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Is he a smart Ales or what?

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04-27-2004, 06:27 PM
  #1
Lowetide
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Is he a smart Ales or what?

Disturbing trend for me lately, as every time I read anything on the Oilers lately it's about Hemsky and far from positive. Here's what was in Sunday's Journal:

Jim Matheson's HOCKEY WORLD

Hemsky fails to crack Czech lineup for Worlds

Oilers winger Ales Hemsky shockingly got cut by the Czech championship squad. Observers say it's because he didn't pass the puck enough in camp. No surprise there.

Hemsky is a huge talent, but he overpasses the puck. Until he learns to work a give and go, he's stalled his progress.


And again this morning, there was a brief bit on him playing well in a prep game for the Worlds, then being invisible against Russia (and then being cut).

In the old days of Sather I'd suggest they were greasing the skids for the inevitable trade, but its way too early to do that kind of thing.

What IS clear, imo, is that the organization is going to have to devise some very specific plans for getting him back on track. This might involve conditioning, a request that he show up at the rookie camp, an extended stay on the 4line, a season in Europe or Toronto.

Here's my question: how would you suggest they handle this hurdle?

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04-27-2004, 06:45 PM
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You just let him play through it and eventually it should soak in that you accomplish a lot more when you use your teammates. Other NHL players have gone through these growing pains. In some cases it works out for the team (read below on Gilbert Perreault) and in some cases the team gives up and trades the player ala Kovalev with the Rangers. Just the other day I was watching Legends of Hockey and they were featuring Gilbert Perreault. He talked about how it took him 3 years in the league before he started using his teammates rather than trying to go through the other team. All the Oilers need is some patience with Hemsky and not do something stupid like trade him.

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04-27-2004, 06:50 PM
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I'm not sure if this is indicative of a character flaw of some sort (desire is gone? work ethic?) or just the growing pains of a young talent still trying to adjust. If you're MacT and you take a hardline approach you may really hurt him and his development. There may even be some residual resentment from the heavy handed treatment. From a coach's / GM's standpoint, however, how long can you afford to let him try and play his way out of things, find his way? There are other players who are pushing for time as well, and I don't think it is fair to focus on Hemsky to the exclusion of other young guys.

It is important to reiterate his age and his set of circumstances. He is a 20 / 21 yr. old, who made the direct jump from juniors to the NHL. Consistency is a pretty well known problem for young players. He's also needing to polish certain aspects of his play (holds onto the puck too long, dishes the puck when he has a good sight line for a shot) while being tossed from 1st to 4th line on a semi-regular basis, so I have some sympathy. I'm all for cutting the kid some slack; he really needs to regain his focus if he wants to elevate himself and let his talent come through.

I have no idea how they should treat him. He is still a bit of an enigma at this point because he is quite young and inexperienced yet. And which Hemsky will he will turn into: the talented kid who played with fire during '02-'03 at the end of the season and into the playoffs, or the ghost who looked lost on alot of nights this past season?

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04-27-2004, 07:09 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Observers say it's because he didn't pass the puck enough in camp. No surprise there.

Hemsky is a huge talent, but he overpasses the puck.
These sentences seem to contradict one another don't they? He didn't pass the puck enough but he overpasses????

I've never been a fan of the way Ales has played the game up to this point but I have noticed his remarkable skills more than once. He seems to be suffering from the exact opposite of what Rita has been enduring all this time. Too much time on the top two lines in the nhl and not enough pro seasoning to back it up.

What do the Oil do with him now?

Man oh man, I have no clue. The ideal thing would have been if he'd have done a stint in the minors but the time for that has long since passed. Putting him back on the top two lines until he gets some consistancy sends a really bad message to the rest of the team.

Maybe put him on the third line with Reasoner (the guy who gets all the Oiler wingers going) and Moreau, give Fernando a shot at the second line. He's got a good shot and won't be a defensive liability.

Short of that Ales has got to sit in the pb or bring his "a" game along real quick. I hate to see the Oilers waste a spot on the roster for Ales while Chimera and Rita are in a holding pattern.

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04-27-2004, 07:17 PM
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the good thing, I think, is that Hemsky can be sent to the AHL next season without having to clear waivers, and if the season is written off due to a lockout, they can get an extra year of development time with Hemsky.

Assuming he's allowed to go down to the AHL, which is uncertain considering he played 71 games last year (but he is still under the 160 games played limit for 19 year olds signees like himself) and it's not yet knows how those determinations will be made.

