tambellini was, what qualifications he has to be in charge of a multimillion dollar business, why Lowe still has an influential position with the team...etc.

Since 2006 the finger's been pointed at players, players wives, the city, coaches - but never at the guys in charge.

Even Oil Change, which is billed as some sort of inside look at the inner workings of the organization, has a lot of spin doctoring.

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#141 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 12 2011, 09:12PM
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@Captain Obvious

Romulus who has observed the exact same thing as me

well... at best I met you half way. The essence of my overlong comment was this:

I don't find the press "not very smart" or "bullying"... there are legitimate questions to be asked [i.e., about Hemsky], but the aggregate [of press coverage] itself raises a legitimate question about the proportion of freakout, reasonable expectations and falling prey to group think and narratives.

Some commenters on here really get my dander up ripping on Hemsky... but I try to respond respectfully and with the best arguments I can muster. You seem to take a scorched earth policy to those you disagree with... it's just not a pleasant way to argue nor is it very fun because you've ruled out the possibility of an outcome otherwise than the one you expect (i.e., that you're right all the time).

ps. Brownlee prefers to let kooks like me talk myself to sleep at night.

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#142 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 12 2011, 09:30PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I think you're being a bit selective in suggesting there's been no criticism of Tambellini and Lowe. There has been. Again, maybe not with the pitch and tone you'd like, but it's been done.

As for me, I don't get to take a run at Lowe or Tambellini in the MSM because my print gigs since 2007 have stricly been "straight reporting" for CP and NHL.com. No columns or opinion pieces. I only get to do that here and with Jason G on his show. I've been critical of both of them.

As for the the rest of the people working the beats/TV in the MSM, I can't speak for them, but I've read and heard criticism of decisions made by Lowe and Tambellini many times.

reporters around the team every day have to be more selective in the questions they ask and the reporting they do. this isnt earth shattering or surprising.

reporter A rips manager/player. manager/player refuses to talk to reporter anymore. reporter no longer gets access, and renders himself/herself useless. reporter A is replaced with new reporter.

now, nobody is saying all the reporters have to hold hands and toss out the token gene principe intermission softballs all the time, far from it. but for people to expect hard hitting articles ripping players and management is probably wishful thinking...

would a person, like captain obvious, walk up to his/her boss and deliver an article they just wrote ripping the company? highly doubtful.

people are more than welcome to start up their own blog if they arent satisfied with the reporting they see. At least then, i can avoid their blog and not have to deal with their bullsh.....

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#143 Dubai Guy
December 13 2011, 03:54AM
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Robin,

Seriously, this is one of the best articles you have written on ON. Well done!

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#144 Zamboni Driver
December 13 2011, 08:47AM
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My favourite of the blind faithers...

especially those with bizarre obsessions with 18 year old boys, even in their interweb names...

Sanctimony.

The rest of us dullards couldn't possibly understand the greatness of Ales Hemsky.

The Assistant Captain of the Edmonton Oilers.

Who finished last.

Twice.

Dear geniuses who love math, in the entire history of Hemsky - list the playoff year appearances - place that in the numerator. Psst. It's three.

In your denominator, place number of years he has played for the Oilers. Psst. It's eight plus this year, and don't hold your breath.

Contrast that to the number of times the Oilers finished last under his 'leadership'. See above for the answer.

THIS

is why some people are starting to get just a tad tired of excuses.

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#145 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 13 2011, 09:04AM
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~I'm so tired of excuses for Hall and Eberle. The one year they played for the Oil they finished last. Don't you get it people? Your complicated math won't save them... all that looking at point totals and all... who can trust numbers? And they use the internet with funny tweet names all the time... lame!~

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#146 bdiddy18
December 13 2011, 09:41AM
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@Robin Brownlee

WOW - If anything those who have taken shots at reporters in this piece should at the very least be content that the "reporter" is actually responding to the beak. impressive.

In fact enjoying that most from this blog site, Gregor's show and the Team 1260 for that matter spend the time to do that. Coming from the Vancouver market consider this a luxury oilersnation members, be happy they give you the time of day.

My two cents - Media is hired by their conglomerates to COVER the team. FANS have at their disposal to CRITIQUE the team as much as they want. However in no way does Cover = Critique

it may from time to time but it is not in the job description to have a daily rant of the team. that is why there is radio talk shows, to discuss/debate and let the fans in on the discussion.

and for all the bloggers out there, this is much like politics, how often have you seen those people when they are on the outside looking in and slamming the establishment and demand for change THEN THEY GET THE JOB and they realize crap - I can't do what I said I would and you find a moderation of the same establishment they so OPPOSED.

its easy to throw darts when you have nothing invested in the outcome!

case in point from another market - my buddy was the founder of "Canucks hockey Blog"... at the beginning it was a mix mas of RANT and Rave, the site started to get popular...its started to get some credibility, and along with that the added pressure to be RESPONSIBLE with the coverage. He quickly realized in order to maintain the credibility he was gaining there had to be a logical flow to his opinion pieces and with added filters to not incite, allege, or depict information out of pure hearsay, or just because "that is what I feel about the guy" he still does some of it...just not on his site, he does at home with his friends like a FAN would do.

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#147 Mike Modano's Dog
December 13 2011, 01:04PM
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EXCELLENT story, Robin!

I would just like to share my opinion on your piece. I do believe that Hemsky should be traded - and have felt that way for a long time.

The question I have is: do you think that through this trade we could get a Zach Bogosian type of defenceman? A potential top-2 d-man and at a minimum, but counted on to be a top-4 at least?

As well, IF we were to pick up a serious power forward that could play up on the top 2 lines regularly who would you target and who do you believe might be had if offered a fair deal? I would want someone in the right age group to grow with our young guys.

What say you?

Edit: I should say that this isn't just meant for Robin, but for anyone who would like to comment on it, too.

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#148 madjam
December 13 2011, 02:17PM
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Hemsky in final year of contract and we expected him to have a banner year and lead the team and it's youth . I'm sure Hemmer wanted that as well , but got stuck with Horc and Smyth . Not that that was bad , but i would have thought he thought he was going to lead the youth , rather than Hopkins . I think he is confused right now just where he fits into our club and whether he wants to remain in a secondary roll maybe going into the future .

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#149 roger
December 13 2011, 02:27PM
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hemsky is only 28 i think a little patience is in order.

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#150 roger
December 13 2011, 02:27PM
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hemsky is only 28 i think a little patience is in order.

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