HOW BAD IS IT?

Lowetide
February 05 2012 12:37PM

Ales Hemsky's 11-12 season has been poor compared to his own past. The skilled Czech winger is playing a lesser role on a team that finally offers players of his skill level and beyond. Hemsky is in trade rumors daily, but from what we hear NHL teams are more interested in Ryan Smyth, Sam Gagner and others. How far has Ales Hemsky fallen?

Ales Hemsky is still a young player by any reasonable standard and could be part of Edmonton's on ice future. The Oilers management group may have other ideas; there may be pressure to deal him because other contracts will take up so much cap space that even a good Hemsky deal would put the team too close to the 2015, 2016 and 2017 caps.

At 28 years old, Hemsky has played in 500 regular season games and had a strong post-season in his second trip to the playoffs. At almost any other point in his career, news that 83 was on the trade block would be met with a lot of strong offers. It appears as though there is interest but a bidding war is a distant bell.

HOW FAR IS HE OFF THE PACE?

On the powerplay this season, Hemsky is delivering as always but is playing less. This is predictable, since the Oilers have added so many splendid offensive talents via the draft since 2008. Hemsky is a very good PP option, but you'd have a hard time arguing he is the key to the success of the 5x4 this season.

The difficulty for Hemsky comes at even strength. The club is still giving him over 14 minutes a night at evens, but his offensive output is about half what we would come to expect based on past seasons. He has been injured and is facing the tough opposition, but those things have been true in past seasons and 83 delivered miles beyond current rates.

WHAT'S THE TROUBLE, BUB?

Hemsky has played at various times with kids Hall and RNH, but for a lot of this season he (along with Horcoff, Smyth and Jones) has been asked to face tough opposition. Although the offensive results aren't there, his CorsiREL is solid:

CorsiRel gives us the individual player's Corsi number relative to his team when he isn't on the ice. The puck is heading in the right direction very often when Taylor Hall is on the ice, not so much when our friend Lennart Petrell is out there at even strength. This graph is courtesy behind the net, the source for advanced stats.

So, Hemsky's 5x5 scoring rates are way down, but his CorsiRel is fine. What the hell? Making things even more difficult, the opponent save percentage when he's on the ice isn't outside the ordinary.

All systems go, puck in the right direction and an established, skilled veteran a big part of it? That's a very good arrow for an NHL team. Or it should be.

WHAT'S THE CONCLUSION?

I don't have an easy answer for Hemsky's low scoring rates at even strength. He is coming back from injury, but things like CorsiRel suggest the puck is moving in the right direction. We know he is playing tough opponents, and we know that his center forever (Shawn Horcoff) isn't exactly an offensive monster. Still, as mentioned, he's done great things in the same circumstances in the past.

I'm left with recovering from injury, poor luck and perhaps a loss of confidence in the scoring zones as explanations.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

These are the quality of competition numbers through 50 games:

The kids are moving up the list--a note here to mention that Hall is just a beast, an absolute beast--with increasing toughness of opposition and still delivering an out of this world CorsiRel. Crazy. If Hemsky were signed for another couple of seasons, I'd be tempted to suggest they run a Smyth-Hemsky duo against the soft parade for a few games to get the group going. Smyth and Hemsky did post some offense last night so maybe it's a case of hitting line drives for a week before they start finding holes in the defense. Hemsky has been more productive over the last several games and perhaps his even strength number will improve to his established levels.

Bottom line: Ales Hemsky is a very good bet for any NHL team moving forward. The current slump is going to cost him money and probably means less return for the Edmonton Oilers at the deadline, but once in his new town I'd expect plenty of offense from 83.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 RossCreekNation
February 05 2012, 03:54PM
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Guys with NTC get traded ALL the time. All it does it let them have some say in where they go. A modified NTC allows the player to pick 'x' amount of teams he will or won't go to. If he gives you a list of 10 teams that are ok, then you don't need him to waive his NTC for those teams.

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#52 admiralmark
February 05 2012, 03:58PM
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michael wrote:

NO trade clause for Hemsky. I think not. Thank you but come again. How may teams have hamstrung themselves with NT clauses and have born the brunt of those contracts when the players performance goes south. Sure things can be done. Danny Heatly got traded to SJ. Then they shipped his contract to Minny as soon as they saw him for what he what he was and as soon as his contract allowed. Alex Hemsky has not earned a NT clause in my opinion. Those you keep for players whom you think are franchise players. Taylor Hall,RNH and Eberle. At one time perhaps Hemsky deserved that tag.Now he is a secondary player coming back from 2 major shoulder operations. It would be unwise to invest a NT clause on a player with that kind of history behind him.Don't you think?