It's definitely in EDM's best interests to play him in the AHL next year, but if he's not allowed to then he'll either not play at all, waiting things out, or play in europe which may or may not help him work on his flaws. At least in TOR the coaches can work with him, give him some games off if that helps him put on weight for the season afterwards.

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04-27-2004, 07:31 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide

Here's my question: how would you suggest they handle this hurdle?
You move him to LW where he's better positioned, make sure he focused and confident in training camp, put him on a line with Radek Dvorak and Petr Nedved next season, and tell him to get points. He puts up 70. Problem solved. There's no big crisis here.

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04-27-2004, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
You move him to LW where he's better positioned, make sure he focused and confident in training camp, put him on a line with Radek Dvorak and Petr Nedved next season, and tell him to get points. He puts up 70. Problem solved. There's no big crisis here.
Why does he deserve an automatic top 6 spot though?

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04-27-2004, 07:45 PM
  #8
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I said he should be on the 4th line last year.........and I'll say it again this year

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04-27-2004, 07:54 PM
  #9
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Send him to go work out at that place in LA this summer with Horcoff and then send him to the AHL if there's a lockout. If there is an NHL season, be sure to get Simpson to really work with him if he isn't already. He seemed to help Moreau this year.

Problems he needs to address:
- Get stronger on his feet, so he doesn't get knocked down so easily. And to learn to use his body to protect the puck better.
- Know when to shoot and when to pass. Needs to find a better nose for the net.
- The fancy play doesn't always work, so know when to use that skill or just do the simple play.
- Intensity and weight. Pack on some pounds and he has to fight for the puck more. This means going into traffic and battling in both ends of the ice.

If he can get even just the last one, he should have a good season. He's shown spurts of intensity, but not that often. If he can fight for the puck more and beat guys with his footspeed to loose pucks, he could really open up some opportunities for himself and his linemates. Passive talented players get lost in the mix while the guys with heart and skill turn into super stars. Which is it gonna be Ales?

PS: Trading him would be a mistake right now. He's very young still and we all know he has the talent to be a big impact player for us if he can pull everything together. Give him time.

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04-27-2004, 08:01 PM
  #10
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I think the time in Toronto would help him if there is a lockout. I've been trying to draw comparisons for development, but I can't find any good ones... there is certainly no pattern.

With smaller, skilled European forwards, they seem to take their time to get to the NHL... 22 seems to be an age that commonly comes up (Hejduk, Zetterberg... Datsyuk was 23 I think - however all three players came from Europe and spent 0 games in the AHL).

Some, like Kovalchuk, Zherdev and Gaborik, start playing for their teams the year after being drafted, but they seem to have virtually no competition for 1st line ice time... hence, they can afford to make mistakes... plus the fact that they'd been chosen near the top of their class made them a step above the other players anyway.

Havlat came in at 19, but he too came in from Europe and made an impact right away. Frolov came in at 20, after 2 years in Europe and, like Havlat, has also seen no time in the AHL.

The only thing that really seems apparent is that many of these types of players don't really start to hit stride until 22 or 23, so it may be too early to start counting Hemsky out. Remember his incredible play at the beginning of the season? He wasn't looking like a superstar but he was quietly putting up points on a nightly basis, and every 3 or 4 games he'd make someone look silly. I think if he was able to regain some of that confidence and spend some time with a guy like Nedved, his progress would start up again.

However, I do think that some of us may have overshot our expectations when evaluating the potential of this kid. I still think he's first-line material, but maybe 70-80 points would be his ceiling, rather than 90. I do know that he'll never hit 70 points playing on a line with Moreau... even with 1st line PP time. So maybe while he's developing we can only hope for 40 points out of him.

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04-27-2004, 09:14 PM
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Good points all. I don't really have an idea, except that Hemsky will get crushed if he continues to play like he did the second half of last year. He's a deer in the headlights.

Hopefully, MacT does something innovative. Many years ago when Whitey Herzog was managing the Texas Rangers he had a big time power hitter named Jeff Burroughs. Burroughs problem was that he didn't cut down on his swing with two strikes, so even though he was hitting 30 home runs his batting average was poor.

Whitey decided to make it a game: every time Burroughs made contact, Herzog owed him a hundred bucks even if it was a groundout. Everytime he missed, he owed Whitey a hundred.

Burroughs won AL MVP that season.

