Ales Hemsky has a unique ability to take over games

Jonathan Willis
February 07 2013 09:13AM

The opening goal of last night's game was a remarkable thing, and showcased some of the (depth!) talent the Oilers have accumulated of late. Particularly brilliant was the goal-scorer, Ales Hemsky, who is in 2005-06 form after a rough go of things last season.

We start with the Oilers exiting their own zone. Sam Gagner (89) carries the puck over his own blue line with Nail Yakupov (64) on one wing and Ales Hemsky (83, off-screen) on the other. This is the second shift after a failed Dallas power play, and a time one often sees mismatches in the matchup game – Stars coach Glen Gulutzan rolled out line three and then line four, while Ralph Krueger went with a modified version of his top line (Paajarvi in for Eberle, as Eberle was out for the last shift of the penalty kill) and then deployed his second line. The Stars pictured are Antoine Roussel (60), Vern Fiddler (38) and Eric Nystrom (24).

Gagner has passed off to Yakupov, and Hemsky is at the other side of the ice waiting to enter the zone. Because the Dallas defence has backed off and Nystrom is the only Stars forward in any position to exert pressure, the Oilers gain the zone easily.

All five stars have collapsed into the defensive zone as Yakupov stops up with the puck on the half boards. Rather than try and thread a pass through multiple guys, Yakupov does the obvious thing and sends it back to the point.

Corey Potter (44) walks in and tries to thread a shot between Roussel’s legs, one that is blocked. Yakupov is in good position but needs to beat both Roussel and defenceman Brenden Dillon (4) for the loose puck.

Dillon takes a moment to react, so Yakupov grabs the puck and skates it into the slot for what looks like it’s going to be a shot.

Instead of shooting, Yakupov skates through – and the result is a relatively clear lane to Hemsky at the side of the net, with four Stars tied up in a tight little box in front of the net. Notable here too is Gagner, who knows that if Hemsky gets the puck at the side he’ll have a moment to thread it through the crease, so he’s getting to the other side of the net in a hurry. The play doesn’t work out, though – Dillon just manages to get his stick on the puck, deflecting the pass from Hemsky and into the corner.

Unperturbed, Hemsky retrieves the puck and starts to carry it out.

Hemsky cycles back toward the point, and Ladislav Smid (5) cycles down, ready for the handoff if Hemsky chooses to make one. Hemsky does not, though Stephane Robidas (3) gives Smid a bit of a bump anyway. A strong check by Nystrom here and this play is probably over, but he’s hesitant to engage and Hemsky blows past him.

Hesmky keeps going, and Nystrom turns to follow.

Hemsky could have passed off to Petry, but he just keeps going, zipping around Nystrom and coming in 1-on-1 with Roussel.

Hemsky zips past Roussel.

Looks like Hemsky has skated himself into and right back out of a danger area, but that’s only because Smid and Yakupov aren’t on screen.

Hemsky passes off to Smid, who gets a shot from a dangerous area. It’s easy to see what his circling has done to Dallas’ defence and fourth line – there are three guys all over Gagner, and one on Hemsky himself at the post, leaving the Oilers with a three-to-one advantage everywhere else in the zone.

Lehtonen makes a fine save, but Hemsky zips around the back of the net, retrieves the loose puck, and the gets ready to start the whole exercise over again.

Given the open lane, this time Hemsky cuts to the slot rather than to the outside. He looks like he might shoot but instead passes to Yakupov, who misses the puck.

Yakupov has time and space, so he retrieves the puck and comes out of the corner, even as Hemsky continues on past circling the other way.

Yakupov circles back toward the slot, and has two obvious options – a pass to Gagner or a chance to skate up and shoot. His safest pass is less obvious – Smid’s stick at the far left of the screen. Looking towards the net the entire time, Yakupov dishes the puck to Smid.

Smid skates low with it, and now is finally the time to use Gagner.

Smid makes a slap-pass to Gagner, who tips the puck just to the side of the net – a play that could very easily have been a goal and the Oilers’ second nice opportunity to score on this shift.

Yakupov retrieves the puck in the corner and makes a behind the back pass toward the front of the net.

Hemsky and Gagner both miss the puck, as do both Stars in the area – it actually ends up bouncing off Kari Lehtonen’s pad and in front of the net.