Yes I do think! And I really really hope Oiler Management feels the same way. I will be sick if they sign him to anything over 4 mill and/or more then 2 years... And it better be with no NMC. Why? Because i guarantee he will get lined up again just like Kronwall did only the next time itll be shoulder to shoulder putting him out for 6 months. Enough is enough.

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#53 DieHard
February 05 2012, 04:00PM
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I think everybody in Calgary has a NTC but are totally willing to waive it to get out.

Anyway. Playoffs are in sight can't you see. We need to buy a few players by the 27th.

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#54 GregZ
February 05 2012, 04:14PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Guys with NTC get traded ALL the time. All it does it let them have some say in where they go. A modified NTC allows the player to pick 'x' amount of teams he will or won't go to. If he gives you a list of 10 teams that are ok, then you don't need him to waive his NTC for those teams.

That's absolutely a valid point. I guess the whole NTC thing makes me jumpy, along with contracts given to players who are around the age of 28-30. Reading the "Scoring by Age" piece by Dan Tolensky a few years ago really changed my views about what players should expect to get paid as they age, and performance naturally begins to decline. I guess I'm inclined to take a fairly Darwinistic point of view about players like Hemsky. I'd sure like to see him light it up again, and better if it was for the Oilers, but I'm not sure it's going to happen.

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#55 Wanyes bastard child
February 05 2012, 04:15PM
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This is a question for Jason.

Rom and I discussed it in the GDB but didn't you have an interview with Renney, or post an interview where he was asked about Hemsky leaving practice early?

As I recall Tom said something along the lines of it having him go for physio or something like that, just not sure where to look for the post.

Also for those saying he is not a leader, I guess your armchair GM/coach status is better then an actual NHL GM/coach since Hemsky wears an A on his chest. Don't think he'd be wearing it if they didn't think he showed some leadership in the room eh ;)

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#56 Walter Sobchak
February 05 2012, 04:21PM
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I don't know here fellas, my personal take on the matter is Hemsky has to play a lot for him to be effective and that aint happening anymore.

You have to weigh a lot of factors in this case, and right now he has to be considered injury pron and a liability in the future.

I'm not sure what options the Oilers have if he doesn't sign before the deadline anyways? If I'm Hemsky I want UFA. So the Oilers should be looking to move Hemsky for the best 1st rounder they can get.

If the Oilers want to revisit signing him in the summer so be it, until then the Oilers hands are tied.

Also; same,same for Smyth.

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#57 michael
February 05 2012, 04:37PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Guys with NTC get traded ALL the time. All it does it let them have some say in where they go. A modified NTC allows the player to pick 'x' amount of teams he will or won't go to. If he gives you a list of 10 teams that are ok, then you don't need him to waive his NTC for those teams.

Your correct in saying that players with NTC get traded. But you answered my next question alraedy with your comment about how it happens. Player A picks 10 teams he wants to go to. Seems to me that just adds to what I say when I state that NTC hamstring GM's. It really reduces the value you can get for a player on the open market when the market is only 1/3 the size. The other GM's Know the situation and it becomes a matter of choosing between the best f the least offers available. I am not a fan of the NTC at all. Scott Gomez has one. he waived it to go to Montreal. Now look at the mess the Habs have reaped. A player who can't play and can't score. With a massive cap hit. Do you think he would be willing to go to to a team at the bottom of the cap? I would think that Scott Gomez is just happy as cake to play in Montreal,do nothing and get paid 7.5 million and have his NTC to keep him from ever having to move.

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#58 Clyde Frog
February 05 2012, 07:14PM
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I think whats been lost in all this discussion is the god damn beauty we have in Jordan Eberle.

Right now he is tied with Daniel Sedin at 52 points having played 3 less games than him... That means he is tied for 10th in league scoring, well past the halfway point!!!

When was the last time we had a kid fighting for pole position in scoring?

Where is all the Eberle love, SQUEES and girls looking to propose?!?

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#59 DieHard
February 05 2012, 08:32PM
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HEY Game Over

PLayoffs

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#60 Cowbell_Feva
February 05 2012, 08:47PM
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This isn't rocket science. You hit the nail on the head. He's been playing with Horcoff forever. That would makes Gretzky's corsi,plus/ minus and record book a lot thinner than it is.