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04-27-2004, 09:30 PM
  #12
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I say see what he does during pre season and decide then. If he shows some spark then keep him here , if not then send him down for some work.

I still like these lines

Smyth - Nedved - Dvorak
Torres - Horcoff - York
Isbister - Reasoner - Hemsky
Moreau - Stoll - Pisani/Laraque

That looks fine to me...

That gives Hemsky some size and protection is Isbister and some Defensive help with Reasoner.

Thoughts?

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04-27-2004, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
You move him to LW where he's better positioned, make sure he focused and confident in training camp, put him on a line with Radek Dvorak and Petr Nedved next season, and tell him to get points. He puts up 70. Problem solved. There's no big crisis here.
Thanks coach

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04-27-2004, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
I say see what he does during pre season and decide then. If he shows some spark then keep him here , if not then send him down for some work.

I still like these lines

Smyth - Nedved - Dvorak
Torres - Horcoff - York
Isbister - Reasoner - Hemsky
Moreau - Stoll - Pisani/Laraque

That looks fine to me...

That gives Hemsky some size and protection is Isbister and some Defensive help with Reasoner.

Thoughts?
I would go with these lines myself:

Smyth-Nedved-Hemsky
Torres-York-Dvorak
Moreau-Reasoner-Pisani
Horcoff-Stoll-Laraque

PB: Chimera
Gonz0: Invisibister

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04-27-2004, 10:18 PM
  #15
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his situation is like Chistov's situation in Anaheim. The tools are all there...he just has to learn to put everything together. Give him a 4th line role, or send him to Toronto...whatever we do...just give him time.

I think once he gets his game together, watch out...he'll be flying.

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04-27-2004, 10:33 PM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oi'll say!
What do the Oil do with him now? Man oh man, I have no clue.
Exactly my feeling too. Merely deciding to send him to the AHL may not be enough: the point is to try to get him to a place where you can help him and he can help himself. If he goes to the AHL and floats around some more, what is accomplished? There's plenty of guys there that will flatten him if he remains the deer in the headlights. And is he going to learn shooting from Salmelainen? More than, say, York or >gulp< Pisani?

I'm no hockey coach. That said, I've been mulling it over two feeble thoughts have emerged:
  1. Confidence assignment. Put him in a position where he's supposed to pass. If that's what he's doing and all he's doing, make it work. Build up his confidence and put him in a situation where his current habits work best. Hey, everyone knew Oates was going to pass 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but he still managed to get a zillion assists. The plan then would be to put Hemsky with two guys who are explicitly assigned to get into the damn open space and prepare to fire. I can only think of Smyth (shots within 6 feet) and Stoll (shots within 40 feet) that could pair up with him. Considering Smyth finished on the 2nd line and Stoll will be one year older, this might be feasible. Another option is Torres-Stoll.
  2. Corrective assignment. Put him on a shooting assignment. Attempt to instruct him he's supposed to get into the open and fire and that's it. Tell him to at least try to pretend he's Brett Hull/Mike Bossy. Put him on with guys who can and do rush the puck or are effective in gaining the line then dishing. Moreau-York-Hemsky might be OK for this. Moreau loves to lug the puck, often from his own end zone. Hemsky wouldn't be assigned to come back to try to skate through centre. Hell, maybe instruct him to never try to skate it up. York is a great passer and can also gain the line.

Probably these suggestions totally suck and wouldn't be helpful. But I wonder if the best thing to try is to change the on-ice dynamics more than to try to coach a change in his thinking. So far, we know that hasn't worked.

One other thing is that the Oilers desperately need a high-skilled PP and Hemsky's talents are well-suited to the PP. One potential option is to work with him in practice basically solely on the PP and then play him 4 ES minutes a game on the 4th line, essentially not really caring much what he does there. Might have to get Torres to PK or get Moreau back to doing it more so that the LW on that line gets enough ice time.

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04-27-2004, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
I say see what he does during pre season and decide then. If he shows some spark then keep him here , if not then send him down for some work.

I still like these lines

Smyth - Nedved - Dvorak
Torres - Horcoff - York
Isbister - Reasoner - Hemsky
Moreau - Stoll - Pisani/Laraque

That looks fine to me...

That gives Hemsky some size and protection is Isbister and some Defensive help with Reasoner.

Thoughts?
Yep, those are the lines I'd love to see. I think a Hemsky, Reasoner and Isbister line would provide some solid offense if they're given enough minutes.