Gagner grabs the loose puck and sends it back to Yakupov, who has two really nice options – a pass to Hemsky at the side of the net or a shot from a prime scoring location. Yakupov shoots.

Yakupov hits the post for the Oilers’ third scoring opportunity. The puck bounces off and directly to Ales Hemsky at the side of the net.

Hemsky takes his time, then puts the puck high over the sprawling Lehtonen. At this point, Yakupov zips over to Hemsky and puts an arm around him, literally jumping up and down on the ice in excitement at the goal that was just scored.

There were a lot of great plays leading up to that goal, and the Hemsky line just put the boots to Dallas’ grinders. The obvious guy to highlight is Hemsky, because lopping through the zone the way he did opened up all kinds of opportunities as the Stars struggled to adgust. Yakupov too, though, deserves a lot of credit here – I particularly liked the way he sold the shot before passing off to Smid. For that matter, Smid stood out on this shift – he wasted no time cycling low when it became clear Hemsky was going to the point, and the slap-pass to Gagner was really a thing of beauty.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 07 2013, 11:02AM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

There was one moment that I remember in the first (IIRC).

The stars had a play at the net, just one star on Dubs. he made the save and the whistle was blown. everyone skated away except the star who lingered in the crease until Dubs finally pushed him out... Whitney skated right by without blinking an eye... that ticked me off. not just him... where was the rest of the team?

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#52 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 07 2013, 11:04AM
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Jakethesnake wrote:

I swear the fans that are trying to be like the Cannot fans are pissing me off big time. The doooob chats after saves are really getting to me. If u want to do that move to Vancouver please

You are not alone... it's asinine.

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#53 Phixieus666
February 07 2013, 11:05AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I thought he looked pretty good on his first few shifts, but he got less impressive as the game went on. Not that he was awful or anything, but he seemed a little tired.

Adrenaline dump likely, usually what happens in a guys first game.

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#54 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 07 2013, 11:19AM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Feel a little bad for Whitney. He has lost everythng, his game, his confidence, his ability to remain humorous on Twitter.

He could be the guy to help snap himself and his teammates out of this slump. Brawling is a great opportunity to bond and draw a team closer together. As it sits now, everyone seams to be waiting for someone else to lead or do something. Release the rage and get suspended.

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#55 Rob...
February 07 2013, 11:27AM
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It would be truly awesome to see these objective analysis applied to refereeing. Homer'ism is probably rampant throughout the league, but I'm reminded of the quote 'Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.'

I'm always blown away how something is a penalty one game, period or shift, but not the next.

Similarly, my perception is that Oilers face-off woes are partially due to permitted cheating by Oilers opponents. Most specifically "The visiting player shall place his stick within the designated white area first followed immediately by the home player." This should result in our opponents being kicked off the face-off dot and/or the face-off called back quite often, and they aren't. Our percentages would likely be better if the linesmen and refs DID THEIR JOB.

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#56 khlhfs
February 07 2013, 11:52AM
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I hate myself for bringing this up but..........How would everyone feel if the Oilers finally dealt Hemsky this deadline? He's finally playing at a level that everyone here knew he could play at and he would no doubt bring in a decent return. I only mention this because it seems very unlikely that they're are able to keep him when the team is paying all of the wonder kids full dime.

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#57 DieHard
February 07 2013, 12:23PM
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@khlhfs

Hemsky's price will come down, Cap will go up. Oiler for life.

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#58 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 12:40PM
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khlhfs wrote:

I hate myself for bringing this up but..........How would everyone feel if the Oilers finally dealt Hemsky this deadline? He's finally playing at a level that everyone here knew he could play at and he would no doubt bring in a decent return. I only mention this because it seems very unlikely that they're are able to keep him when the team is paying all of the wonder kids full dime.

The sad reality is that if we want a big, skilled centerman, then we're likely looking at having to move Hemsky and Gagner both in the same trade.

Hemsky and Gagner have been fantastic this year and it would sting immensely to trade them while they perform like this. But ignoring the fact that we need a big skilled centerman fairly quickly here, is only hurting the team imo.

Unless management wants to move Gagner to the 3rd line next year and Horc to the 4th, then He's likely part of a trade that brings in the bigger #2 centerman. UNLESS the management strategy is to maintain our current top 6, and bring in size for the bottom 6, hopefully with 1 of the centers being a #2b capable on nights we need it.

