GDB 63.0: HAPPY TRAILS...

Jason Gregor
March 04 2014 04:07PM

Ales+Hemsky+Edmonton+Oilers+v+Phoenix+Coyotes+vZtV6nD2jdIl

Tonight will be Ales Hemsky's final game as an Edmonton Oiler. He will be traded before tomorrow's 1.p.m deadline. Hemsky played his first game as an Oilers on October 10th, 2002 against Philadelphia. He didn't score his first goal until his 26th game, January 4th, 2003 vs. Montreal, but during the past 11 hockey seasons his skill ranged from breathtaking to frustrating to dazzling and gutsy.

Hemsky made the playoffs as a rookie, but I'm sure he never dreamt that he would only play in the playoffs once during the subsequent 10 seasons. I can understand why Hemsky wants a new challenge in a new city, with new teammates and new fans. One post-season appearance in ten years would deflate anyone, and I fully expect Hemsky to play well on his new team.

I've always been a fan of Hemsky, but I also felt he could have been an even better player. The best players in the world work diligently to improve their game, and Hemsky rarely spent extra time in practice working on his shot or one-timer. I will always wonder how productive he could have been had he worked as hard as Ryan Smyth, or superstars like Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk and others.

Hemsky's combination of speed and fearlessness made him extremely exciting to watch. He never shied away from guys like Robyn Regehr, and all that punishment led to some extended stays on the IR. I never understood why people suggested he was soft. Hemsky went to the tough areas all the time, despite his smallish frame. Like most, I would have liked to see him shoot more, but that wasn't his game and it never will be.

I hope he plays well on his new team, and I'm sure he will get a big boost walking into his new team knowing he has a shot at the playoffs. Getting traded to a contender energizes every player.

Tonight could also be Ryan Smyth's final game of the season as an Oiler. I don't say final game ever, because I believe there is a chance the Oilers re-sign him this summer. Like Hemsky, Smyth has been to the Cup finals once in his career, and I know Smyth will sacrifice being away from his wife and four kids during the next few months for a shot at the Cup.

Here are some teams I feel Smyth could help down the stretch.

Smyth and Hemsky had very different styles, but when they played together they had excellent chemistry. I hope they find that on their new teams.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Yakupov
Hemsky-Gagner-Eberle
Hendricks-Gordon-Perron
Gazdic-Smyth-Jones

N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Fraser-Ference

Scrivens

Now that Scrivens has signed, I'd like to see the Oilers start him in 14 of their final 20 games. I see no reason in splitting the net. Ilya Bryzgalov has played well since Scrivens arrived, but Scrivens has a better chance of being a starter in the future, so why not give him more games now and see how he reacts.

Marincin is coming off his worst game of the year. Prior to Saturday's game vs. the Flames, the 2010 2nd round pick had played very well. Many players have off nights, but how they play the next game is what matters. Hopefully he brushes it off and plays like he had prior to Saturday. Eakins told me he plans to play him the same amount of minutes and in the same situations, but he also stated, "If Marty wants to play 20 minutes a night and in key situations he knows he can't make a play like he did on Saturday. He will learn from it," said the coach.

Marincin has been a pleasant surprise and I think he will respond with a solid game.

Due to the Bryzgalov trade the Oilers will dress U of A Golden Bears goalie Kurtis Mucha as the back up. 

QUICK HITS...

  • I spoke with Nick Schultz yesterday and he believes he will be moved. I feel Hemsky and Schultz are locks to be moved, while Smyth is about 75-25. If all three of them are dealt the Oilers will call up some players from OKC.

    Arcobello has 19 points in 9 games, and he'd be the obvious choice to replace Smyth at centre. I also think you will see Anton Lander (44 points in 40 games) and Oscar Klefbom at some point. You might not see all of them right away because the OKC Barons are in a playoff race.

    OKC is currently in 9th place, 3 points out of 8th and 5 out of 7th. The organization desperately wants their young players to get a taste of the postseason, so I doubt we will see a mass recall after the trade deadline.

  • I've said for the past two months that Pittsburgh could use Hemsky. They need a bit more speed in their top-six, and they haven't found a replacement for Pascal Dupuis. The Penguins don't have a 2014 2nd round pick, but I still think a deal can be had. Next year's draft is deeper, so the Oilers might be better off getting a pick from 2015.

  • The Detroit Red Wings are playing six left-shot D-men and some in Edmonton have speculated that Corey Potter could go there because he shoots right and has a connection with Tom Renney. Florida has two right shot D-men in Mike Weaver (just traded to Montreal) and Tom Gilbert. I'm sure they'd look at the Islanders' Matt Carkner before Potter. I'm sorry, but I don't see why a team would add a D-man who isn't a regular on the 29th place team. Potter was put on waivers today, so if the Wings are interested they can pick him up for nothing. I don't see it.

  • Anton Belov is out a few weeks with a torn oblique muscle, and Philip Larsen was put on waivers yesterday leaving the Oilers with six defencemen. When Nick Schultz gets moved we could see Taylor Fedun recalled. He shoots right so they could put him on the 3rd pair and put Ference back with J.Schultz.

    TONIGHT...

    leven-rambin-premiere-the-hunger-games-04

    GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will be hungry (Leven Rambin reference) for a victory after Saturday's brutal effort. The Senators, however, are in a fight for the playoffs and they need the points. Ottawa wins 4-3 in OT.

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nugent-Hopkins picks up two points. He had two goals and as assist in the Oilers 3-1 win over the Senators.

    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky scores his first career goal vs. the Senators leaving Washington and Edmonton as the only teams he has never scored against. 

    RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

    Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
    One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
    Avatar
    #101 Tuningout
    March 04 2014, 10:03PM
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    Man. My name is Tuningout. Game before the trade deadline and may be a last chance to see Hemsky. And this place is a ghost town. Maybe the Oilers are in trouble. I'm watching what looks to be a sold out croud at Rexall. But the comments are dead. Apathy ? Disgust ? Can the second/third tier fans make a difference. I don't know. But this is the first full game I've watched all year. And my biggest surprise has been how dead this blog is. Followed closely by Hemsky's play.

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    #102 Tuningout
    March 04 2014, 10:12PM
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    Sevenseven wrote:

    @ Gregor

    Off topic, but dustin penner only fetched a fourth round pic. Does anyone think Hemsky in relation is worth that much more? Or is Penner that much lower in value? Or did Washington get good value?

    Penner was a salary dump. Go to Lowetides blog. If Hemsky doesn't get a second. Well. The Oilers would be better off with a slight overpay to keep him.

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    #103 Anton
    March 05 2014, 01:57AM
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    Reg Dunlop wrote:

    We will enjoy the pick, thank you. And you be sure to enjoy the decline of the Sedins and Bieksa, the inevitable release of Gillis, the inevitable melt-down of Tortorella, the embarrassment of missing the playoffs for the next decade and cheering for Vancouver-the city of junkies and endless rain.

    Hey, I actually like the city though. Hate the team and their fans, but at least the city is warm.

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    #104 BobbyCanuck
    March 04 2014, 05:15PM
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    As an aside, atleast no Oilers on this list

    http://www.therichest.com/sports/hockey-sports/top-10-current-worst-contracts-in-the-nhl/

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    #105 Mason Storm
    March 04 2014, 07:33PM
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    Oilers89 wrote:

    I hear that New Jersey has to forfeit their 1st rounder this year. Which means there are 29 first rounders and if Buffalo finishes last their fourth rounder would be the last pick of the 3rd round in any other year. So it is arguably a very late 3rd.

    I love this argument. I'll stick to my guns tho and say that instead of being the 91st overall pick in the 4th round, it'll be the 90th overall pick in the fourth round. I'll concede that this player will be a 3rd round talent tho.

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    #106 RexHolez
    March 04 2014, 07:37PM
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    Jason. I just want to say that you are one of the greatest hockey minds of this generation. Your predictions always seem to be bang on. You're welcome.

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    #107 Tuningout
    March 04 2014, 09:55PM
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    Zamboni Driver wrote:

    Amazing that lazy play by Eberle ends up in a goal.

    Positive reinforcement for that crap is not a positive.

    I agree with you. But gave you your first trash because Eberle just scored. Poor timing.

    Please don't check all the posts because I totally did not try and trade him earlier. Simply didn't happen.

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    #108 Sevenseven
    March 04 2014, 10:08PM
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    @ Gregor

    Off topic, but dustin penner only fetched a fourth round pic. Does anyone think Hemsky in relation is worth that much more? Or is Penner that much lower in value? Or did Washington get good value?

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    #109 Tuningout
    March 04 2014, 10:15PM
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    According to this Oilers game. A nee vented Coors Light can cure virginity. Sweet ! What can cure Tambellini ?

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    #110 Sevenseven
    March 04 2014, 10:22PM
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    Tuningout wrote:

    Penner was a salary dump. Go to Lowetides blog. If Hemsky doesn't get a second. Well. The Oilers would be better off with a slight overpay to keep him.

    Okay thanks. Just thought penner and hemsky were in the same ballpark. Penner was having a fairly good year points wise anyways.

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    #111 john
    March 05 2014, 04:09AM
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    So Luongo traded to Florida, Tim Thomas is also there. They will be team mates, Luongo brought his bicycle air pump, he's hoping Thomas to pump his tires. Both will revive the Panthers, cup run soon haha.

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    #112 Richard
    March 04 2014, 05:55PM
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    Why play him ? and has a deal been made? Edmonton has showed their hand. They will take anything.

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    #113 bwar
    March 04 2014, 06:18PM
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    I think Hemsky brings in a better return than Penner. Anaheim was trying to dump salary for whatever other moves they make before the deadline. I expect them to make a substantial offer for either Vanek or Moulson which hopefully ends up driving up the price for a guy like Hemsky . I think we could get a 1st in return although it is unlikely. If the return is a 3rd I would rather just keep him around for the rest of the season.

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    #114 Mason Storm
    March 04 2014, 08:08PM
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    Mason Storm wrote:

    Trade him nowwwwwww

    Double post. Oops

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    #115 john
    March 05 2014, 04:11AM
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    Love to see Ryan Smyth win a cup this year, he deserves it. Captain Canada with cup ring to go with Olympic gold in 2002 and World Championship also.

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