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Ales Hemsky and Rick Martin

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Old
06-06-2004, 05:40 PM
  #1
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Ales Hemsky and Rick Martin

When I was about 8 years old one of my brothers bought me a Bobby Orr book for Christmas. I loved hockey then, but I wasn't much for watching the NHL on TV. Still, I read it.

I don't remember much about it at all, except that it was hardcover, black, and with a big #4 sort of pressed into the cover. And I remember that Bobby Orr seemed like a heckuva guy, real unassuming. The other thing I remember was that he really took a run at Rick Martin as a hockey player, which was completely out of character for Orr.

For those that aren't old enough, Martin played for the Sabres in the 70s and had a very good career as a scoring winger. He looked the part as well. Had some pretty terrific linemates for a stretch too though.

Anyhow, it wasn't personal ... Orr just thought that Martin wasn't a very good player, or was at least way over-rated. Its far too long ago to remember the exact words, but the gist of it is: "Rick Martin is a guy I can't understand. Every time Martin comes down the wing he makes the same move, every single time. He fakes inside and takes it wide. I don't know how he gets away with it".

Anyways, I've thought of this quote a few times when I've watched Hemsky come down the wing this year. He's the polar opposite of Martin. He just never, ever takes it wide. And in this day of video and coaches ... I find it hard to believe that there is even one defender in this league who doesn't know that.

Question is ... why? Is he chickenspit? Has he fallen in love with the highlight reel drags? Does he think he knows better than his coaches and veteran teammates? ... or are they just turning a blind eye to it?

A hard guy to figure is this Hemsky. But it's never too early to start to worry

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06-06-2004, 07:05 PM
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When I saw this headline I thought you were going to say "if Hemsky only had Rick Martin's shot!"

It's a very good comp in that Martin was a guy who probably didn't reach the heights he could have, although he certainly did have a career (380+ goals in his first ten seasons, and then that terrible knee injury).

I don't know. Some of this is desire, some confidence, some a question of intelligence or cunning. We dont have those answers yet, but I agree there's reason for concern.

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06-06-2004, 08:46 PM
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Give Hemsky a break. He's only 20. I hate all this scrutiny on him. Just appreciate the fact that he's even playing in the NHL at this age. He's only going to get better. It's too early to criticize him so much.

There's little criticism on Lynch or Wyowitka and they barely played any games at the NHL level. He'll be stronger as each season passes. Give him time.

You can't compare him to anyone at this stage cause he's got nothing (not enough) on his resume.

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06-06-2004, 09:05 PM
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Agreed with WHFA commish - you're overanalyzing things, igor. Hemsky is just a kid. Give him a bit more time before we break down his play quite that much.

About Martin - yes he was a good player. I never saw him play outside of ESPN Classics game, but playing on the French Connection certainly can't hurt! Ah, Gilbert Perrault, you should have been a Canuck! Damn you Dave Talon!

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06-06-2004, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFHACommish
Give Hemsky a break. He's only 20. I hate all this scrutiny on him. Just appreciate the fact that he's even playing in the NHL at this age. He's only going to get better. It's too early to criticize him so much.

There's little criticism on Lynch or Wyowitka and they barely played any games at the NHL level. He'll be stronger as each season passes. Give him time.

You can't compare him to anyone at this stage cause he's got nothing (not enough) on his resume.
Oh, aren't you wise.

Most 20 year olds in all walks of life are scrutinized. They may not be men at that age, but they should be, and they deserve to treated as if they were.

Bottom line ... I think that Hemsky is a wuss. And I don't think you don't grow out of that. I think you're born that way. Can you confirm?

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06-06-2004, 09:50 PM
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The thing we never talk about as fans is how smart a guy is.

There's almost a code in hockey, with guys being called "uncoachable" and things like that; baseball is far more critical. Jack Armstrong, a Cincinnati pitcher went through much of his career with the spoken reputation of having a "million dollar arm, ten cent head."

Is Ales Hemsky "uncoachable?" Too soon to tell, imo, but there's a disconnect somewhere because in the last half of the 03-04 season at the exact point when he should have been emerging, he fell flat on his backside.

Why?