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#59 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 12:52PM
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This year's trade deadline is likely one of the most important ones for the oilers.

Key moves (if any) will really help to shape the oilers for either a playoff run this year (if we're still in it) or next year.

It has never been so important for Tambolini to get this right.

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#60 vetinari
February 07 2013, 12:56PM
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Hemsky (and Gagner) both look like new players under Krueger and I suspect that he's given them the green light to be creative on the attack so long as they are defensively responsible when the play shifts the other way.

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#61 Mikey
February 07 2013, 12:58PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Ya I think all the Oilers should have to put a density plastic molding on the sides and heals of their skates.

Anton Lander was wearing one of those. Not sure about Belanger, but I would bet he was.

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#62 B S
February 07 2013, 01:12PM
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@Rob...

The Oilers are a team of small, fast players who deploy an enforcer about once every 10 games. They should be drawing penalties all over the place, especially against slower teams like Dallas, yet they consistently get fewer calls than their opposition. Last season they were 10th most in minor penalties and 19th in powerplay opportunities, by comparison teams that were high in one category were high in another (in general, Dallas was the obvious polar opposite). And it got worse last season once the Oilers were out of the playoffs, only getting more powerplays than penalties against also-rans like Montreal and Columbus (and one weird game against Detroit). I don't know if it's the youth factor("blame the rookie" like Willis mentioned above) or a holdover from the MacT era (he and the officials never really got along and he coached some dirty teams), but I do think there is an officiating bias against the Oilers.

It also doesn't help that the officiating has been bad all around, especially this season. The Yak penalty and the Hemsky penalty being good examples (a guy wrapping his arm around an opponents stick should be obvious even from 40 feet away). An example of a fair bad call would be the missed offside, that's damn near impossible to see in that situation can't hold the ref to it.

And for those of you who think Hall has been falling a lot this season, pay attention to the opponents sticks. More than a few time I've seen them crammed in his skates, or him jumping over them, and the refs just ignore it.

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#63 Bucknuck
February 07 2013, 01:18PM
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sofarsogood wrote:

A guy vacations for 8 days, (no cummunications) comes back and we have ahl centers. Wow! The injury bug has some correlation with size and strength. It is showing up every year. It is time to fix it. In the nextfew months gagner will need to be traded for a big center (getzlaf) along as he will sign a 3 year deal with the oilers. That shift by hemsky and co. was nice to watch. Yak is looking more confident and is starting to take the puck to the slot. BY the way I like gagner (not bad at more than a ppg) for a second line center, but its gotta be done.

Look at the injury bug a little more closely. The guys getting hurt are mostly the big ones. There has been no correlation between size and injuries for the Oilers.

Andy Sutton is 6 foot 6

Ryan Whitney (Mr. Injury) is 6 foot 4

Mark Fistric is 6 foot 2 and built like a truck (233 lbs)

Ben Eager is 6 foot 2 and also built like a truck (236 lbs)

Ryan Jones and Horcoff aren't exactly little either. Both are 6 foot 1 and over 200 lbs.

And why trade for Getzlaf when he would be an Unrestricted FA this summer (Perry would too). I wouldn't trade for him just to lose him, when the Oilers could sign him for nothing.

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#64 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 01:18PM
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Edmonton Oilers 2013-14 Cap Info
Salary Cap: $64.3M
Locked Up: $44.5275M
Signings: $18.3M (Total of Players listed below)
Cap Remaining: $1.4725M

Gagner $3,500,000
Magnus $1,100,000
Jonesy $1,500,000
harti $1,100,000
Petrell $1,100,000
whitney $3,000,000
Smid $3,500,000
Fistric $1,500,000
Peckham $1,000,000
Goalie $1,000,000

I wrote down what i thought might be fair value for the 10 players that need signing for next year. Do any of these values/yr look unreasonable? If not, we're looking at an Oilers squad that has $1.47M cap space to deal with our size issue. We obviously wont be buying anyone as a straight cash deal, so if anything is to come back to the Oilers for next season, it'll have to be via trade.

So how does Tambolini get it done? what would you do?

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#65 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 01:20PM
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@David S

It wouldnt be a Gagner for Centerman straight trade. The only way another team would do it is if they also got a key piece along with gagner.