Put Hemmer out there with Smyth & Lander in the middle. Put Horcoff on the 4th line. Get him the F*#k off the PP. Let him get LESS icetime than the kids-maybe his time out there will be more fruitful (although I for one would not hold my breath.)

Regardless, I personally think Hemsky wants to test free agency and we'll only get a 2nd rounder for him given his output. Having to play with Horc's for that long, I can't blame him!!

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#61 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 05 2012, 09:20PM
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Cowbell_Feva wrote:

This isn't rocket science. You hit the nail on the head. He's been playing with Horcoff forever. That would makes Gretzky's corsi,plus/ minus and record book a lot thinner than it is.

Put Hemmer out there with Smyth & Lander in the middle. Put Horcoff on the 4th line. Get him the F*#k off the PP. Let him get LESS icetime than the kids-maybe his time out there will be more fruitful (although I for one would not hold my breath.)

Regardless, I personally think Hemsky wants to test free agency and we'll only get a 2nd rounder for him given his output. Having to play with Horc's for that long, I can't blame him!!

It's funny that you think a guy with 60 points over the last FIVE SEASONS COMBINED is a better fit for offensive production.

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#62 Time Travelling Sean
February 05 2012, 09:49PM
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Imo NTC= pay cut.

Hemmer is having a confidence crisis, maybe no defined role on this team moving forward, maybe he is feeling the pressure to produce and it isn't happening.

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#63 Oiler AL
February 05 2012, 09:51PM
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Hemsky is a lost asset right now. The only trade you might get is a second rounder [ if your lucky] HE is a UFA, and can control where he can play beyond the Oilers. Teams in the hunt for play- off run want two way players , which Hemsky is not, so they are not about give you much in a trade for an iffy rental. His value seems high only in Edmonton. The " dangle" party is over.. He's not a goal scorer and now he wont pass, so he's not a real playmaker. He dosent backcheck that well and his fight on the boards is not that great. The play dies with him very often.

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#64 GregZ
February 05 2012, 10:02PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

This is a question for Jason.

Rom and I discussed it in the GDB but didn't you have an interview with Renney, or post an interview where he was asked about Hemsky leaving practice early?

As I recall Tom said something along the lines of it having him go for physio or something like that, just not sure where to look for the post.

Also for those saying he is not a leader, I guess your armchair GM/coach status is better then an actual NHL GM/coach since Hemsky wears an A on his chest. Don't think he'd be wearing it if they didn't think he showed some leadership in the room eh ;)

I'll address the bottom paragraph here, because I did say that I don't see Hemsky as a leader on this hockey team.

Armchair GM/coach??? You bet your boots I am, same as you, same as everybody else that posts here. Last time I checked, each team in the NHL has one of each, and every one of them does things the way they see fit. Why does Tom Renney choose to have Hemsky as an assistant captain? That's Tom's business, his right and perogative as coach. The fanbase of the team has opinions about how he runs the team, be they right, wrong or indifferent. I don't know exactly what type of leadership Hemsky shows in the room, and I suspect that not many outside that room, quite possibly including yourself, does either.

The most influential piece, IMO, that I've read that talks about Ales Hemsky's leadership ability is a column that Jim Matheson wrote on Dec 28. Matty couldn't have laid things out any clearer than that, and I've read or heard nothing from the other reporters that cover the Oilers professionally on a daily basis that counteracts what he had to say that day.

I may be an armchair GM/coach, but I do pay close attention to what a reporter elected to the HOF has to say, and especially how he chooses to say it. Matheson could possibly be wrong here, he is expressing his opinion, but I'm about 99 44/100% certain that he knows WAY more about what goes on behind the scenes with the Oilers than you and I do put together.

Just sayin' ;)

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#65 Hags9k
February 05 2012, 10:19PM
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"I'm left with recovering from injury, poor luck and perhaps a loss of confidence in the scoring zones as explanations."

And also he's in a UFA year, gets asked and rumoured about trades every day and doesn't know where he will be living in a month...

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#66 Wanyes bastard child
February 05 2012, 10:25PM
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@GregZ

Link to Matheson's post if you please?

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#67 GregZ
February 05 2012, 10:32PM
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@Wanyes bastard child

Sure thing. Not certain how to bring the hyperlink over, but here's the address.

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/12/28/hemsky-is-doing-himself-no-favours/

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#68 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 05 2012, 11:01PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

This is a question for Jason.