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04-27-2004, 10:51 PM
  #18
Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilswell
I'm no hockey coach. That said, I've been mulling it over two feeble thoughts have emerged:
  1. Confidence assignment. Put him in a position where he's supposed to pass. If that's what he's doing and all he's doing, make it work. Build up his confidence and put him in a situation where his current habits work best. Hey, everyone knew Oates was going to pass 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but he still managed to get a zillion assists. The plan then would be to put Hemsky with two guys who are explicitly assigned to get into the damn open space and prepare to fire. I can only think of Smyth (shots within 6 feet) and Stoll (shots within 40 feet) that could pair up with him. Considering Smyth finished on the 2nd line and Stoll will be one year older, this might be feasible. Another option is Torres-Stoll.
  2. Corrective assignment. Put him on a shooting assignment. Attempt to instruct him he's supposed to get into the open and fire and that's it. Tell him to at least try to pretend he's Brett Hull/Mike Bossy. Put him on with guys who can and do rush the puck or are effective in gaining the line then dishing. Moreau-York-Hemsky might be OK for this. Moreau loves to lug the puck, often from his own end zone. Hemsky wouldn't be assigned to come back to try to skate through centre. Hell, maybe instruct him to never try to skate it up. York is a great passer and can also gain the line.
I think they're excellent ideas. Hemsky has a good shot, but won't use the damn thing. And his passing is like butter (one of the things that hurt him imo, is that Oates' skill set and his are too close together. Oates addition meant Hemsky's linemates were more plugger than scorer, and he suffered because of that in the second half).

So, create scenario's where he must shoot. Have him enter the zone late (Reggie Leach scored 300 goals I swear that way), or have him set up above the circle ala Anson Carter.

And as for the passing, if they put Hemsky and York on the power play with Smyth in front of the net and two accurate shooters on the backline they would be deadly.

Hemsky with the puck and with confidence is like Christmas for a shooter.

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04-27-2004, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Gonz0
I would go with these lines myself:

Smyth-Nedved-Hemsky
Torres-York-Dvorak
Moreau-Reasoner-Pisani
Horcoff-Stoll-Laraque

PB: Chimera
Gonz0: Invisibister
I dunno about splitting up Dvorak and Nedved They are great together. Also my lines takes some pressure off Isbister and Hemsky and lets them gradually get their confidence back. I also don't think we should get rid of Isbister either. He has all kinds of potential and I think can still be a player. Unless we get an overpayment I say hold him for now. His stock can't drop any lower so there is no point in moving him right now. At least give him a chance after an injury riddled season.

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04-28-2004, 12:38 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
I dunno about splitting up Dvorak and Nedved They are great together. Also my lines takes some pressure off Isbister and Hemsky and lets them gradually get their confidence back. I also don't think we should get rid of Isbister either. He has all kinds of potential and I think can still be a player. Unless we get an overpayment I say hold him for now. His stock can't drop any lower so there is no point in moving him right now. At least give him a chance after an injury riddled season.
Good ponit on his trade value being in the gutter, but i honestly think he is a waste, ESPECIALLY @ 2.0 million dollars , for what, a 4th liner? As for Hemsky, all I think he needs is someone with finish on his line, that being Mr. Nedved, with Smyth to clean up the garbage. Hemsky and Smyth were a dominant pair with Marchant between them, because Marchant brought speed. Well, Nedved is fast too, and guess what, he doesn't have hands of stone . Torres-York-Dvorak line was great for us last year. Its where Torres racked up most of his goals, and i definately prefer York centering the 2nd line over Horcoff. Just my 2 bits...

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04-28-2004, 01:06 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
I say see what he does during pre season and decide then. If he shows some spark then keep him here , if not then send him down for some work.

I still like these lines

Smyth - Nedved - Dvorak
Torres - Horcoff - York
Isbister - Reasoner - Hemsky
Moreau - Stoll - Pisani/Laraque

That looks fine to me...

That gives Hemsky some size and protection is Isbister and some Defensive help with Reasoner.

Thoughts?
Get Horcoff onto the 4th line, and put a better shooter with Reasoner and Hemsky. Isbister can't cut it, he's like York, in that he just doesn't bury the biscuit. York's better, but suffers from the same problem, he can't be a triggerman. That 2nd line wouldn't exactly set the world on fire. We need another scorer. I do like the earlier suggestion that you could make Ales a triggerman however. He does have an excellent shot, and if given the assignment of a sniping winger, he could do it, he's never been given that assignment however, he's either the passer or left alone on a line with no-talents where the opposition can double and triple him in the offensive zone.