In my post i mention that it may take both Gagner AND hemsky to get a big #2 Centerman. Is that something Oiler fans would be ok with?

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#66 keilan
February 07 2013, 01:24PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Smyth did a bunch of that early last year, too - he's like one of those grumpy old guys who just doesn't care any more, and will push and shove use the stick on these kids if they end up on his lawn.

Agreed Smyth almost never sets the correct tone for himself or the young guys. It’s almost like he has the attitude – half the salary and diminished role will get the Oilers half an effort.

Rarely have I ever seen a player placed so high in the opinions of some fans and contribute so little. Watch the first two goals by Dallas last night and keep an eye on Smyth leading up to those goals.

On the first goal its criminal how ineffective Smyth is in his own zone and on the 2nd goal guys like Petrell and others block the shot from the point, Smyth on the other hand stays out of the shooting lanes, and mostly he likes to wave his stick.

Everyone here will have different opinions about different players but what strikes me the most about the Oilers team 10 games in is that they don’t play for each other. The culture needs to change.

There’s allot of ego on this team and some of the players appear to play mostly for themselves.

Yakupov is a pure shooter and his one-timers are in the elite category. Ten games in and his centre-men hasn’t yet been able to get him the puck in a shooting position. The Nuge would be feathering Yakopov the puck for a one-timer so often the opposing goalies would be begging for a seat on the bench.

So the question is - Is Gagner not able to get Yak the puck when he’s calling for it or does Gagner chose not to?

Smyth we’re stuck with until is contract ends but Gagner’s stock is about a high as it’s ever going to be. Getzlaff would be the perfect fit for this hockey team in so many ways. Whatever it costs the Oilers would be money well spent – additional playoff revenue add up quickly.

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#67 Drunk Farmer
February 07 2013, 01:27PM
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A-Mc wrote:

This year's trade deadline is likely one of the most important ones for the oilers.

Key moves (if any) will really help to shape the oilers for either a playoff run this year (if we're still in it) or next year.

It has never been so important for Tambolini to get this right.

You sir are 100% correct. The next moves being made will really shape the next few years of this club. A monkey could have built the team we have. Three first overall picks and winning the Schultz lottery is not exactly hockey genius. Ebs at 22nd overall or wherever we drafted him was a steal. Don’t worry though, the gentleman who though Marc Antoine Pouliot, Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson were going to lead us to another SCF is still our top dog. If Tambo can find a way to screw this up I am sure he will get a promotion to senior VP of hockey operations or something like that. Oh wait, he wasn’t part of the ol boys club so he will probably be expendable. If we are not in the playoffs next year K-Lowe has to be the first one to go. I just hope we don’t turn into the New York Islanders. There is a lot of potential and talent here, but real success is only achieved by putting the right pieces in place... oh ya Hemmer is looking deadly this year!

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#68 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 01:28PM
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@keilan

"So the question is - Is Gagner not able to get Yak the puck when he’s calling for it or does Gagner chose not to?"
-I made the comment a while ago in another posting that i saw this very same scenario but with Whitney and Yakupov on the PP. It blows my mind that Whitney time after time will choose to pass to the more congested side when Yakupov (who has the best shot on the ice) is standing there wide open with his stick raised ready to unleash the fury.

I dont know what's going on there but i notice it Every. Single. Game.

If Yak isnt getting himself into the passing lanes then Ralph really needs to work on that with him. (on TV, he looks fine, but view from the ice may be different)

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#69 Archaeologuy
February 07 2013, 01:30PM
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I thought that play showed exactly why the Oilers should flip Hemsky and Yakupov. Yak looked great on the right side and Hemsky will do whatever he wants anyway. He looked very dangerous on multiple occasions from the right side.

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#70 Rob...
February 07 2013, 01:40PM
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@Archaeologuy

My hope is that this had more to do with Nail's history of coughing up the puck early in the season. The last few games, Yakupov has looked much more capable of holding his own with the puck so I hope he'll receive more passes now. Otherwise, Nail's getting screwed. Get it... get... ah never mind.

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#71 keilan
February 07 2013, 01:47PM
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A-Mc wrote:

"So the question is - Is Gagner not able to get Yak the puck when he’s calling for it or does Gagner chose not to?"
-I made the comment a while ago in another posting that i saw this very same scenario but with Whitney and Yakupov on the PP. It blows my mind that Whitney time after time will choose to pass to the more congested side when Yakupov (who has the best shot on the ice) is standing there wide open with his stick raised ready to unleash the fury.

