Ticker Time…

On Friday morning as I was watching CNN a line came across on the ticker that caught my attention. It read "putting red line back won’t make NHL safe". It has bothered me since I read it.

I went onto their website to read the whole article. Nothing really new. The writer was talking about the general manger meetings coming up soon and his feeling that some of them would like to reinstate the red line to slow down the game and thus reduce the number of injuries. His actual article doesn’t really interest me but the line on the ticker does. Rarely is a NHL ticker line seen on CNN and when it does it has a negative slant.

"NHL safe?" I feel this leaves a lot of interpretation for the viewer. Is the whole NHL not safe? Is it like a ride at a random amusement park that has been on the fritz and needs to be overhauled to protect its riders?

Lets assume for a second that a father is thinking about taking his family to a game in Phoenix. He has heard from friends that hockey games are entertaining and fast paced but that they can also be very rough.

There are many big hits which can lead to fights, maybe not entertainment always suitable for kids. These are typical comments I would hear from people when I played in Chicago or New York, two established hockey markets. Phoenix is a long way from that.

The father is on the fence. If he saw that ticker line yesterday I bet he would just pull the plug on the idea and not go. The line "NHL safe" implies that the league is dangerous. Is this true? Sure, it can be. Injuries happen when sports are played at high speeds. I don’t think many bowlers or darters – if that what they are called? – spend much time on the injury reserve! But hockey is also a great sport played by great athletes. That is not implied in the CNN ticker line.

In order for this game to grow south of the border, it is not only the responsibility of the NHL and its players but also the media to get a positive message across about the sport.

HEMSKY

I know I am a little late on this topic but I just have to put my two cents in. I feel strongly that keeping Hemsky on this specific deal is a no brainer for both him and the Oilers. It is not often that can be said. Take a look at the deal just signed by Mikhail Grabovski with the Toronto Maple Leafs, an average of just over 5 million a year for the next 5 years. Anyone want to bet if he finishes that deal with Toronto?

When healthy, Hemsky is an electrifying puck carrier. He creates plays and headaches for defence man out of seemingly innocent situations. It is an unique ability.

If he would have been moved there would have been a hole left in the line up to filled. There are many prospects in the Oilers organization but will they all come up aces and be able to fill a 60-points man’s spot? I hope so but it is very unlikely. Keeping Hemsky keeps the spot filled now and doesn’t force the issue to rush a prospect. I have seen so many players careers get derailed or totally off track by teams rushing them. Does Detroit rush their young players?

Finishing off the season healthy. getting a good summer’s worth of workouts in and then coming into camp with all the injury talk behind him will prove that he is still the player that he believes he is and everyone wants him to be.

END OF THE ROAD

The mighty SSK came up a little short in our bid to reach the qualification series. Never sits well when you come up only a few points short of extending your season. It was a great experience though. Sweden is a great country filled with great people.

I am bringing home with me many new ideas on training, both on and off ice. I really respect the way they practice and prepare. I now understand why the Swedish players are so polished and professional when they come to North America to play.

If anyone visits Sweden make sure to get some pancakes with a side of Lingon berries. Hello!

    • Wanyes bastard child

      You missed a perfect opportunity for a Fist 🙁

      Something else I was wondering in regards to Hemsky as well Jason. Is there any way you can dispel those out there that believe that he is soft and lazy? Having played with him and if you can confirm for all of us that Hemsky is neither I’m sure a lot of people will be eating crow 😉

      • Wanyes bastard child

        Granted he will take a hit, there are too many who, like Hemsky, will not deliver one or stick up for themselves when someone is taking liberties. If a player produces like Eberle that is one thing….

  • book¡e

    “If anyone visits Sweden make sure to get some pancakes with a side of Lingon berries. Hello!”

    Good God man – where have you been? You need to stay away from pancakes, they are freaking dangerous. Oh, yeah, you have been in Sweden. I am guessing that not a lot of NHL or pancake news makes it across the ocean, but you need to check out what happened to Dustin Penner. The aftermath has not been pretty.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Great humor always needs great timing and a nice surprise. Well played, I had a belly laugh and props to you! Now I need a fist full of pancakes to finish it off!

  • Time Travelling Sean

    CNN is awful, just awful.

    I read somewhere that hockey isn’t sophisticated enough or something along those lines for upper middle-classish people.

    Not sure if it’s true seeing as they all watch the NFL but idk.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    We are privileged to be able to read these insights.

    I have a question, Mr. Strudwick sir, about the effect of fans and forums such as this one. What percentage of Oiler players would spend any time at all on a forum such as this. Does the analysis, criticism and second-guessing make any difference to actual NHL players?