Rom and I discussed it in the GDB but didn't you have an interview with Renney, or post an interview where he was asked about Hemsky leaving practice early?

As I recall Tom said something along the lines of it having him go for physio or something like that, just not sure where to look for the post.

Also for those saying he is not a leader, I guess your armchair GM/coach status is better then an actual NHL GM/coach since Hemsky wears an A on his chest. Don't think he'd be wearing it if they didn't think he showed some leadership in the room eh ;)

Finally found the clip... that took too long...

http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console

Dec. 19th Renney vs Detroit Pre-Game Presser

Gregor asks about the vets and then asks about Hemsky not palling around with the guys after practice and Renney says:

"well he's also got a body that suggests... you know... he needs help... I'm not going to sit here and tell you what he goes in and treats but he gets off the ice so he can be prepared tonight... he goes right straight to the medical room and I think you all know why... i mean at the end of the day he's all in that's the main thing."

As I recall Brownlee pointed out after this talk that notwithstanding the extra physio or whatever Hemsky gets this year he has in past years had a habit of leaving practice when it ends (ie. NOT EARLY I don't know where that comes from... but not staying after either).

Basically it seems like Hemsky not sticking around after practice combined with getting treated after practice morphed into some narrative about him being lazy, not very fun and not a team player.

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#69 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 05 2012, 11:11PM
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GregZ wrote:

Sure thing. Not certain how to bring the hyperlink over, but here's the address.

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/12/28/hemsky-is-doing-himself-no-favours/

the chain of events surrounding this post are not without massive criticism. expand your reading list:

http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/12/29/2667527/ales-hemsky-ryan-whitney-and-preferential-media-treatment

http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/12/28/2638785/ryan-whitneys-injury-and-the-edmonton-media

http://www.jeanshortsandbaggedmilk.com/2011/12/to-my-bff-ales-hemsky.html

someone was being a d!nk... the jury's out as to whether it was Hemsky.

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#70 Wanyes bastard child
February 05 2012, 11:20PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Thank you and thank you!

Much better than I could have said it myself :)

Also, SIGN HEMSKY FU%K!

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#71 knobby
February 05 2012, 11:55PM
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Hemsky too Expensky.

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#72 GregZ
February 06 2012, 12:36AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

the chain of events surrounding this post are not without massive criticism. expand your reading list:

http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/12/29/2667527/ales-hemsky-ryan-whitney-and-preferential-media-treatment

http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/12/28/2638785/ryan-whitneys-injury-and-the-edmonton-media

http://www.jeanshortsandbaggedmilk.com/2011/12/to-my-bff-ales-hemsky.html

someone was being a d!nk... the jury's out as to whether it was Hemsky.

I read all those articles at the time they were written. I form an opinion based on information I get from bloggers, print media, radio and TV, in no particular order, and each form of media has strengths and weaknesses in its reporting, according to the circumstances under which that reporting is done.

I respect Derek's point of view, he stated his case in a very articulate manner. I believe that he's passionate about the team, and I have agreed with many things he's written, but with respect, I don't agree with the conclusions he came to here. It seems apparent that you do, so we're going to have to agree to disagree. Such is life.

I will make one last point though. It's perfectly fine to disagree with someone's take about a situation, happens every day. Calling someone a "d!nk" or any other name just weakens your argument.

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#73 Ed in Mada
February 06 2012, 02:58AM
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Hemsky remains a problem for the Oil management. What is the right move? Is he a good player just in a slump with several productive years ahead of him. Or have the numerous injuries taken it's toll and he just can't do it like he used to? Maybe he's had enough of the wrong end of big checks and won't push his game to that point any more (give or take a hit vs Detroit).

I think we are seeing the contrast bewteen "great" players" and "good players" as we see the likes of Eberle and Hall developing now vs Hemsky over the last decade. Hall and Eberle have the ability, at a very young age, to make the players around them better (i.e. Gagner going from struggling to red hot in 2 periods).

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#74 RossCreekNation
February 06 2012, 08:35AM
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michael wrote:

Your correct in saying that players with NTC get traded. But you answered my next question alraedy with your comment about how it happens. Player A picks 10 teams he wants to go to. Seems to me that just adds to what I say when I state that NTC hamstring GM's. It really reduces the value you can get for a player on the open market when the market is only 1/3 the size. The other GM's Know the situation and it becomes a matter of choosing between the best f the least offers available. I am not a fan of the NTC at all. Scott Gomez has one. he waived it to go to Montreal. Now look at the mess the Habs have reaped. A player who can't play and can't score. With a massive cap hit. Do you think he would be willing to go to to a team at the bottom of the cap? I would think that Scott Gomez is just happy as cake to play in Montreal,do nothing and get paid 7.5 million and have his NTC to keep him from ever having to move.