I dont know what's going on there but i notice it Every. Single. Game.

If Yak isnt getting himself into the passing lanes then Ralph really needs to work on that with him. (on TV, he looks fine, but view from the ice may be different)

Yakapov has fantastic instinct for the game/scoring goals. Believe me he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. Gagner is the weak link and that isn’t going to change.

Watch Gagner’s feet when he has the puck, they don’t move too much.

Gagner always looks like he’s skating in quick-sand to me. Smyth and Gagner should have a race from blue-line to blue-line, I’d by tickets to watch that..

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#72 Bucknuck
February 07 2013, 01:50PM
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A-Mc wrote:

It wouldnt be a Gagner for Centerman straight trade. The only way another team would do it is if they also got a key piece along with gagner.

In my post i mention that it may take both Gagner AND hemsky to get a big #2 Centerman. Is that something Oiler fans would be ok with?

It really depends whether Gagner continues playing the way he has been. He's bigger and stronger than he has ever been, and he isn't getting stripped off the puck like he used to be.

As far as I am concerned, Yakupov, Gagner, Hemsky is one of the best second lines in the NHL. I am not sure I want to screw with it.

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#73 Marcus
February 07 2013, 01:50PM
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Bruce McCudy wrote:

Any sequence that burns Eric "Lgegbreaker" Nystrom and Antoine "Punk" Roussel is worth extra points in my book. EXPOSED!

Didn't watch the game due to work. The last screen shot after the goal is scored still burns me, ie: Roussel cheapshot to Gagner's ribs.

Hordichuk should have been given a 20 second shift shortly thereafter to remind Roussel about that, i.e: clobber the punk. I doubt it happened.

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#74 keilan
February 07 2013, 01:52PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Wait. Gagner is leading the Oilers in scoring, has points in EVERY SINGLE GAME, and there are still mouth breathers trying to trade him because he isnt Eric Lindros?

*Slams Head into keyboard repeatedly*

eguieoaseo['hiBJKqwrtjnwr6jyu8fhjmncvadrthncrtgwv stjarth wh63v36u3vbujw3v 65j65vbu46w56qer

Yeah and he has the longest current point strike in the NHL but he wouldn’t bring much back in a trade……. Hard to imagine for such a gifted player ..no!

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#75 keilan
February 07 2013, 01:57PM
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Sam would get eaten alive in a playoff atmosphere and that's where players are judged. Other GM's understand this about Sams game.

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#76 Bucknuck
February 07 2013, 02:09PM
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For all the guys needing to make a trade to free up cap space for the young guns, it's time for a reality check courtesy of cap geek.

The oil will have 19,772,500 in cap space next year. The same year they pay Hemsky 5M, Ebs and Hall each 6M, and Horcoff 5.4M.

I am assuming Sutton, Peckham, Hordichuk, and Khabibulin can all take a hike.

that leaves 19.7M cap space to sign:

Ryan Jones (2), Sam Gagner (4.5), Magnus Paajarvi (2), Teemu Hartikainen(1.5), Lennart Petrell(1), Ladislav Smid(3), Mark Fistric (1.5), and Ryan Whitney (?). Plus they need a new backup goalie (?).

They should be OK for next year. If they want to take a run at a free agent they can buy out Horcoff's contract at the end of this season. If they do that I hope to heck they have a replacement.

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#77 A-Mc
February 07 2013, 02:14PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Wait. Gagner is leading the Oilers in scoring, has points in EVERY SINGLE GAME, and there are still mouth breathers trying to trade him because he isnt Eric Lindros?

*Slams Head into keyboard repeatedly*

eguieoaseo['hiBJKqwrtjnwr6jyu8fhjmncvadrthncrtgwv stjarth wh63v36u3vbujw3v 65j65vbu46w56qer

Gagner is always on the chopping block because the team needs a big Top 6 centerman**. The only 2 centerman up there are Nuge and Gagner, and unless Gagner grows 6" and puts on 30lbs of muscle, he's likely the odd man out.

The alternative, and this might work, is to move Hemsky for a big winger. Hemsky would be picked over Yakupov.