    I have to think that one of the things that reduces Edmonton’s appeal to players is the relentless negativism coming from parts of the fanbase. Emotions have an impact. Does that impact reach into the dressing room?

    • Jason Strudwick

      Same for you Halfwise, Jason or Struds from now on!

      There are players who look at the traditional forms of media and the newer versions like blogs or twitter. I never understood who. To be honest I rarely did. Good or bad it shouldn’t have an impact on the way you approach your game. When a player is struggling some of the articles written will only bring you down and when you are rolling you don’t need anyone to tell you that you are. I do think they can have an impact on a player if they dwell on it to much.

      When I played for the Oilers some of my friends would email me an article or blog entry in which I was getting roasted for being to slow or something. They loved it! It never bothered me. You need think skin to be a professional athlete. Even Wayne Gretzky got some bad press!

      The flip side of that is in all my years of playing I was never once confronted by a fan who told me I was brutal. DId I just never run into someone who thought that way or did they have a change of heart when face to face? I always wondered about that. Sometimes take a second and think would I have the courage to say this to a players face instead of posting a comment from behind a computer? Something to think about.

      Edmonton fans are passionate which makes it a great place to play. It is just like the other Canadian cities. When you are winning you are the best and when you don’t the ride can be a little bumpy. It is a fact that free agents must weigh while making their choice of team but I firmly believe if you are winning players will come.

      I will be heading to Ikea for the Lingonberries! Thanks for the tip!

  • Wanyes bastard child

    still not a fan of the signing. More important than replacing his 5 goals is finding someone who is tough to play against. The Oilers can’t continue to have their top nine players all be soft.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    How can Marty Turco be good enough to play for the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins? Devan Dubnyk was so solid this yr he backstopped the Oilers all the way to 29th place finish. Why do the Oilers continue to waste their time and resources on Dubey?

    Devan should’ve been traded while the Oilers still had an audience. Turco can pull the puck out of the net every bit as good as Dubnyk can.

    Is it possible they forgot to polish Paajarvi,Omark and Lander before they were sent over. Doesn’t look like there’s much shine at all as they bounce back and forth between the AHL and NHL.

  • Even though the team came up short this season I would like to thank you for the professional job and effort you put into helping out our team. I´m glad to hear that you enjoyed your time over here. You are welcome back any time Strutsen!

  • justDOit

    Ok Struds knows Hemsky better than all of us but………….Hemsky is no seemingly more prone to injuries and showed very little chemistry with other players.

    This above all is most concerning and confounding! Just who has he ever had any real chemistry with?

  • Jason,

    One of my pet peeves is the media’s treatment of “Danger” in the NHL. It seems to me that they are trying to save the athletes from themselves. These guys rail against fighting, headshots, and any other topic du jour in hopes to change the way the game is played and officiated.

    As a player, how do you feel about outside forces trying to change the game and trying to protect players from themselves?

  • Zack

    I’d be interested to see where all the hits occur that lead to injuries. I really enjoy your insight Struds! I’m curious what kind of off ice training techniques you have picked up.

  • Aitch

    Putting the redline back in, won’t stop the devastating open-ice hit like the one Yakupov took the other night. The only thing that’s gonna make the game safer is the players learning a little more respect for each other. But as long as there is big money on the line there will always be players willing to cross the safety line when looking for their next payday.

    Lingonberries are known as partridgeberries in North America… so, you don’t need to go to Sweden to enjoy some pancakes with ’em.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    we all know some people think its to rough.well then don’t watch.you can’t make everyone happy,some friends and i were taking about that this past weekend,we all agreed it is NOT as exciting to watch as it has been in the past,and some are not watching anymore period.keep in mined these friends im talking about have been season ticket holders since the seventies.now that the nhl has mostly elliminated fighting now they are targetting big hits.many think the players are to soft with a concussion being the flavor of the year,football has less concussions and they hit helmet to helmet,i hope they are getting new fans that like the softer hockey,because i know they are losing some of their die hard fans.

  • I tried it at home

    Well written, Mr Strudwick. Back when you were first announced as a writer for ON I got pissy with the hero worship ( as I saw it) and asked what for or why you should be given a writers spot. Having read your articles, pardon me while I get some salt and Saskatoon berries, to help me eat my words.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hey Jason…stopped by the SEC Ikea last evening. The only thing the food bar in there had on hand for lingonberries was a jam and a concentrated liquid you perhaps add water to. No fresh Lingonberry sightings as of yet.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Really sorry to hear that you do not stay in SSK. You gave a really big impression on us fans!
    The respect that the other players had for you on the ice was incredible.
    Would have loved to seen you dance with Hudacek on the ice after a game, but I guess you gave us enough show just to watch you play the game.
    We will never forget you, # 34.