This Just In: Hemsky’s Really Good!!!

Among the things I thought we’d never need to say: Ales Hemsky is a very good NHL hockey player. His contract is exceptional, the tragedy of these years since 2006 summer is that the team didn’t get more from it. Recently on this blog and others, questions about Hemsky’s ability on the powerplay have come to the fore.

Numbers published on this blog and others frame the issue in a most negative fashion. I don’t understand the rationale and I certainly don’t agree with the “framed math.” So let’s set some things straight. Below are the leaders (by year) at 5×4/60 points-per-game for the Edmonton Oilers since 2007-08. Based on 50 games and 3 minutes per game PP time.

  1. Ales Hemsky 5.93
  2. Dustin Penner 4.07
  3. Shawn Horcoff 4.00


  1. Ales Hemsky 5.00
  2. Shawn Horcoff 3.68
  3. Sam Gagner 3.12


  1. Dustin Penner 6.92
  2. Ales Hemsky 5.88
  3. Mike Comrie 5.56

Source is the brilliant Gabriel Desjardins and of course 2009-10 numbers are not at the 50 game mark. All three seasons have 3:00 minutes or more TOI at 5×4. Hemsky’s 05-06 number at 5×4 btw was 5.45, making him an extremely consistent powerplay performer.

I’m one of those who believe Sam Gagner may eventually take over from Hemsky, and in fact Gagner this season (5.85) is very good. However, if the argument is that Gagner is ready to take over the Hemsky role I think we’d need more proof than running alongside for 19 games of one season.

We’re going to have plenty of time to talk about Gagner v. Hemsky on the powerplay over the next couple of seasons. I’m hoping we can keep it from becoming personal and vicious, but after the last couple of days am not confident we can do it.

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87 Responses to "This Just In: Hemsky’s Really Good!!!"

  1. Unleaded says:

    It's a copy and paste from the last thread… but I'm lazy, and it still applies.

    To be really honest, I think it has a lot to do with two things.

    First, the fanbase here is getting (understandably) frustrated with the futility of cheering for this team. We all know that the team is unbalanced. We all know what needs to be done to fix it. Yet it isn't happening, and moreover, it hasn't been happening for as long as we have been able to see it.

    Therefore, fans are slowly going crazy. It's like an itch that you can never reach, and never goes away. You try to ignore it, you try to scratch it, you try to anyhting you can to distract yourself, but no matter what, you still have that GD itch.

    Secondly, since we can all see the problems, and the potential solutions to the obvious problems, and see that the Oilers braintrust is not addressing them, it leaves us all wondering what the "real problem" is. It leads to conspiracy theories, and questioning people who are doing good work. ANd it leads to utterly ridiculous conclusions.

    It is the same way with Hemsky this year as it was with Penner last year, and has been with Horcoff since we dumped the rest of our veteran centres. Are they playing badly? No. But they could be playing much better if…(insert unlikely scenario here). Everyone loves Pens now that he is shooting the lights out. Why can't the rest of these bums be more like Penner?

    The Irony is so rich I wish I could bottle it and sell it. I'd be rich enough to buy the Oilers myself in 10 years when Daryl figures out he's screwed the pooch and needs an exit strategy…

  2. Mr DeBakey says:

    Hemskey's 5.0 Pts/60 was 26th best in the NHL last season:

    TODDWHITE 5.58

    He fiinished just ahead of Stillman and Spezza.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Unleaded: Maybe, but Hemsky's powerplay point total? That's a good, consistent number. Surely there are better places to harangue.

  4. Black Dog says:

    The worst thing that ever happened to this club, well that is an exaggeration of course, was that run at the end of two seasons ago. Other than the fact that it saved us from seeing Burke get a lottery pick it set up a whole bunch of straw men, some of which persist to this day.

    1/ The team was really really good and just needed tweaking, I mean with that run they had they almost made the playoffs.

    2/ The kids were ready for primetime, they took the ball and ran with it.

    3/ This team is better without Horcoff than with.

    4/ Bring in more kids, the more the better, the vets are lazy, overpaid, useless etc etc

    5/ Robert Nilsson was worth the contract he got.

    Kevin Lowe bought these as much as the fans, based on his work.

    Nilsson got hot for two months and his career was basically on the line to boot. He has done nothing since.

    He and the other kids got hot and lucky. Two weeks ago or so they got reunited. What a shit show. And this is eighteen months down the line.

    And so on and so forth.

    I think Unleaded is right. Fans are frustrated. But all of this talk about getting rid of this team's best players when they have very few good ones at all is completely ridiculous. What this team needs is some guys who can play this game up front. They have a nice D and the goaltending is decent. The depth at LW and at C is atrocious. RW is not much better.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Mr. Debakey: Quite true. 26th overall. Now, Washington had three players in the top 10 and Anaheim also had three quite high, so it brings up another question: how would Hemsky have done with a better team?

  6. Lowetide says:

    Oh, and by the way, let's list the same numbers for 07-08:

    1. Kovalev 8.07
    2. Hemsky 5.93

    Just saying.

  7. Mr DeBakey says:

    Vinnie Thehorseman is on neither list

  8. Lowetide says:

    I'm sorry, but we're only going to discuss 50 games played and 3 minutes per game. Otherwise we're going to get the same crazy conversations we had last night.

  9. Mr DeBakey says:

    50/3 is the criteria I used

  10. Lowetide says:

    Nope. Jere Lehtonen played 48 games.

  11. Unleaded says:



    Mental Illness?

    Canucks/Flames Fan?
    (is that the same as mental illness?)

    Hell, for all I know, it's some attempt to manipulate management. "Well gee… we've been saying the team needs X, Y, and Z, but no one on the team seems to get that… Maybe if I say that A, B, and C, need to happen, they'll do X, Y, and Z…"

    The whole point is that they are acting CRAZY. It has nothing to do with rational thought, measuring sticks, or anything else. THese people were told that they would have a team that would be good to great for the last 4 years. It has been Titanic in its failure to live up to that level of performance. So they are getting pissed off. Hell! We've all been rather beligerant fans for a while now, and we all just keep coming back and hoping things will get better.