1. Do you think if Scott Gomez didn't have a NTC, that it would be any easier for Montreal to trade him? I doubt it. Players playing bad with big contracts probably aren't getting traded regardless of whether or not they have a NTC.

2. *10* was an arbitrary number. You can pick however many you want to allow, as a manager. Ales Kotalik, for example, had a NTC that included just 3 teams that he would not go to. Calgary, apparently, was one of them, yet he still ended up waiving his NTC to go there (BASTARD!). Some guys have a list of 10 teams they won't go to, which allows for 20 teams they would go to. Rene Bourque just waived his NTC to go to Montreal, too.

3. NTC can be in effect for a certain portion of a contract. For example, a player can sign a 5 year deal where only the first 'x' number of years contain a NTC... or the last 'x' number of years contain a NTC. Pretty much, you can make it however you want. I believe when Tomas Kaberle was with the Leafs they had a 2 month window in the summer where they could trade him, but during the season, he had a NTC.

4. The bad one is a No-Move Clause. This is what Cory Sarich has (it kicked in for his 5th year after he played 'x' amount of games thru the first 4 years). This means you cannot even bury the player in the minors to get his cap off of the books. I'd suspect that Ryan Smyth's new deal will contain one of these (which is fine given what he's meant to the org. as long as its a short-term deal).

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#75 RossCreekNation
February 06 2012, 08:55AM
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Joffrey Lupul's No-Trade Clause, courtesy CapGeek:

NTC (starting July 1, 2010, Lupul can list six teams he will not accept a trade to; if his team misses the playoffs, he can be traded from the end of that season to the next trade deadline without restriction)

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#76 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 06 2012, 09:24AM
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GregZ wrote:

I read all those articles at the time they were written. I form an opinion based on information I get from bloggers, print media, radio and TV, in no particular order, and each form of media has strengths and weaknesses in its reporting, according to the circumstances under which that reporting is done.

I respect Derek's point of view, he stated his case in a very articulate manner. I believe that he's passionate about the team, and I have agreed with many things he's written, but with respect, I don't agree with the conclusions he came to here. It seems apparent that you do, so we're going to have to agree to disagree. Such is life.

I will make one last point though. It's perfectly fine to disagree with someone's take about a situation, happens every day. Calling someone a "d!nk" or any other name just weakens your argument.

Ok point taken. ad hominen doesn't fly as an argument.

However, I was hardly putting forward arguments in that post. From here I have no idea who has read what articles when. All I know is you've posted an article by Matheson surrounding an incident that I remember being hotly debated esp. by Derek and Travis (all of whom I respect BTW). For the sake of fairness to yourself and anyone reading that link and in the absence of knowing if you or others had read the other posts I posted them.

That's not an argument, it's a informational gesture with a snarky comment tacked on.

And I never called anyone a "d!nk" I said someone was being a d!nk. There is a difference. Some people are just douche-bags no matter what, but everyone is a douche-bag once in awhile. Saying someone is acting like a jerk is different from labelling someone as serially and unavoidably a jerk.

(I know there is a lot of semantic pleading here, sorry).

Here's a couple arguments:

1) media treatment: Derek said it much better, although much more stridently than I would. So for the most part I will defer to him on this question.

But I will say this... in the particular I don't think Hemsky has been poorly treated by any member of the media. (This is where I part with Derek) I don't think there is a concerted effort to drum Hemsky out of town.

What I do think, however, is that the media in general and in the aggregate have accepted a narrative that is pretty thin, relies on the interpretation of notoriously useless data like "body language" and has lead to the collective hectoring of a player.

This narrative comes through in Matheson's posts about Hemsky. He has questioned everything about Hemsky's game, character and leadership this year. He has called him "petulant" "wishy-washy" "too comfortable" a "follower" and said his "body language is off."

Here's an interesting point to mull over:

Matheson is convinced that if Hemsky says his shoulders are fine, then if he is not producing it must be because he lacks determination and conviction for the game.