It's fairly safe to say that Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yak are not going anywhere. So you have 1 winger and 1 centerman to use as trade chips to bring in some skill with size.

It only makes sense that Gagner and Hemsky's names would continually come up. They are the odd men out even though they are playing fantastically.

** Or atleast the Professionals seem to think so. I'm ok with small fast dudes. I'm ok with what ever works! a win is a win, regardless of how it's done.

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#78 keilan
February 07 2013, 03:11PM
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Here’s the reality. The average length of a shift in the NHL is between 40 to 50 seconds and if your centre men are losing the draw almost 60% of the time – here’s what happens.

They are beginning far too many shifts trying to retrieve the puck. By the time they do get possession they are nearing the end of the shift and the best they can hope for is getting an offensive end face-off.

It’s harder to get the puck from men who are as skilled, two or three inches taller and twenty pounds heavier. That is just a fact of hockey.

If you think size and puck possession don’t matter on your scoring lines you probably never played the game.

Here are the Oiler’s 4 top scorers as of today.

Sam Gagner 11 Taylor Hall 10 Nail Yakupov 8 Ales Hemsky 7

Gagner, Yakupov and Hemsky are currently -13. Collectively they can’t play much better then they have but many of you seem satisfied and strike out against those of us that would like to see change.

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#79 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 07 2013, 03:24PM
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keilan wrote:

Here’s the reality. The average length of a shift in the NHL is between 40 to 50 seconds and if your centre men are losing the draw almost 60% of the time – here’s what happens.

They are beginning far too many shifts trying to retrieve the puck. By the time they do get possession they are nearing the end of the shift and the best they can hope for is getting an offensive end face-off.

It’s harder to get the puck from men who are as skilled, two or three inches taller and twenty pounds heavier. That is just a fact of hockey.

If you think size and puck possession don’t matter on your scoring lines you probably never played the game.

Here are the Oiler’s 4 top scorers as of today.

Sam Gagner 11 Taylor Hall 10 Nail Yakupov 8 Ales Hemsky 7

Gagner, Yakupov and Hemsky are currently -13. Collectively they can’t play much better then they have but many of you seem satisfied and strike out against those of us that would like to see change.

I think you really need to supplement both these stats (FO% and +/-) with some context.

Smart people have provided some solid reasons to take the "FO% correlation with wins" with skepticism. See:

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3023

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2009/01/23/are-faceoff-losses-really-such-a-big-problem/

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3670

As for +/-... it has some value over the long term... but it really needs

1) a large sample size to even approx. meaningful information

2) to be contextualized by more useful stats

it tells a very limited picture. e.g., Cam Barker was even last year... do you think that accurately reflects his play?!

also, it includes empty net goals against for some stupid reason:

http://oilersnation.com/2012/3/15/the-edmonton-oilers-with-an-empty-net

see also this:

http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/2/26/2557967/why-ales-hemskys-plus-minus-is-not-meaningful

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#80 keilan
February 07 2013, 03:32PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
Gagner, Yakupov and Hemsky are currently -13. Collectively they can’t play much better then they have but many of you seem satisfied and strike out against those of us that would like to see change.

I agree. Adding together the +/- of players on the same line is the only real way to assess players. These guys need to go. I don't care about any other numbers.

Actually I watch the game and many intangibles never show up in the box scores. Clearly stats don’t tell the whole story but why make these types of comments.

I’d be interested to hear from you why you believe Sam Gagner should be the Oiler’s number 2 centre going forward. Begin by illustrating how he’d fair against play-off type teams.

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#81 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 07 2013, 03:57PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Wait. Gagner is leading the Oilers in scoring, has points in EVERY SINGLE GAME, and there are still mouth breathers trying to trade him because he isnt Eric Lindros?

*Slams Head into keyboard repeatedly*

eguieoaseo['hiBJKqwrtjnwr6jyu8fhjmncvadrthncrtgwv stjarth wh63v36u3vbujw3v 65j65vbu46w56qer

Big deal. 10 pts, -3 on a soon to be sub .500 hockey club. Pay that man 5 million per if you were his boss i imagine.

I have some ocean front like property for sale in the river value if you're interested.

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#82 Bucknuck
February 07 2013, 07:01PM
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David S wrote:

Please remind me because sometimes I'm a bit slow. What do PPG NHL centers go for these days?