    I'm not saying they're right to want Hemsky traded. No one with half a brain is saying that. Hell, Kevin Lowe isn't even saying that. I'm saying that people wanting hemsky moved is a big indicator of dissatisfaction with the team. They realize that something big has to change with this team.

    If we had intelligent, responsive managment, they would clue into this, and act accordingly.

    Unfortunately, with the group we have now, I half expect they will move Hemsky.

  12. Bruce says:

    Part of the problem here is there is no apparent middle ground. People who try to say "I like Ales but wish he would do these things" seem to get lumped in the "Ales Hemsky is a Bad, Bad Man" and/or the "Trade Ales for a Sack of Pucks" clubs.

    Other guys get put under the microscope on an ongoing basis, and sometimes it does get pretty vicious ("Ethan Moreau is a fucking tool" and many other similar comments come to mind). Is Hemsky off limits to criticism for some reason?

    I need to know before I make any further comments.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: I know you'll back up opinion with facts. I look forward to seeing your thoughts.

  14. kris says:

    Yeah LT and Unleaded,

    Edmonton fans -the average fan who doesn't know all of the players names and the "immature," willfully ignorant fan who phones into call in shows- have a habit of finding one guy and trying to blame all our problems on him.

    It happened with Arnott and got ridiculously out of hand.

    I seem to remember that it started to happen with Smyth a few times, but he was consistent and made a name for himself as dedicated, and it never got out of hand.

    It happened with Horcoff.

    When it happens, it has little to do with reality.

    It's really strange. In other towns, the average fans seem to blame the whole team and coaching and management especially: a sort of "throw all the bums out!"

    In Edmonton that doesn't seem to happen as much.

    I don't live there, so maybe you guys disagree, or maybe you can explain it. It's inscrutable to me.

  15. Vic Ferrari says:


    I haven't read the threads you're referring, but I suspect that some people are just trying to wind you up. Either that or they're high. I either case I'd avoid engaging them.

    Black Dog:
    Well said. Oddly enough the same thing crossed my mind the other day, after the COL game. Reading Scott's stuff on the Av's scoring chances really shows how much luck can play into a streak. There are 30 teams in the league, at any given time one of them is bound to be on a tear fuelled by unsustainable shooting and save percentages. Oddsmakers still don't like the Avs, they never liked the Oilers on their 0708 hot streak either. Shit happens.

    Lowe bet on percentages, and going by talk radio, 99% of Oiler fandom was on board with his moves. So when it went for a crap Lowe didn't take the heat … after all Joe fan was 100% on board with his moves, this after due diligence (confirming with video game simulations). So what was wrong?

    The coach of course! The use of Penner argument was No. 1, and patently foolish, the 'playing to the score' arguments are genuinely bonkers.

    Change coach … still not good, even when they were winning early they weren't outchancing anyone.

    Who to blame now? Apparently Hemsky, going by Lain's remarks above, and assuming that he's serious.

    I could have spent my lifetime studying foolishness and I still wouldn't have seen that coming. Hilarious.

    The Oilers will be a better than average team when they have a better than average roster. There are no magic pills IMO.

  16. Bruce says:

    LT: Thanks. Not now, I'm preparing to teach my Thursday evening astronomy class. Maybe later if the thread is still open (!). Please folks, keep it civil.

    For the record, I don't believe I have ever once (seriously) suggested trading Ales Hemsky. He has been Oilers' top offensive player since the lockout. I am, however, open to moving anyone if it will improve the hockey club; it would have to be one hell of a return in his case.

  17. knighttown says:

    I stayed out of it the other night because frankly, you didn't seem like you wanted to talk about. But hell, you made this post so I'll take that as an invite.

    All through the other post the anti-Hemsky group kept saying the same thing and you kept either ignoring it or dismissing it.

    Very simply, if you measure power play performance by points per 60, Hemsky is damned good and over time, likely the teams best option.

    However, the argument is that every play runs through him. If that is the case, OF COURSE he will have the best points per 60…no one else has a chance. You used the QB analogy. It's like saying the starting QB is the better player because he has more yards and touchdowns than the backup. Of course he does. He gets all the opportunities.

    In football, we can measure completion percentage and QB rating to see past the gaudy boxcars and the equivalent in hockey is GF/60.


    19- 10.16
    71- 9.75
    27- 8.90
    89- 8.18
    44- 8.00
    83- 7.05

    Ranked about 90th in the NHL. Deven Setoguchi is at 15.35.


    27- 6.88
    44- 6.72
    89- 6.50
    83- 6.30

    Ranked about 200th. Nick Backstrom leads at 12.15.


    83- 7.9
    27- 7.13
    89- 6.93

    Ranked 20th. Mark Streit leads at 10.01.

    Now is it as clear that the power play is better when Ales Hemsky is on the ice?

    Is it also as clear that an Ales Hemsky run power play can run at elite levels and therefore is above reproach?

    I'd say a stronger argument for your side would be that two different coaching staffs have given him the keys. That I'd support.

  18. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: The only reasonable argument I can see for replacing Hemsky would be a better QB being available. I've suggested many times that Gagner may be that player, but can't see another candidate.

    Can you? And, if not, then why the rush?

  19. godot10 says:

    //Unleaded: Maybe, but Hemsky's powerplay point total? That's a good, consistent number. Surely there are better places to harangue.//

    I don't want to trade Hemsky. I just want him to attack the box occasionally on the powerplay. (I first made this complaint back in the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs when I first began reading this blog. I mostly blamed MacT for the absence of a down low attack option on the power play. But MacT is gone, so now I blame Hemsky.)

    It is not about Hemsky's individual power play numbers. It is the team numbers.Even with Pronger, the best a Hemsky-run powerplay has been is average. A top ten power play is critical to being a Stanley Cup contender.

    I believe that with a talent like Hemsky the Oilers power play should be in the top ten, instead of mediocre. It is mediocre because Hemsky, as the power play quarterback, doesn't ever attack the box. You have to attack the box occasionally to open up the passing lanes and the point shots.

    I am critical of Hemsky because I believe in the player, not because I don't.

  20. Lowetide says:

    And the goals-for argument over the points-for doesn't wash imo.

  21. kris says:


    I wish Hemsky was Ovechkin. He's not.