Again, he said his shoulders were fine now. But, if they are, where are the points? (dec. 28th)

Oilers head coach Tom Renney has said that Hemsky has been taking treatment after leaving practices, but Hemsky said the treatment wasn’t for his shoulders. They’re fine. (dec 29th)

Now this second quote neglects a couple of things. What Renney actually said I quoted above (post 68), here it is again:

"well he's also got a body that suggests... you know... he needs help... I'm not going to sit here and tell you what he goes in and treats but he gets off the ice so he can be prepared tonight... he goes right straight to the medical room and I think you all know why... i mean at the end of the day he's all in that's the main thing." (dec 19th)

"and i think you all know why"

How does Matheson interpret that statement? Is he aware that NHL teams routinely say things like "upper body injury" to evade directly stating the problem? Is he aware that one can say after major shoulder surgery that one's shoulders are "fine," ie. repaired in the medical sense but not necessarily strong enough to perform at 100%, not to mention the psychological factor of confidence and the the other physcial factors like missing most of two years of playing, missing TC, missing most of the exhibition games (ie. missing a lot of the prep time other players have before the season starts)? Whitney's ankles were repaired and fine - i'm sure we could find a quote of him saying they were fine in one sense anyway - but they lacked strength and gave him great pain... both can be true.

It seems pretty clear to me that Matheson is calling Hemsky to the carpet and binding him to an odd either/or: either you are injured and shouldn't play or you are healthy and should be back to your prior form. I don't see why Matheson needs to hold Hemsky to this standard.

I'll also have you notice that while Hemsky's struggles have been greatly publicized and criticized, no one - least of all Matheson - has bothered to mention that he has 11 points in his last 14 games (.785 PPG) and that if he can keep this pace up he will finish the season with 45.5 points in 69 games for .659 PPG. That is a great story, one of recovery, conviction, determination, etc. It would be a shame if the media bought into the narrative and didn't tell it. In fact, it's a shame this trend went unnoticed as recently as today:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/02/06/is-ales-hemsky-worth-the-risk/

how do you write a story about Hemksy's production and not mention that he's on the right trajectory? That his numbers are improving? That this is common for players coming off injury, ie. to struggle to regain form and familiarity before they regain their stride (yes the article is about how many players don't ever return to form... but isn't the fact that Hemsky's numbers are trending in the right direction a pertinent piece of information for that discussion?)

And, while it's nice to see Hemsky get some attention after shaking off that Kronwall hit, especially, after being called out for a lack of determination and conviction... it is interesting that Hemsky's heart, courage and level of competition is relegated to a "p.s":

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/02/04/did-the-referee-get-it-right-on-kronwalls-nasty-hit-on-hemsky/

P.S. Great to see Hemsky bounce right up and thank goodness he wasn’t hurt. Tough play to get a pass like that when Kronwall is on your side of the ice.

2) leadership: Matheson does a nifty two-step to equate a serial lack of poise, affability, engagement, forthrightness and cheerfulness on the part of Hemsky's media relations with not being a leader.

The transition in that article from a complaint (that is pretty curt and personal) that Hemsky is "petulant" for not being as forthright with the media as Ryan Whitney to him being a "follower" on the team is so awkward Woody Allen's oeuvre could fit in there and still leave room for Wanye to swoon, have an attack of the vapors and collapse awkwardly in the corner if he ever got to share a Lady and Tramp bowl of spaghetti with Eberle.

To say that Hemsky lacks poise and even maturity in his media relations is fair and I think you'd be hard pressed to find detractors.

-------Although I do think he gets pressed on this too much. All the things Matheson wants to hear from Hemsky - that he takes responsibility for his poor play, that he wants to perform better, that he will give his best no matter where the coach plays him, etc - he has said in front of cameras. If you like I'll dig up the links. I watched a lot of Hemsky/Renney media video yesterday to find that clip from Renney so I know it's there.

I'll use Matheson's OWN reporting to show the odd standards Hemsky is held too and the way the narrative trumps facts:

Dec. 28th http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/12/28/hemsky-is-doing-himself-no-favours/

Matheson (talking about the Leduc situation) writes:

Hemsky should be saying the same sort of thing. It would have been smarter from him to say “you know, I’m not playing well guys. No excuses. My shoulders are perfectly fine now. I’ve got to start carrying the ball here and taking some pressure off the kids.”