Last year only 6 centres accomplished that. The year before it was 6 too. It's a small sample size with some names you might recognize. They are all paid rather well.

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#83 David S
February 07 2013, 07:13PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Last year only 6 centres accomplished that. The year before it was 6 too. It's a small sample size with some names you might recognize. They are all paid rather well.

^ THIS.

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#84 khlhfs
February 07 2013, 07:35PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

For all the guys needing to make a trade to free up cap space for the young guns, it's time for a reality check courtesy of cap geek.

The oil will have 19,772,500 in cap space next year. The same year they pay Hemsky 5M, Ebs and Hall each 6M, and Horcoff 5.4M.

I am assuming Sutton, Peckham, Hordichuk, and Khabibulin can all take a hike.

that leaves 19.7M cap space to sign:

Ryan Jones (2), Sam Gagner (4.5), Magnus Paajarvi (2), Teemu Hartikainen(1.5), Lennart Petrell(1), Ladislav Smid(3), Mark Fistric (1.5), and Ryan Whitney (?). Plus they need a new backup goalie (?).

They should be OK for next year. If they want to take a run at a free agent they can buy out Horcoff's contract at the end of this season. If they do that I hope to heck they have a replacement.

I'm well aware the Oilers can maintain their team for next season. My concern is beyond that.

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#85 oilerman53
February 07 2013, 09:19PM
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Just trade Gagner and Hemsky for some more prospects. Sign Jason Arnott to center Yakupov, resign Whitney to a six year deal at $4 million per. Yes yess and hell yes!

The hell is all this trade talk coming from? Last year we had a hot start and sucked therest of the way. 10 games in sitting 1 game below .500 with basically two lines providing consistent efforts. Nuge Ebs and Hall havent even clicked yet. Gagners line has been providing the snuff in lieu of their horrible start. Now you wanna trade two thirds of our line 1A?

We here in Oil Country need a bit of patience, most nights we boo Horcoffs efforts with the puck now were missing him? Belanger was a whipping boy too last year but seems to have turnednthat around. This team is young and the consistency and bounces havent gone our way. Reffing has been bad as well, once the hockey gods smile on us and break Nuge and Ebs out of their slumps watch out. Every player gets snake bitten, how many times have we seen Ebs miss an open cage? Its like a Kardashian doing something decent.

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#86 Dog Train
February 07 2013, 09:53PM
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No surprise that this has turned into a Sam Gagner debate. I was wondering when his critics would open their mouths. He's small, sure, but he's a lot tougher than he gets credit for.

Sam Gagner is as tall as Danny Briere and weighs about 10 lbs. more than him. Danny Briere is a point per game player in the playoffs and he's played in 108 playoff games. I'm not ready to say that Sam Gagner would get destroyed playing in the playoffs before he ever gets the chance to prove otherwise. I agree that this Sam needs to improve his faceoff work and defensive play but he is far from the biggest problem on this team.

Nice to see Hemmer get back to his old self. For my money, he has been our best/most consistent forward this season.

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#87 Walter Sobchak
February 08 2013, 12:01AM
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A-Mc wrote:

"So the question is - Is Gagner not able to get Yak the puck when he’s calling for it or does Gagner chose not to?"
-I made the comment a while ago in another posting that i saw this very same scenario but with Whitney and Yakupov on the PP. It blows my mind that Whitney time after time will choose to pass to the more congested side when Yakupov (who has the best shot on the ice) is standing there wide open with his stick raised ready to unleash the fury.

I dont know what's going on there but i notice it Every. Single. Game.

If Yak isnt getting himself into the passing lanes then Ralph really needs to work on that with him. (on TV, he looks fine, but view from the ice may be different)

I mentioned this a few time's already, then it dawned on me.........Whitney can't make the pass.

The reason is when Yakupov is facing Whitney’s back side, Whitney can't pivot, cross turn his feetand body while maintaining his balance and movement....Basically he can’t turn and keep moving due to his inability to actually pivot.

In order to make the pass Whitney has to stop move his feet and body toward Yakupov then pass.

This action during a PP is called telegraphing your pass and subsequently will be picked off and catch Whitney flat footed (literally) pun intended.

So Whitney is forced to make ridicules passes into a congested area.