    I guess the question is this: do you think Hemsky should be criticized -in any way- for his play right now? Or for the fact that he could be -at least theoretically- a 40 goal guy?

    I'd say no. (Hemsky has deserved criticism a few times in the past, some bad decisions one on one. But this year, I think he's got that under control.)

    So you can say, "wouldn't it be better if Hemsky did X on the PP, wouldn't it be better if he were Malkin, etc." The answer is yes of course.

    But I think LT is reading that as implied criticism, and if it is it's entirely misplaced. It would be like criticizing Zorg for not scoring 15 goals or for not posting a positive Corsi against tough opposition.

    Maybe you don't mean it as criticism, just something intersting about the finer points of an offensive player's game.

    Or perhaps you merely mean to assert the truism that Hemsky isn't one of the top 10 forwards in the league. (Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Datsyuk, Heatley, Thorton, Gaborik, Nash, Zetterberg, Kopitar?)

    But I get the sense that you mean it as criticism.

    Maybe it helps to get concrete:

    How many offensive RW's are clearly better than Hemsky?

    How many offensive forwards are clearly better than Hemsky?

  22. Lowetide says:

    godot10: If we're talking about PP structure then that's a different issue and certainly worth talking about. However, last season and seasons before we all agreed that it was too stagnant and the blame was on MacT.

    Why is this Hemsky's fault? That's my point. Why is it that for years we talked about the coaching being a PP issue and now all of the blame swings to the team's most talented powerplay performer?

    Does Hemsky design the PP? Does Hemsky force others to pass the puck? Your point about forcing the issue is fine, but Hemsky does in fact shoot more and iirc this is less of an issue than it has ever been.

    It seems to me someone yelled fire in a theatre and people lost their religion.

  23. kris says:

    Here's the guys who I think are better than Hemsky right now:

    Kopitar, Nash, Ovechkin, Gaborik, Thorton, H. Sedin, Parise, Stastny, Alfredsson, St. Louis, Getzlaf, Crosby, Iginla, Zetterberg, Richards, Datsyuk, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Toews, Kane

    That's 20 guys.

    I'm willing to listen to arguments about all sorts of other players being better: Lecavalier, etc. But I'd argue Hemsky is in the same tier with about 10-12 of these guys. some of them have better results because they're playing with stars: Perry, etc.

    That means if you were to take the 30 best forwards in the league and draft them, Hemsky would be one of the guys drafted. I call that elite.

    Of course, there's a strong chance young guys like Stamkos and Tavares will be clearly better than Hemsky by the end of next year, but then again St. Louis and Alfredsson are aging and will deteriorate. So the number of guys better than Hemsky should stay reasonably constant.

    And remember, Hemsky is not quite in his prime!

  24. mjsh says:

    This team is 8-9-2. One of its two best defensemen has played just over two games, its second best defenseman missed time,all of what was the starting first line has missed the last few games.

    Two of the guys that should have brought better balance, JFJ and Stone have missed a number of games as well.

    There is one consistant theme to this year over last and that is effort. Both Ottawa and Buffalo blew the Oil out last year around this time. This year the Buffalo goalie stole the two points and the Ottawa game was a toss up.

    There is progress being made.

    LT. I think you wrote a year or so ago that it was likely one of the kid line would not make it. Sure looks like Nillson is that guy. Too bad cause I kinda like him.

    I remember MacT. talking some time ago about streaks and he said often towards the end of a streak, teams win games they should not win and towards the end of a losing streak,teams lose games, they should have won.

    The tide is turning. This team is going to go on a streak soon and put some wins together. I base this not on math but on the saw him good side of things.

  25. kris says:

    Our PP last year was badly designed.

    We used Souray's point shot a lot, but we did it so much that we became predictable.

    Hemsky to Souray was a common refrain.

    That -I think- is partly responsible for Hemsky's high number of assists and lower number of PP goals.

    We need to find a way to make

    Hemsky-Gagner-Penner-Souray-Vis work.

    I know the Vis-Souray thing was a problem last year. It really shouldn't be.

    2nd unit


    That second unit -or really any unit you can come up with- isn't shooting from the point, and there's nobody big enough to create traffic, so it'll use a different set of plays.

  26. Matt N says:

    Hemsky isn't the problem.

    The problem on the PP and for that matter the whole team is that they just aren't that good.

    3 years and counting outside of the playoffs. This roster just doesn't have enough offensively gifted players to make a great PP. They don't have enough "actual NHL players" to compete 5 on 5 at a high level.

    In recent memory we have seen Zorg, Staios, Moreau, Potulny and other "limited players", taking a shift with the man advantage. These gentlemen should only be seeing an NHL PP when it is being done by another team.

    Hemsky is fine, the rest of the team has sucked and sucked bad since he broke into the league.

  27. knighttown says:

    knighttown: The only reasonable argument I can see for replacing Hemsky would be a better QB being available. I've suggested many times that Gagner may be that player, but can't see another candidate.

    Can you? And, if not, then why the rush?

    Hmm, very interesting question. Over the last three seasons, the GFOn for 89 is 7.20 and 83 is a nearly identical 7.08. I'd suggest 89 gets to run 1, maybe two per game. If nothing else, it's a different look, especially on 5 minute power plays.

    And the goals-for argument over the points-for doesn't wash imo.

    Really? It's an established metric from Desjardins. I also clearly outlined some theory behind the math; the guy with the most touches gets the most points. Never said over point/60, just another weapon in the math arsenal.

  28. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: I think we can all agree that Hemsky is more pass than shoot, so that he's never (and no one should expect) going to be a strong goals for/pp option.

    That's not who he is ever going to be, we can agree on that much.

  29. knighttown says:

    GF ON/60 not GF/60.

  30. Coach pb9617 says:

    I'd trade anyone on the team if the return was right, but good luck getting equal return on Hemsky at this point.

    Unless you could scare up something like Stephen Weiss and Andrew Cogliano in return, you're going to get screwed.

    Why the rush to anoint Gagner? He's struggling at times and he can't drink in the US yet. You want to put the additional pressure of the power play leader on him? What happens when the power play goes south for 15 games? Will you call for his head?

    Will you try and trade him too?

