The Hemsky Quote Everyone Is Talking About


If you’ve missed it, there’s a story in the Calgary Herald from yesterday where Ales Hemsky publicly complains about the way he has been handled.

Dan Barnes, for my money the best sports columnist in Edmonton, writes the piece and does his best to soften Hemsky’s complaints, but here’s the money quote:

“I’m just trying to do exactly what they want. I’m becoming a checker,” he said with obvious displeasure after Monday’s practice. “We’re just doing what we have to do to win games. I’m not complaining. It’s important to win the games. I just don’t feel as important as I did before when they were riding me. I don’t feel they use me as much as they did before. If they don’t give me the confidence or trust me, I will never be playing the way I was before, the way they want. I’m just saying I don’t care about points. I know I didn’t play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But they have got to show me they need me. Ride me. It’s 10 games. I will feel important and I will get better every game.”

The responses have been about what you would expect. The vast majority of people seem to think that either a) Hemsky’s being a big baby, or b) Craig MacTavish just moved much, much closer to the chopping block.

Personally, I’m not convinced it’s that big of a deal. Do a quick Google search for “unhappy ice time” if you don’t believe me. There are pages and pages of players complaining about their ice-time — it happens.

At the same time this isn’t a complete non-story either. Hemsky’s a star player, and there’s an obvious disagreement between him and MacTavish over his exact role. Hemsky feels that he deserves more ice-time, and I’m not at all convinced he’s wrong, although he hasn’t really earned a heavy workload this last little while.

The bottom line though is that it isn’t all that uncommon for a hockey player — even one as notable as Hemsky — being unhappy with the ice-time that the coach is giving him. So don’t expect this quote to result in much more than a talk between the coach and the star, and perhaps a few extra shifts for Hemsky; that’s about all it warrants. And as for the notion that Hemsky’s being petulant or whiny – isn’t a star player who wants to play more a good thing? While Hemsky may not have handled things ideally, the root motive — a desire to play a bigger and better role — is only a positive for this team.

  • Hippy

    Sorry Mr. Hemsky but you have been a turnover machine for the last 20 games.

    How can you blame McTavish for wincing every time you go out there in a close game?

    Suck it up and start playing like you did before and you will see loads of ice time.

  • Hippy

    Right on Hemmer, you tell them. You are a star player being treated like a checking forward.

    What you gonna do, trade him for speaking his mind. I wish more Oilers would really say what they are feeling.

    How do you patch this up when it would appear the only way to get his message across was to go the the media?

  • Hippy

    Untie the rope; rid the leash. Let him play his game. Hemsky has never been a major liability on defense so whats up with this new concept? Hemmer a checker? Let him control the game. He has that ability so why take it away from him. Besides, the best defense is a strong offence. You could see him sagging out there. We need a happy, confident Hemsky. Bottom line!

  • Hippy

    HOLY SHIT!!!!!


    I can't remember Hemsky ever really saying anything in the papers before.

    MacT – thou are so fired.

    *shakes head in dismay that the quiet Hemsky is talking like this*


  • Hippy

    this article just makes me like hemsky more, hes a champ. If he wants more ice time why wouldnt you throw him a couple extra shifts in the second and third, maybe play him with cogs.

  • Hippy

    You can't teach an elephant to be a monkey… let the elephant be an elephant and construct a jungle around him. Then see what happens.

    Good for Hemmer for saying how he feels. We, as fans, are too often fed the censored opinions of the players… let'er rip. Tell us how you really feel.

  • Hippy

    Asking Ales to be a complete player is hardly a bad thing. I always felt his max potential was as a Datsyuk/Zetterberg type guy. Someone that could put up 30+ goals 85+ points and play a solid all around game to boot. He's hitting "prime age" now… time to step up and take the next step… or retreat back as a secondary "offense only" type guy.