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06-06-2004, 09:53 PM
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I see a Satan situation developing. Hemsky will be traded and score 40 goals and Lowe will be criticized once again. Why can't we let these players developed. How many more players are going to be run out of town. Fans complain about Calgary being in the SC Finals and yet good young players are criticized and run out of town. The Oilers need players like Hemsky to develop and he can't develop with fans constantly on his back. He's only 20 and frankly I'm getting sick of comments like "He's a Wuss." Satan was traded and he's scored 40 goals I believe. What did we get back. Players that are no longer in the organization. The Oilers have to hang on to players like Hemsky and it doesn't help with the fans constantly criticizing him and wanting him traded.

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06-06-2004, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
Oh, aren't you wise.

Most 20 year olds in all walks of life are scrutinized. They may not be men at that age, but they should be, and they deserve to treated as if they were.

Bottom line ... I think that Hemsky is a wuss. And I don't think you don't grow out of that. I think you're born that way. Can you confirm?
Any body who watches Hemsky closesly and often knows he's not a "wuss" by nature. He isn't scared to finish his checks at all. He also was gonna drop the gloves with Low (from St. Louis) last year, and if you are, by nature, a born wuss, you don't do stuff like that. The amount of flak Hemsky takes is stupid - all you people expect him to be like Kovalchuk and Spezza and just be that good this early - but he isn't like those guys. He has the chance to be a real good first liner - but he's never going to be a top 5 type guy in the league, and for him to be in the NHL at how young he is is impressive, especially when playing on a "playoff team" (I know they missed this year, but it was by ONE game and they made it the year before, so let's just roll with it, K?) and not some second to last place rebuilding club.

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06-06-2004, 10:02 PM
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I don't think you can even make the NHL these days as a 'born wuss'.

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06-06-2004, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemsky83
I see a Satan situation developing. Hemsky will be traded and score 40 goals and Lowe will be criticized once again. Why can't we let these players developed. How many more players are going to be run out of town. Fans complain about Calgary being in the SC Finals and yet good young players are criticized and run out of town. The Oilers need players like Hemsky to develop and he can't develop with fans constantly on his back. He's only 20 and frankly I'm getting sick of comments like "He's a Wuss." Satan was traded and he's scored 40 goals I believe. What did we get back. Players that are no longer in the organization. The Oilers have to hang on to players like Hemsky and it doesn't help with the fans constantly criticizing him and wanting him traded.
Satan was never a wuss. A selfish guy? a jerk? ... maybe, or probably. But never a wuss.

I wasn't a Oiler fan back then, I'd been out of the country for a while and had stopped following any particular team, still watched the Flames on occasion though, not on TV though. I remember watching Flames and Oilers games and following Satan when he was on the ice, interesting guy, Satan was a talent. Reminded me of the Messier/Tocchet thing the way that he would go out of his his way to cheapshot Zalapski. Didn't care if he gave up a scoring chance, he just did it. Must have been some history between the two ... I dunno. Players like that are the reason that coaches are gray. And call me old-school ... but I like those kind of guys.

Which is why I really find it offensive that you are implying that Satan is a wuss with absolutely nothing to back it up. I know its just the internet ... but if you must slander, please provide reasons.

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06-06-2004, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Thompson
I don't think you can even make the NHL these days as a 'born wuss'.
Exactly, thank you.... You'd need Gretzky skill - and, well, nobody has that here my friends.

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06-06-2004, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
Satan was never a wuss. A selfish guy? a jerk? ... maybe, or probably. But never a wuss.

I wasn't a Oiler fan back then, I'd been out of the country for a while and had stopped following any particular team, still watched the Flames on occasion though, not on TV though. I remember watching Flames and Oilers games and following Satan when he was on the ice, interesting guy, Satan was a talent. Reminded me of the Messier/Tocchet thing the way that he would go out of his his way to cheapshot Zalapski. Didn't care if he gave up a scoring chance, he just did it. Must have been some history between the two ... I dunno. Players like that are the reason that coaches are gray. And call me old-school ... but I like those kind of guys.

Which is why I really find it offensive that you are implying that Satan is a wuss with absolutely nothing to back it up. I know its just the internet ... but if you must slander, please provide reasons.
I didn't say Satan was a wuss. I'm just comparing the situation. I believe Ron Low didn't like him and Slats traded Satan instead of firing Ron Low. The way fans are criticizing Hemsky could force Lowe to trade him and find success elsewhere. I just don't like the fact that Hemsky is being called a "wuss".