  31. Coach pb9617 says:

    And the goals-for argument over the points-for doesn't wash imo.

    GF ON is a pretty reliable stat. If we can count on it at EV, why not on the PP?

  32. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: Ah, gotcha. I understand your point.

  33. Woodguy says:

    But all of this talk about getting rid of this team's best players when they have very few good ones at all is completely ridiculous.

    Who is saying this in threads on Lowetide?

    I have not seen that at all.

  34. Jenga says:

    For all the hand wringing and complaining about how bad th PP is (godot10 and Matt N) it should be noted that the Oilers PP is ranked 10th overall, and before the collapse last night was 5th overall. And that us without the bomb from the back.

    There are things to be critical of this year, but the powerplay (so far) is not one of them.

  35. quain says:

    Hemsky isn't a first line center either!

  36. MattM says:

    So, if I get you correctly, what you are suggesting is that Hemsky's quality PP/60 may not be indicative of being an excellent PP player because the problem is that no one else is getting the opportunity? Can we test this idea statistically?

    I feel like GFON/60 is going to give guys too much credit for other people's work. Can we run the PP/60 with and without Hemsky for everyone, or is that going to be too plagued by small sample size and qualteam issues to be worthwhile? If there are players who spike significantly by this measure, it seems to me that it might be indicative that they deserve a stronger chance to run the powerplay. If everyone is worse without Hemsky, it seems likely that he's the straw that stirs the drink there, no?

  37. rickibear says:

    Lt: if the PP flows thru a player there point total better be the best of the group. The GF as a unit are a reflection of that quarterback.

    Framing that he was the best option on the PP. is not wrong. But if you compare him and his results he has been elite versus the rest of the league 1year out of 3+. He has been average the other 2+ years.

    He has become a great but predictable rush player who with the help of a tough MIn C and LW been able to handle the toughs.

    But on the PP you want your best options. You and I will agree to differ on wether gagner or Hemsky should be the First unit side board QB.

    Kovalev has been the best the last two years. Watch his play and pick which of our two is similiar.

    Hemskey's 5.0 Pts/60 was 26th best in the NHL last season

    If you ignore the second units of PP. Thats real logical.

    Hey lets ignore the 2nd, 3rd , and fourth lines at ev when ranking guys.

    I'm sorry, but we're only going to discuss 50 games played and 3 minutes per game. Otherwise we're going to get the same crazy conversations we had last night.

    Proper analysis requires a sample. Not a Half sample.

    Yep LT: hemsky ws the 26th best of of half the group.

    LT: your better than this. That is why I come to your site.

  38. Vic Ferrari says:

    Jenga said:

    For all the hand wringing and complaining about how bad th PP is it should be noted that the Oilers PP is ranked 10th overall.

    That's a helluva point, Jenga.

    I wonder who is running the Oilers PP? Quinn has never used a forward on the point in his career afaik. I remember in the ill conceived World Cup of Hockey he ran into a rash of Dman injuries and ended up using Eric F. Brewer on the PP.

    The announcer pointed out that Quinn had run out of PP Dman options. The colour guy counted down the roster and found 8 or 9 forwards who regularly had the PP point gig on their NHL teams.

    Pat just didn't like to use forwards for the job.

    And we've seen O'Sullivan play a bunch there. I haven't looked at the numbers, but by eye he seems to do everything well except get the shots through. Which is a huge problem. Yet they persist. Whether that is wise or not is another matter, but I have to think that someone other than Quinn has the PP reins for the Oilers. I'm going to guess that it's Renney.

  39. Black Dog says:

    Woodguy – I've been reading it for years. Here and elsewhere. There are certain folks who have been calling for Hemsky to get moved for a couple of years, everytime he makes a bad play some jackass will chime in with 'thats why they need to trade Hemsky'

    And Horcoff. And Gilbert. Just to name a couple of the usual whipping boys.

    I have no problem with trading a guy IF it will make the team better. I liked Stoll and Greene but to bring in Lubo they had to go. I wasn't sure about the Heatley deal but it was not so much about the guys going out as the guy coming back – I just don't like the guy. Personal preference.

    But the whole kneejerk drag a guy through the mud/send him out of town/call him a stupid tool for whatever reason is tiresome. Take Ethan Moreau. Guy is on his last legs and he is limited as a hockey player these days. But the personal animosity towards the guy is beyond ridiculous. The guy has played his heart out and played hurt time and time again for this club. For years and years he has done this. He gives to the community, so much so that he won a league wide award last season, and by all accounts he does his best with the kids and newcomers to the club, taking his role as leader seriously, making sure that they feel part of the club.

    Is his penchant for taking bad penalties infuriating? Sure. Is he basically done as a player? Sure he is.

    But you'd think he was a baby killer the way people talked about him.

    Never mind Pisani or Reddox or Horcoff or Staios to name a few examples.

    Hemsky has played the entire year either hurt or sick or both. He's struggling a bit. He probably shouldn't have played last night by all accounts and his bad shoulder will likely need surgery next summer by the sounds of it.

    And he'll play through it as best he can. He's getting paid excellent money to do so, of course, but he'll also do it because as he has proven over the years the kid has a lot of guts.

    But as we saw when he struggled at the beginning of the season and everyone immediately pushed to get to the front of the line to throw him under the bus that doesn't really count for a whole lot.

  40. The other John says:

    Here's what I think but I do not back it up with stats, stats within stats, Corsi, inverted Corsi, etc.

    Hemsky is a marvelously talented player who, outside of Ovechkin, may be one of the most exciting players to watch. He does not shoot enough and does not play with another remarkably gifted offensive player like many identified above that would elevate his points.

    Leaving aside his contract I would not trade him but add in his ++++value contract in a cap world….for all but astonishing players….he is untouchable (ok, ok you offer me Stamkos or Toews, Ales, I hope you like TB/Chi).

    But, and it always circles back to Oiler management, why do they not get Hemsky an elite NHL trigger man to play with. Find him a compatible player that accentuates his skills….vision, passing, anticipation and he might jump to a top 10 player (with a $4.1 m contract)

    Even though Penner is playing like a beast…. I think a one shot shooter would maximize playing with Hemsky

    Trade him…..sure for 8 to 10 guys in the league….tops particularly on a team where we overpay other players….we NEED his contract

  41. kris says:

    Second unit PP's see weaker PK units more of the time no?

