HEMSKY THE SNIPER?

While we wait to see if the lockout will actually end, Ales Hemsky is scoring goals at rate he hasn’t seen in 12 years. In the 2000/2001season Hemsky was a rookie with the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL. He scored 36 goals and 100 points in 68 games enroute to being drafted 13th overall.

Since his rookie season in Hull, he has never scored as often as he is this year for Pardubice in the Czech Republic.
In 2001 Hemsky was scoring at a 0.52 goal-per-game ratio, and his highest since junior was in 2011 when he tallied 14 goals in 47 games for the Oilers.

"It’s only the Czech league Gregor, you can’t compare," some of you are likely thinking right now. That is true, but keep in mind that during the 2004 lockout Hemsky tallied 13 goals and 31 points in 47 games for Pardubice. In only 26 games this year he’s already surpassed that with 14 goals and 32 points.

Ladislav Smid has played against Hemsky this year and he talked about his play.

"He’s been dominating the league. He and (David) Krecji have been almost impossible to stop. Hemmer is finally healthy for the first time in a few years and it shows. He is stronger, and looks so much more confident on the ice. One-on-one he is one of the hardest players to defend, and this year finally being healthy, he’s been even harder to stop. Right now he’s sick good."

Smid loves the word sick, but he doesn’t use it unless he thinks it’s warranted. Smid and I discussed Hemsky on my show last week, and after the show was over we talked about Hemsky and Smid was even very complimentary of his play. He told me that Hemsky looked so much more comfortable and Hemsky told him he hasn’t felt this healthy in years.

If Hemsky’s shoulder problems are behind him, he could have a huge year for the Oilers. Much of the focus has been on Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz because we’ve been able to watch their games on line and follow them more closely, but Hemsky looks great according to Smid. His stats back up that claim.

This lockout is beyond annoying, but for Oiler fans it has to be even more frustrating because after six years of losing the Oilers look poised to finally compete for a playoff spot. I still have some concerns about the Oilers overall size, and depth on their blueline as well as an unproven goalie, but I’m also very intrigued to see how they’d do in a short season.

Recently I’ve seen some suggest that Hemsky could be trade bait if the lockout ends, but I’d caution that move. Unless you are going to get a proven top-six winger with size, or a proven top-four D-man there is no way I’d deal Hemsky when the lockout ends. The Oilers need to be competitive this year, and after listening to Smid rave about Hemsky’s health and his play I think he might be more of a factor than some fans believe.

This is just another reason to end this &*(&)@&*)# lockout.

P.S As of today, the NHL has combined for 510 days of lockouts over the past 18 years. Take a bow NHL, you continue reaching new levels of unbelievable stupidity.

FINAL DAY

Today is the 15th and final day in our Month of Giving. Yesterday we raised another $2,500 for Santas Anonymous. Sweet.

We had one final package planned for today, but last night I got a phone call from the GM or the Oklahoma City Barons, Bill Scott, so now we have two packages.

Item One: A signed OKC Barons jersey. The winner will choose whether they want it to be an Eberle, RNH, Hall or J. Schultz jersey. You can pick, that player will sign his jersey and then we will ship it to you. This will be a collector’s item in a few years for sure.

Item Two:  You will be picked up and driven home in a Blue Sky Limo. In between you and five of your friends will dine at one of Edmonton’s best restaurants, Vivo Ristorante. Greg and his staff will ensure it is a very memorable evening.

The Package includes an eight-course meal and includes all your wine and drinks. I will be there to pour your wine and hang up your coats, and you will also have three other special guests join you for dinner: Jason Strudwick, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Bidding goes from 2 p.m. to 5:55 p.m and you can call 780.426.8326 or text 101260 to bid. Thanks in advance. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR