February 18 2011 07:49AM
This is Ales Hemsky. Despite clear and obvious skills, he is another player that leaves the fanbase divided. Some see him as an electric offensive talent, others see him as a turnover machine whose plodding decision making impacts every powerplay.
Oilers Nation has done this forever, by the way. I well remember Paul Coffey hearing the boobirds at Northlands in a game he was dominating against Chicago and Murray Bannerman. Slats had just gone public about money and contract, with the smooth skating offensive defenseman becoming public enemy number one on a team so talented observers were spoiled at puck drop.
People used to call Hemsky "no balls" (actually it was Kyle Woodlief from Redline report) but that bias is long gone and any fool can see #83 is fearless to the point of routinely putting himself in real danger. His list of injuries reflect that tendency to take on challenges that a lesser man would avoid at all costs.
The Oilers powerplay is addled, it's been that way since Hemsky arrived (with some exceptions). I tend to blame the coaching staff but do understand that we as fans point the finger at the most talented offensive players. I sometimes think that PP failure--along with the turnovers at the opposition blue--are the real reasons so many people are anti-Hemsky.
Hemsky's 5x5 numbers (equal strength) have always been a strength:
- 06-07 5x5 per 60m: 2.09
- 07-08 5x5 per 60m: 2.36
- 08-09 5x5 per 60m: 2.08
09-10 5x5 per 60m: 2.85
10-11 5x5 per 60m: 3.08
That number--the 10-11 number, ranks him 5th in the entire league. The chart is here. My thanks to Oiler Mag for pointing it out.
If Steve Tambellini does trade Hemsky, he needs to get exceptional value in return.