    So isn't comparing the first and second units apples and oranges? Or at the very least, don't we need to look at qual comp. here.

    If the Flames throw Iginla over the boards on the PP, we try to get Pisani out as much as possible, no?

    Second and much more importantly, if you're talking about guys who see 1.25 minutes of PP time over let's say 65 games, that's only 81.25 total time on ice.

    That's a real, real small sample size IMO.

    By contrast, think of how small a sample size 5 games is. Well if a guy plays 16 minutes of ice time a game and plays 5 games, he says 81.25 total time on ice.

    So alot of guys might have unnaturally inflated GFON/60 5×4, if they don't play about 3 minutes a game over like 70 games. That's 210 total minutes, which is still a fairly small sample size, about the equivalent of 13 games of ES ice time for a guy who plays 16.25 minutes a game.

    So with the PP GFON/60 isn't useful unless you've got a large sample size (multiple seasons), qual comp., qual team., and -since the sample sizes are small- PDO.

    By those measures, I'm willing to bet Hemsky has been a great PP option. Probably somewhere after many of the guys on the list of 20 dominant players I listed earlier and a couple of PP specialists like Kovalev.

    That is, he's elite.

  42. Racki says:

    I have no problems with Hemsky sticking it out on the top line PP (although I've asked the question "should he be taken off it for a bit"). However, I do think he really needs to hang on to the puck a lot less. Our powerplay is at its best and most dangerous when the puck is being moved around and the opposition defence is forced to move.

    I've never really been a fan of Hemsky's "dipseedoodle spin" move. It kills too much time and allows the other team to set themselves up as well. Although it's easy for me to be critical of that though… is there a pass option when he's doing that? Maybe not. Should he shoot it on net himself more? Maybe.

    One thing that drove me nuts yesterday though wasn't Hemsky, but Cogliano (whom I've been a proponent of seeing more pp time). Penner was standing wide open in front of the net with a Buffalo D-man behind him (apparently Rivet) and Cogliano was on the goal line with the puck. Perfect opportunity to fire it over to Penner, but instead he passes it back up towards the blueline. Why?

    Hemsky isn't the only guy needing a bit of work on the PP.

  43. kris says:

    I get your point BDHS, and I agree, but…

    But you'd think he [Moreau] was a baby killer the way people talked about him.

    I'm sure Moreau's great for the community. He might also be a loyal son, a fantastic ornothologist, and oddly good at Monopoly. And I'm sure when he kills a baby, he eats it too; he doesn't kill for sport, but for practical reasons.

    But that's not gonna stop me from saying he's a crappy hockey player who is hurting the club. Nilsson too.

    But I get that people -me too sometimes- go overboard with the criticisms.

  44. PDO says:

    Are all fans this fucking crazy?


    Would I trade Hemsky?


    But you better be getting someone better back.

    I mean, if Anaheim calls up and is saying they'll trade Getzlaf for Hemsky and Grebeshkov… well, sorry Ales, but off to the Ducks you go.

    Really though? The guy is one of the best RW's in the game and the least of our problems.

  45. kris says:


    Who do you think has played badly? Either players who suck due to youth or, crappiness or players who have greatly underperformed?

    I'm just looking at the lineup, boxcars, underlying numbers, and thinking about what I've seen and I'm struggling to make conclusions.

    Obviously Nilsson and Moreau have struggled. Strudwick is out of his depth and Chorney is not quite ready yet.

    I want to blame Grebs and Gilbert, but they've played tough opp., O'Sullivan has some points, Comrie too and he had the flu.

  46. Black Dog says:

    kris – hey knock yourself out, hell I'm critical of these guys all of the time as well. I just said Moreau was done, didn't I? ;)

    Its what was referred to in the previous thread that gets my goat – trade Hemsky. Trade this guy. This guy is a piece of shit.

    Maybe I'm just cranky tonight. Age and all. ;)

    And of course the answer is just not to participate in the GDTs, which I rarely do anymore. Reading about how the team I cheer for are a bunch of no talent assholes is not my idea of entertainment.

    I'd rather just watch the game and look for a little Hemsky magic now and then. Your man is the price of admission game in and game out, even when he's not 100%. He's a hell of a hockey player.

    Enjoy him while you can. Two years from now he'll be gone, tired of the losing, same as Souray and likely Lubo and then we can cheer on some more teenagers as they get massacred year after year while management twiddles their thumbs and counts their money.

  47. knighttown says:

    So, if I get you correctly, what you are suggesting is that Hemsky's quality PP/60 may not be indicative of being an excellent PP player because the problem is that no one else is getting the opportunity? Can we test this idea statistically?

    What I'm suggesting is that LT making a post showing how Hemsky's points/60 (5×4) dwarfs his teammates for the last 3 years is not the slam-dunk everyone else makes it out to be. If Steve Staois quarterbacked the PP like Hemsky does he would lead the team in 5×4 points/60. That
    s a fact. The number would be brutal, but his teammates' numbers would be worse. (of course, in this example, PP#2 would have superior numbers but the point stands).

    I'm comparing 3 players directly because LT posed the question of who would I suggest take over.

    -Penner's GF On/60 numbers are the best which proves to me he's a terrific PP player who doesn't get that many PP points simply because of his role. That's fine, but you need to look at this metric to appreciate his talents. Observationally, I don't think he's a PP QB option.

    -I am advocating a move from 100% 83 at QB to a 80-20 split where 89 gets the chance to QB once or twice a game. Different look will help both guys.

    I feel like GFON/60 is going to give guys too much credit for other people's work.

    That's a valid feeling and it may absolutely be true. 83's been given the keys by two different coaching staffs and there's something to that.

  48. Lowetide says:

    kris: I think mostly this is the world we live in. Horcoff hasn't played well, but we know he's been injured. We also know injuries as a whole have had an impact.

    Plus of course there's the reality of watching kids mature at the NHL level.

    I don't think any specific player (MacIntyre aside, and that's not his fault he just can't play) is hopeless.

    I would say that among forwards that Penner, Hemsky, Brule and O'Sullivan have been above average (POS hurts the PP by math and eye but has been good at EVs).