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#88 Oiler Al
February 08 2013, 10:19AM
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@Walter Sobchak

Walter Wes you are 100% correct, Whitney would have to make a "cross body " pass to Yak,which means shifting his body. With the quick passiing involved with power plays , Whitney takes the easier route out. With his ankle problems , shifting quickly is not happening.

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#89 @Oilanderp
February 08 2013, 10:21AM
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Trade everyone for picks! Infinibuild™! Yay!

*claps hands*

*goes back to Be a GM Mode in NHL 13*

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#90 Old Retired Guy
February 09 2013, 03:39PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

These injuries - with the exception of the Nugent-Hopkins day-to-day thing - have no connection to size/strength.

Shawn Horcoff, Eric Belanger and Anton Lander could all be 6'7", 260lbs and it wouldn't have made any difference. The puck would still have busted Belanger's toes, Horcoff's knucks, and whatever awful thing it did to Lander's leg.

I'm not sure about these injuries......but the Oilers have suffered more injuries than most teams over the last several years. And there is no doubt that size and skill have a lot to do with it.

Size for the obvious reasons....where size means small frames that come up against immovable objects like big frames (or with a really young frame like Nuge, he can fall into the boards on his own and come up injured)...young frames (that are not fully developed) that come up against old frames that are hard and grizeled...and inexperienced frames that don't know enough about how to protect themselves in a variety of situations...taking a hit...giving a hit....taking a pass with your head down, etc.

But also skill.....for years the Oilers were an underskilled team who tried to compensate for that with hard work and dedication....other teams could simply focus on hitting our 2 or 3 skilled players...so guys like Hemsky would take the brunt of it....and then the pluggers would be in over their heads and would have to OVER Extend themselves...opening them up to an increased risk of injury. So....things like size and team skill do matter when it comes to injury stats.

Lets not forget that its a new era in hockey....you never used to see 18 year olds playing in the bigs....now its pretty common.

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#91 Old Retired Guy
February 09 2013, 03:54PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Amen!

Hemsky's been one of the more consistent performers this year. The rumors of his return to form this year while playing in Czech are very much true.

He also had a great scoring chance off a sweet Yak hit in the neutral zone (see around 3:05):

http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=199551&cmpid=embed-share-video

he was buzzing. all hail!

It was pretty great to watch Ray Ferraro (who is a great commentator most of the time) have to eat his own BS last night as he colored Hemsky's game... Those guys (including many in the EDM media) ripping on him last year are looking dumber by the day... and they looked pretty dumb last year!

The guys ripping on Hemsky had to be doing so out of pure frustration or perhaps to sell newspapers (personally I found that the misperceptions about Hemsky were more from out of province media)

Most Oilers fans and media know that Hemmer has been the best Oiler for many years. They know he is talented and tough ( not soft) and is somewhat injury prone and also playing on a team that relies too heavily on him resulting in additional risk taking.

There is a basic reality with a guy like this who is now 27 and in his prime.....if it looks like Hemsky..its Hemsky.....if it doesn't look like Hemsky...then he's playing hurt.

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#92 Old Retired Guy
February 09 2013, 04:09PM
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David S wrote:

GAGNER WARZZZZZ!

WooOOoOoOOooO!!!

Beleive it or not, I don't think that there is that much differnce of opinion on Gagner. I think we all see his value...some estimate a little higher or a little lower....but I don't think the range is that large.

What creates the persception of Gagner wars has more to do with different peoples opinion of the Oilers organizational needs.

If you in the camp that thinks that more size and toughness is a neccessity (say to win the playoffs for example) then Gagner becomes a target for a trade.

Whereas if your in the camp that thinks the Oilers just need to build around their nucleus (i.e. keep all their current talent) and add a few more role players that address specific needs, like win more faceoffs, or add a fighter, or another big bodied defensemen like Fistric, etc. Then free agency and the draft seem more logical than trading a Gagner.

There are probably other camps our there with different overall strategies that I haven't mentioned here. Point is, I think it has less to do with a like or dislike for a specific player and more to do with a differnce of opinion on organizational needs and how to achieve them. I'm in the camp that says keep the nucleus (Nuge, Hall, Eberle, Yak, and J Schultz) and build around them. EVERYONE else is expendable if the RIGHT deal is there.

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