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04-28-2004, 02:31 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
Get Horcoff onto the 4th line, and put a better shooter with Reasoner and Hemsky. Isbister can't cut it, he's like York, in that he just doesn't bury the biscuit. York's better, but suffers from the same problem, he can't be a triggerman. That 2nd line wouldn't exactly set the world on fire. We need another scorer. I do like the earlier suggestion that you could make Ales a triggerman however. He does have an excellent shot, and if given the assignment of a sniping winger, he could do it, he's never been given that assignment however, he's either the passer or left alone on a line with no-talents where the opposition can double and triple him in the offensive zone.
Why should Horcoff get demoted down to the 4th line and Hemsky have a spot waiting for him in the top 6? I personally feel Horcoff has played his way off of the fourth line with an all around solid year. On the other hand, Hemsky did very little this season to earn a spot on the top two lines. There is no doubt that Hemsky has the greater talent but he has to earn his minutes. Horcoff did play with better linemates for the latter half of the season but Hemsky had his chance in the top 6 and did not produce. I'd like to see a third line of Izzy, Hemsky and Reasoner to start the season.

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04-28-2004, 10:22 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerebral
Why should Horcoff get demoted down to the 4th line and Hemsky have a spot waiting for him in the top 6? I personally feel Horcoff has played his way off of the fourth line with an all around solid year.
Wait a minute... wasn't that the general concensus here last year, after Horc's strong stretch drive, playoffs, and World Cup? IMO, he can got to the thrid or fourth lines until the games get important... historically that's really been the only time he's played well.

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04-28-2004, 10:52 AM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Gonz0
Good ponit on his trade value being in the gutter, but i honestly think he is a waste, ESPECIALLY @ 2.0 million dollars , for what, a 4th liner? As for Hemsky, all I think he needs is someone with finish on his line, that being Mr. Nedved, with Smyth to clean up the garbage. Hemsky and Smyth were a dominant pair with Marchant between them, because Marchant brought speed. Well, Nedved is fast too, and guess what, he doesn't have hands of stone . Torres-York-Dvorak line was great for us last year. Its where Torres racked up most of his goals, and i definately prefer York centering the 2nd line over Horcoff. Just my 2 bits...
Well we'll have to see what he signs for this summer I think that 2 million was a 1 year deal, was it not? Also, I think Isbister has finish he just needs some confidence With Hemsky's passing I think those two could click.

T-Y-D was good last year, but Nedved-Dvorak have a long history together and played VERY well together down the stretch.

I don't mind giving Horc another shot on the second line. He played well at the end after his injury at the start of the year and that way York can go back to his natural position on the right side.

The lines I proposed give us 3 scoring lines (but 3 different types of scoring) and 1 checking line that can pot goals as well. Overall I think this is a fairly balanced attack

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04-28-2004, 11:49 AM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudmouthHemskyfan#1
Get Horcoff onto the 4th line, and put a better shooter with Reasoner and Hemsky. Isbister can't cut it, he's like York, in that he just doesn't bury the biscuit. York's better, but suffers from the same problem, he can't be a triggerman. That 2nd line wouldn't exactly set the world on fire. We need another scorer. I do like the earlier suggestion that you could make Ales a triggerman however. He does have an excellent shot, and if given the assignment of a sniping winger, he could do it, he's never been given that assignment however, he's either the passer or left alone on a line with no-talents where the opposition can double and triple him in the offensive zone.
First off, Mike York is hands down the Oilers best player offensively. He only had a stretch of games snakebitten post injury and to say he "doesn't bury the biscuit" is assinine. You then follow that up by calling Ales a sniping forward if you let him be. This about a guy who had 4 goals in the last 40 some games or whatever it was. Give me a break. Hemsky needs to improve mentally and physically. Right now he is nowhere near the top six guys and unless something changes (which looks unlikely if he carried this garbage play into Czech tryouts) then he should be 4th line or even further down the line. Smyth, York, Dvorak, Nedved, Torres, and Horcoff are all ahead of him. If you hate Horcoff it doesn't matter because he is the second true centerman on that list so you could say there are 4-6 forwards ahead of Hemsky in the depth chart to take Horcoff out of the equation. Yes Hemsky has skill, so did Jason Bonsignore. Until Alice can even becmone somewhat usefull give him 4th line minutes with plugs because right now in his career that is what he is.

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