    And if we had to move someone to keep Reddox or Potulny my vote would be Nilsson.

    Nothing earth shattering, and the only real conclusion we can come to is that they're not that good. Some will be when they mature, others were a time ago and some never will be.

    Porridge, and not enough actual NHL players.

  49. knighttown says:

    Woodguy – I've been reading it for years. Here and elsewhere. There are certain folks who have been calling for Hemsky to get moved for a couple of years, everytime he makes a bad play some jackass will chime in with 'thats why they need to trade Hemsky'

    I don't doubt that there are douches out there that feel we should trade 83 for a Sega Genesis but that's not been part of today's discussion.

    Hemsky has so many things on the plus side of the ledger there really isn't a realistic trade proposal I'd look at.

    Although, I worry that his gumby-like ability to absorb punishment may not age well. He might be a 70 GP guy for the next decade. Meh…

  50. knighttown says:

    POS hurts the PP by math and eye but has been good at EVs).

    Not nit-picking but POS' PP GFOn/60 is by far the best on the team at over 10 goals/60. Woodguy picked up on it the other day. Doesn't match my eye either but for whatever reason, when Patty O is on the ice the puck goes in. Luck o' the Irish?

  51. geowal says:

    For all the hand wringing and complaining about how bad th PP is it should be noted that the Oilers PP is ranked 10th overall.

    Agreed with Vic, good pt by Jenga. A blown 5 minute major doesn't mean blow up the powerplay. They clearly need to work on urgency in these (and 5 on 3) situations, but that's an issue with the whole unit,not just Hemsky.

    And for all the desire to bring in elites to help the PP, we all know that isn't always the answer. Powerplays are about cohesion, teamwork, and practice. This falls on the coaches (to answer Vic I believe I've heard Buchberger is the PP man this year).

    Some teams with elite players and below average powerplays:

    This season:
    Chi – 20th
    Pit – 26th
    Pit – 20th
    Cgy – 21st
    Ana – 20th
    Atl – 23td (with Hossa)

    This is cherry picking I know.
    All these seasons we can find the Oilers holding down the bottom third. I think we can wait a few games before we start fooling with it too much, Colorado game anomaly or not.

  52. Woodguy says:

    Its what was referred to in the previous thread that gets my goat – trade Hemsky. Trade this guy. This guy is a piece of shit.

    But no one in the Sabres' GDT said anything like that. (Unless it was deleted)

    Shit, no one even suggested moving 83 of PP1 except rickibear.

    Most of us were bitching and moaning (rightly or wrongly) about the 5 min major at the end which was for the most part ineffective and chock full of bad decisions. (Until it was almost over)

    I really don't understand all the exasperation that L.T. and others were expressing, there didn't seem to be a cause.

  53. Vic Ferrari says:

    johnnyshaka said:

    We do need to shake things up but Hemsky's fragile "ego" likely won't take that very well at all.

    Guess we'll have to resort to yelling "SHOOT" even louder.

    Is this the sort of thing you were talking about in your original post, Lain?

    No offense to johnnyshaka, who may well be a pillar of the community, or he may be a mad rapist … it's the internet, we just don't know. In any case, there is nothing personal about what I am about to "say" (Hey, if "ego" deserves quotations, so does "say". Verbs need love too.) ;)

    In any case it seems to me that you sort of draw this type of character in with your Horcoff pimping and Schremp bashing. Can we blame RiversQ, Dennis, Tyler, Quain, kris, etc, etc for not driving this type of conversation back to the message boards? … personally I feel comfortable blaming them, but it probably isn't fair.

    C'mon, be honest with yourself, this was always inevitable. In truth, I think you kind of like the animosity, Lain.

  54. geowal says:

    Seems to me there's been a growing "maybe we're better without Hemsky" sentiment for some time now among some. Matheson has also discussed his non-untouchability (if that's a word) in the EJ to bring it to the mainstream. I couldn't point you to a specific thread, but the not usual "Damn Hemsky for that turnover" rants have seemed to take on the tone that he is more trouble than he is worth.

  55. The other John says:

    The exasperation is that the Oil are perfectly content to battle for 8th to 12th in the Western Conference with absolutely no discernible plan to get better.

    If someone disagrees that there is a plan, please God tell us what it is.

    From what little we see the only plan is that every summer we target and waste 2-3 weeks trying to sign the MOST attractive FA, trade for a 50 goal man, etc. When that does not work (and it never does), a number of very nice pieces of the puzzle that could really help us are off the marketplace and we are told……….."somebody from within the organization is going to develop."

    In the off season Bill Belichek and the NE Patriots actually identify which of their own Free Agents they want, what they will pay, what they will not pay, what FA from other teams they want, Etc

    Us,….. not so much …….same holes…..different day

  56. johnnyshaka says:


    No offense taken. My post was a little tongue-in-cheek…but I suppose that's a little tough to pickup without the appropriate smiley face to finish it off. Guess that's what you get on this internet thingie if you aren't explicit with the tone of a post. ;-)

    I'm firmly in the boat where Hemsky is easily our best player (both in terms of talent and contract) but he can also be extremely frustrating to watch.

    So, do I want to heave him overboard? Sometimes. But that's as far as it would go for me…no way I ever act on those evil thoughts.

  57. johnnyshaka says:

    The Other John,

    I was the "John" in the other thread. My bad, I must have been logged in with another account…John is all yours.

  58. Lowetide says:

    A question: what can Tambellini do? with the team near the cap and a few contracts that aren't tradeable, how can he make this team better?

    My answer is to flush some of the fringe kids and add veteran guys who don't hurt you. I think a lot of the fanbase feels this way.

    The question then becomes will Tambellini do this? He had a chance this summer and went big game hunting.

    Will this team act differently summer 2010?

  59. pboy says:

    LT: Not only is this team near the cap right now but in all likelihood that cap is going to go down, not up for next season.

    Here's what Tambo could do:

    1. Take pennies on the dollar for vets like Staios and Moreau. Losing these guys won't help win this season but it should provide some flexibility going forward.

    2. Sign bargain vets to replace Moreau and Staios, there are players available but since the Oil only seem to go big game hunting, they don't bother looking for them.