Dec. 29th http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Hemsky+future+with+Oilers+murky+trade+deadline+approaches/5921080/story.html

Matheson the next day (still talking about Leduc) now gives this quote from the day earlier:

“Three goals isn’t enough, but nobody said it was going to be easy (coming back from major repair work). I’m not hiding behind anything,” Hemsky said.).

So one day he's complaining that Hemsky didn't say something (and apparently tying this non-said thing to a lack of leadership) and the next day he quotes Hemsky from the previous day having said the very thing on the very day he complained he didn't say it. hmmm.-------

Moving on, I simply don't get how the legit gripe that Hemsky is bad at media relations (although I think due to the nature of their jobs the media stress this issue well beyond its import) massages its way into a criticism of Hemsky's leadership.

It is fair to say, one leads by example (on and off the ice) and that by showing a lack of poise off the ice in relations with the media Hemsky is a poor example for the team.

But, I suspect that that is not the aspect of leadership the team, the coaches or management care about. I doubt anyone on the team watched or heard about that incident and gave it much thought. And there is no way they gave it as much import as Matheson did. I can't imagine Eberle saying "Well Hemsky you blew Matheson off in a press gaggle, so your advice on seaming a passing through the slot is useless, I question your character, heart, determination and commitment and can no longer follow you." Does that seem like a reasonable pro athlete response?

Here's an example to think about:

John Tortorella routinely blows up at the press in ways that display almost a perpetual lack of composure (well beyond anything Hemsky has ever displayed). Do you think his players and his manager question his leadership of the team for his poor media relations?

(To anyone who managed to read this: it is primarily for Greg, since he asked for arguments I tried to honor that. To anyone just seeing a bunch of words and skimming by, sorry for the length)

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#77 SC
February 06 2012, 10:26AM
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Since this article is about Hemsky, I'll start with a comment about him. I've been on the fence about whether he should stay or go. For so long he was the only thing worth watching on this team. For a while I even resorted to openly proclaiming Stortini as my favorite Oiler. The dark ages are (hopefully) behind us, but let's not forget the player Hemsky is. The future of this team is youth, but it NEEDS experienced skill like Hemsky. His value is at an all time long right now, and I can't see a trade that would be worth it. To me, the only potential hang-up would be contractual, but it sounds like they haven't even talked about money.

Ok, now for my Hall fan-boy rant. This kid is an absolute monster. I've long been an NHL and NBA fan, and the only other athlete I've seen with the same fire and relentless drive is Michael Jordan. By virtue of being on the ice he makes everyone better. He puts defenses on their heels the second he touches the puck. After that embarrassment against Calgary, my respect for him went through the roof. He woke this team up, that's what leaders do! IT'S NOT OK TO LOSE! That's what Hall is all about.

Those Corsi numbers are really telling, and not the least bit surprising, to be honest. Thanks for the great article as well as the eye candy, Lowetide. Appreciated.

Something specials-a-brewing here in Edmonton...

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#78 PerryK
February 06 2012, 09:13PM
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PutzStew wrote:

The Past few Games have made me rellise a couple things about this team. The most glaring thing I've noticed is how much better a team with NHL Caliber player on it is and the second thing is that Edmonton has had to many "ifs" on this team in past years.

The past few games the Defence has been good. It started with the return of Sutton, Then Whitney, then Barker and soon Gilbert. Edmonton all the sudden has 6, Healthy, NHL Defence men with those 4, plus Smid and Potter and the product on the ice is way better. I'm not sitting there wondering if Petry, Plante, Peckham or Teubert are going to mess up or excel.

If this team is to be successful, which I do Believe it can be and soon, they need to employ that with the rest of the team. If a player is pushing to make the big club give him a chance. If he isn't then leave him in the minors to develop and give the position to a proven NHL Player.

Having said all that there are some positions on the forwards lines that need to be filled. I believe that Renny needs to run with two top lines. One with RNH and Eberle and the other with Hall and Gagner. I'm also going to note that I thought Hall and Gagner showed Chemisrty before the 8 point night. The points weren't there but they moved the puck well and battled together well.

Moving forwards the need to fill the other two spots with NHL caliber players until the Prospects (PRV, Harti, Omark, Etc) are really pushing to make those spots. Smyth could fill one of those roles and Hemsky...

Well Hemsky, in my opinion right now is a mistake. Not by him but by management. There was a time when his style of play was great for Edmonton but at this time I think his skill set has been replaced 2 times over by RNH and Eberle. Hemsky should have been traded last year instead of Penner.