    3. Trade 1 of Vish or Souray. In an ideal world, it would be great to keep both of them but they are both on the wrong side of 30 and it seems like they are susceptible to injuries.

  60. danny says:

    Hemsky has been groomed as a PvP player for years by MacT. Not suprisingly, as the Oilers were in the midst of the Mike Modano era, and saw first hand what a dominant PvP guy meant.

    Hemsky has become a PvP outscorer. He is not Mike Modano though. And thats what people hate most about 83. Hes not Mike Modano. When do we get our Mike Modano?

    The Ryan Getzlaf LOVE is a perfect backdrop to hilite the misunderstanding that is Ales Hemsky.

    Hemmer is a PvP outscorer. HIs streakiness, his sulking and sheepish demeanor sometimes makes him a target. Turnovers definitely make him a target.

    Bottom line though, Ryan Getzlaf was drafted in 2003. Hemsky 2001.

    Getzlaf has faced the easiest Qualcomp for the Ducks every season. This year is no different.

    (min 10 games forwards)

    Getzlaf – 8th best on Ducks
    Hemsky – 4th best on Oilers

    Getzlaf: 0.591 2nd on Ducks
    Hemsky: 0.191 4th on Oilers

    +/- ON/60:
    Getzlaf +1.29 (2nd)
    Hemsky +1.10 (2nd)

    Hemsky, by the numbers, is a superior player to Getzlaf. Switch their Qualcomp and Hemsky would have a lot more fanfare mopping up the soft minutes.

    That said, neither guy is a cornerstone to a franchise IMO. Both are excellent all-stars, and thats not so shabby.

    If you can flip hemsky for a bluechipper, I vote yes. Nieuwendyk for Iginla. There doesnt seem to be much like that in prospects these days. Maybe Viktor Hedman. I still say we could have had Malkin for CFP easy.

  61. Rob Gilgan says:

    Spectors News:

    Various sources report the Florida Panthers today claimed Edmonton Oilers enforcer Steve MacIntyre off waivers.

  62. bookie says:

    Ever since I saw numerous Edmonton fans say things like "Gretzky is the worst player in the league", I have learned that there is a certain portion of society that rant and rave.

    With that said, there is all kinds of room for discussion of Hemsky's strengths and weaknesses and even some surmising about things like issues between Hemsky and Penner. Not all things have to be black and white.

  63. Rob Gilgan says:

    Oops – looks like that was old news for everyone but me. Sorry.

  64. Lowetide says:

    Rob: No worries. I don't know if everyone knows it either, so wanted to mention O'Marra is back in Springfield.

  65. shepso says:

    Disclaimer: This is a repost due to far too many spelling mistakes for my liking in the original. I wish there was an edit comment feature on blogger!

    Ok, really, is this actually happening? I take a week off from the blog world to work on a really dumb debate, the topic not even worth mentioning and only marginally relevant to my discipline, I come back and find that people are actually trying to claim that Hemsky is bad or something to that effect? Has the world gone crazy? This year's team has 2 world class players; Vis and Hemsky. Period. End of story. Penner is producing at elite levels this season and although Gagner is not quite ready for prime time, he's sure getting close, but really, to rag on Hemmer is just obscene.

    It's been a difficult few years and I get that we, the most passionate fans in the league (possibly verging on insanity) are getting more than a little frustrated with the (lack of) quality the team is icing, but there has to be some hope. This hope rests on the shoulders of 83. Ok, he hangs on to the puck too long sometimes, so what? The numbers don't lie, the more qualitative (saw him good) camp has seen him real good and, like black dog or maybe LT mentioned, he hasn't even hit his peak yet.

    Calm down. When the team is totally healthy again (if the damned injury imp would go to hell and leave us alone) we could make a far greater evaluation of what is going on. Sure patience sucks and I want to see some awesomeness on the ice as much as the rest of us, but the vicious attacks on the players (Chopper, Horc, Hemsky) need to stop.

    LT, you're completely right; Hemsky is Really good.

    All the bitter people, just calm down, relax, it's just a damn game. Let's all remember why we post here; because we all love the team and the game. It will get better.

  66. hunter1909 says:

    Hemsky's a wonderful player – an above average offensive player with heart.

    He plays on a pretty mediocre team, that makes him look worse than he is.

    For some crazy reason people thought I was bashing Hemsky the other day, and the devil in me kept me from denying it.

  67. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    There are some really great points here on both sides.

    I agree that we should not trade hemsky for nothing. I do not think he is untouchable though and I feel strongly that his sulky woe-is-me attitude is a bad example for our young players and we will suffer from poor effort and lack of commitment from many players because of it.

    Honestly I do not think that enough emphasis is put on his whine from last season. He didn't feel important, like he was the go to guy. Sounds a lot like heatly to me. One whiner is enough to break a room and prevent a team from ever truly reaching it's potential, especially when that whiner is your most talented player.

    I can't stand liam reddox, but at times I would take his work ethic and excitement for the game over hemsky and his talent.

  68. bookie says:

    I can't stand liam reddox, but at times I would take his work ethic and excitement for the game over hemsky and his talent.

    There are 29 GM's that would love to catch you at that moment!

  69. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    bookie, you are so right!

  70. Baroque says:

    He doesn't have a blown ACL, a broken leg, or a broken wrist – maybe Ken Holland would be interested. :)

  71. HBomb says:

    Wow – this thread has everything except the standard "It's Horcoff's fault Hemsky isn't better" nonsense from Traktor.

    It's simple – Hemsky is on another talent level compared to everyone on this team excepting Visnovsky and possibly Gagner. He is on a wonderful contract. The guys you would consider dealing him for simply aren't on the trade market, and for good reason.

    Conclusion? Hemsky goes nowhere. For those of you saying he has a bad attitude and stuff like that – care to provide evidence to back up that ridiculous statement?

  72. hunter1909 says:

    The idea is to build a winning team. Losing Hemsky makes the team worse.

    Oiler fans are so used to seeing their fave hockey team being bitch slapped and turned over by the other teams maybe it's hard to grasp this concept.