Before you go into your tears listen to reason. If you are going to split up Hall, Ebs and RNH and play Hall with Gagner then you need to find complementing players. Penner, when he was with the Oilers, was the Perfect Complementing player. Every player he played with excelled and his skill set is one that the Oilers don't have right now (and I'm not talking about his skills with pancakes).

My thoughts on Hemsky have change over the last week. I was ready to get rid of him for a bag a pucks a while ago. Now i look at him as a NHL player that can at the very least, can fill a spot. Gregor's blog the other day got me thinking that maybe he is too comfortable in Edmonton and maybe he needs to be challenged a bit.

So having said all that, here's what I want to see done.

Plan on a leadership change for the summer. It is time to past the torch and Hall needs a letter.

Shop Hemsky for a top 6 forward that will be able to play for a couple years and Compliment the young guns. The return isn't going to be great but if he is traded, prospects aren't going to fill that void right now. Hemsky may put up points but the team needs some other skill sets then what he, Eberle, RNH and Gagner bring. I won't mention attitude but I think it would be the best move for both the Oilers and Him.

If they can't find a big, NHL proven winger for the top 6, offer Hemsky a contract one year @ $3Mil, in hopes that he elevates his game, moves up is trade value or a prospect is able to push him out next year.

If he doesn't take it. Trade him for what ever you an get and sign a proven top 6 as a UFA.

Sorry about the spelling. In a rush to get my Kids to a Birthday Party.

Thanx for the comments that are about to come.

Maybe we should trade him for Penner?:)

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#79 GregZ
February 08 2012, 03:27AM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Wow!!! I am sincerely impressed. I hope Ales Hemsky appreciates the good karma you are sending his way, all of us should have someone defending us they way you have defended him. Really.

I heard Spec's comments the day he made them, but didn't quote them for the reason that the stuff he does with Gregor is, at least in my perception, off the cuff. I don't know whether he's written about the subject, so I can't comment about that.

As for Matheson, it's purely speculation on my part, but the column of Dec 28 did strike me as having been written "with the gloves off", so to speak. He did go out of his way to make it clear what he thinks about Hemsky's talent, and it read to me like the thoughts of someone who very much wants Hemsky to succeed here in Edmonton, but is very disappointed in what he is seeing at the moment. I don't, however, believe Matheson wrote the column in anger, rather, the tone seems sorrowful. I don't think he gave Hemsky a hard time purely because of his lack of media savvy, but rather to compel Hemsky to show up and be counted as a leader on the Oilers. He makes it clear that he would like Hemsky to stay and contribute some veteran guidance to the younger Oiler players. He's asking Hemsky to break out of his shell, and he's making it clear that he believes that time is almost up. I believe that Matty wrote what he believed to be true, and also with the best of intentions, to serve as a wake-up call. What he wrote resonated with me. It's purely my perception, and I certainly accept that not everyone sees it the same way.

At the end of the day, I want to make it clear that I have a considerable amount of compassion for Hemsky's situation, or at least my perception of it. He's busted up his body for several years in the service of a hockey team that has not performed well, to say the very least. He does seem to be coming around some at this point of the season, but the leverage he would no doubt like to have in a contract year just isn't really going to be there. That's not "fair", in the greater sense of things, but he's a skill player, and points are the yardstick that skill players get marked against. As I've said earlier, I'd offer Hemsky a couple of years extension, at the same bucks, but I'd completely understand if he didn't see it the same way. Should he leave and win a Cup this spring, I'd be pleased for him. That would be "fair", imo.

In relation to the leadership question, perhaps I've been spoiled by watching guys like Messier or Smyth, but I subscribe to a concept of leadership delivered by a player that shapes and mold a team, that visibly display that kind of heart and soul effort in everything they say and do. I've always been leery about handing leadership roles to skill players, because without the rah-rah heart on your sleeve stuff, the motor better be going 100% at all times. It seems very telling to me that Renney chose to make the glass half full/empty remarks about Hemsky. Again, to be clear, I have major respect for Hemsky's talent, I just don't think the role of assistant captain is a proper fit, particularly for the needs of this Oiler team.

As for Tortorella, I can't say I've watched his press conferences in great detail. I've always assumed that he behaves the way he does in an effort to control the press coverage of the team. Sometimes having the spotlight shine on the ill-tempered coach can deflect attention away from other aspects of the team's performance, and considering the New York media circus, I wouldn't be shocked to find out that's exactly why Glen Sather chose Tortorella.

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