  73. HBomb says:

    Hunter: your first paragraph there is one of the smartest things you or anyone else has ever said.
    How does losing Hemsky in a deal make this team better? If I could think of 100 trade scenarios involving Hemsky, 99 of them, the Oil probably come out on the losing end.

  74. rickibear says:

    -I am advocating a move from 100% 83 at QB to a 80-20 split where 89 gets the chance to QB once or twice a game. Different look will help both guys.

    I don't think people get it.

    I played in europe . There was a guy on the team. He ran to his own beat. But you played with him cause scoring was easier with him.

    Along comes a younger player that made our production better.

    The other player got to beat his drum in a diffrent role on the same team.

    Gagner 5.85Pts/60 8.18GF/60
    Hemsky 5.88pts/60 7.05GF/60

    Would a second PP unit of
    hemsky-horcoff-Potulny be so bad on Sunday.

    As for the wack jobs that want to trade him. Putting hemsky on the second pp does not mean you trade him. Its called depth people.

  75. johnnyshaka says:

    For those of you saying he has a bad attitude and stuff like that – care to provide evidence to back up that ridiculous statement?

    HBomb, surely you remember his little outburst last season when MacT started riding the hot-hands…at the time I believe it was Gagner and the other Ales…and then there is his regular demeanor as he always looks like he's ready to start crying especially when somebody dares miss him with a pass.

    Again, love the skill and speed he brings to the game but he can be just as frustrating to watch when he's in one his moods.

    If whatever light was flicked on for Penner could be lit for Hemsky…you know, the "I can be awesome if I really want to be" light…this team could be pretty damn good.

  76. quain says:

    Gagner 5.85Pts/60 8.18GF/60
    Hemsky 5.88pts/60 7.05GF/60

    Making roster decisions based on a sample highly influenced by a game where the powerplay scored the most goals it had since 1988 seems dodgy.

    Put another way, Penner-Nilsson-Potulny is the correct way to build your powerplay if you decide to go the small sample size route.

    Also – why in the hell would you give Gagner substantial powerplay time in his contract year? At best you're going to convince me that Gagner is a replacement within range of Hemsky's ability; Add in the fact that 50 point RFA centers cost less than 70 point RFA centers and let's just pretend we never had this discussion.

  77. rickibear says:

    Quain: Results baby!

    influenced by a game where the powerplay scored the most goals it had since 1988

    I can't believe you are using this as a justification!

    Look at kovalev video people!

  78. dawgbone says:

    Mr. Debakey: Quite true. 26th overall. Now, Washington had three players in the top 10 and Anaheim also had three quite high, so it brings up another question: how would Hemsky have done with a better team?

    Interesting point… what would he have done with 1/3rd the puck possession time?

    He's a blessing and a curse for this team's PP. When he's on it's a dangerous PP… when he's not the power play runs into the gutter because he can't make a play. The problem is, he never adjusts to allow someone else to run the PP when he's off.

  79. HBomb says:

    Johnnyshaka: I do remember that, and I do try not to read too much into it. The guy wanted to contribute and that was the end of it. He's been a good soldier as an Oiler and might have been getting frustrated with the gong show that was MacT's final season as coach.

    Whatever it was, I don't label a guy based on one quote.

  80. johnnyshaka says:

    HBomb, that's true, it was just one quote but I think it spoke volumes. I'm sure there are plenty of guys who feel the same way…they want to be the guy with the puck on their stick with a chance to win the game…the difference is they don't come out and say it around a bunch of microphones.

    His body language also speaks volumes…some nights he just doesn't look like he wants to be out there. Sure, he probably hates losing, who doesn't, but maybe turning up the intensity could clear that losing thing right up.

    Regardless, love Hemsky but it's like watching your little brother out there who you know can be better and you can't wait to get him home and rub his nose in it in an effort to show him the kind of talent he's wasting.

  81. Traktor says:

    Shouldn't we be comparing Gagner to Horcoff?

    Hemsky vs Gagner makes as much sense as Souray vs Penner.

  82. HBomb says:

    Traktor: when it comes to the PP and the role either guy is going to be expected to play, it is a VERY valid comparison.
    Less valid at ES, but there's still some value to seeing where Gagner is on the development curve.

  83. macndub says:

    What I find astounding is that out of 83 comments on Hemsky, only 3 (4?), inlcuding LT, mention his contract.

    In a salary cap era, the only relevant discussion of whether to keep a player or not is the question of whether he's outperforming his contract. I recall only three incidents of significant contract outperformance on the Oilers: Smythe, Pronger, and Roloson in 2006.

    After that, a ton of losses.

    Above market contracts must be cut. Even releasing Nilsson, and freeing up his cap space, is superior to dragging his losing position or waiting for a trade.
    Disciplined commodity traders know: cut your losses. You cannot afford them.

  84. mc79hockey says:

    I recall only three incidents of significant contract outperformance on the Oilers: Smythe, Pronger, and Roloson in 2006.

    Horc made $1MM that season.

  85. HBomb says:

    RE: 2005-06

    Apparently, Hemsky, Stoll, Torres and Pisani all on the cheap doesn't count as contracts outperformed. WTF?

  86. Vic Ferrari says:

    Using goal rates for evaluating players is pretty dodgy unless you have, at the very minimum, a full season of play. Preferably more.

    By Dennis' scoring chance numbers so far (doesn't include BUF game):

    With Hemsky on the ice for 5v4 powerplays:
    The Oilers run at a 39 chance per hour rate. Which is no hell, they've been a bit lucky so far.

    With Hemsky NOT on the ice for 5v4 powerplays:
    The Oilers run at a 27 chance per hour rate. Which is disasterous.

  87. macndub says:

    Hbomb and MC, fair enough. By "significant outperformance," though, I meant just that. A $3 million guy performing like a $5 million. Or a guy near the ceiling performing even better than that.

    Pisani just doesn't seem to be in that world; at best, it seems like outperformance of only a few hundred thousand is possible. And then he got the nice contract in 2006-7, if I recall correctly.

    Anyway, my point, which I still think is valid: we can't really talk about a player's strengths/weaknesses without talking about his contract and performance relative to that. And the Oilers are miserable in this regard. And just dumping the bad contracts and having a team for the ages in Springfield might be the best approach right now.

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