Last edited by Narnia: 06-06-2004 at 11:02 PM. Reason: Error
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06-06-2004, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemsky83
I see a Satan situation developing. Hemsky will be traded and score 40 goals and Lowe will be criticized once again. Why can't we let these players developed. How many more players are going to be run out of town. Fans complain about Calgary being in the SC Finals and yet good young players are criticized and run out of town. The Oilers need players like Hemsky to develop and he can't develop with fans constantly on his back. He's only 20 and frankly I'm getting sick of comments like "He's a Wuss." Satan was traded and he's scored 40 goals I believe. What did we get back. Players that are no longer in the organization. The Oilers have to hang on to players like Hemsky and it doesn't help with the fans constantly criticizing him and wanting him traded.

Well, I don't think having a discussion about a hockey player and his weaknesses on a Sunday night in June qualifies as "running him out of town", but why don't we look at what MacT had to say:


"In the last four games he's been involved in three goals against,'' said MacTavish, who cut Hemsky's ice time down to 7:20 against Chicago, and just two shifts in the third period. "We've talked to him at length about what he has to do to improve his play and we haven't seen it.

"You'd like to think that when you talk to players, you see the change in their game they have to implement to improve. When you don't see that, you have to, at times, give them another perspective.''

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06-06-2004, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemsky83
I didn't say Satan was a wuss. I'm just comparing the situation. I believe Ron Low didn't like him and Slats traded Satan instead of firing Ron Low. The way fans are criticizing Hemsky could force Lowe to trade him and find success elsewhere.
Slow down. Nobody is trying to run Hemsky out of town. Everyone at Rexall checks to see if Hemmer is in the lineup first thing after parking their arse, me included, and for a reason --> the kid is damn entertaining to watch.

Having said that, he is a young hockey player, not a God, not a golden calf ... but a young hockey player. And he is not above criticism, not when it is warranted.

Quote:
I just like the fact that Hemsky is being called a "wuss".
Really?! I don't. I don't like it at all. Even though I was the one who said it ... I still think its unnecessary.

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06-06-2004, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFHACommish
Give Hemsky a break. He's only 20. I hate all this scrutiny on him. Just appreciate the fact that he's even playing in the NHL at this age. He's only going to get better. It's too early to criticize him so much.

There's little criticism on Lynch or Wyowitka and they barely played any games at the NHL level. He'll be stronger as each season passes. Give him time.

You can't compare him to anyone at this stage cause he's got nothing (not enough) on his resume.
Along with accepting the major league paycheques comes big league scrutiny, especially when you're on a playoff-calibre team. If you think that he can play 12 mins a game without going under the microscope, well... think again. His flaws and mistakes are weighed against his accomplishments and when there's a -# he should be held accountable.

Quite frankly I think that he's gotten off way too easy in the past. He's horrible at winning battles along the boards and in today's dump-and-chase-then-cycle game there's very little room for guys who aren't elite in other areas.

The reason there's little criticism of Woya and Lynch is because their pros are vastly outweighing their cons at the level they're at. The flipside of that is what happens with guys like Chris Hajt and Bobby Allen who don't really get the job done so well at that stage. We don't hear the crticisms, we just don't hear anything at all becasue noone's singing their praises.

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06-06-2004, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
Well, I don't think having a discussion about a hockey player and his weaknesses on a Sunday night in June qualifies as "running him out of town", but why don't we look at what MacT had to say:


"In the last four games he's been involved in three goals against,'' said MacTavish, who cut Hemsky's ice time down to 7:20 against Chicago, and just two shifts in the third period. "We've talked to him at length about what he has to do to improve his play and we haven't seen it.

"You'd like to think that when you talk to players, you see the change in their game they have to implement to improve. When you don't see that, you have to, at times, give them another perspective.''
Well said, LT. And thanks for the Mactavish quote, I'd missed that.

Off-topic a bit, but MacTavish is an interesting and honest (as he can be) interview to my ear. The postgames are crap, I'm pretty sure he plans what he will and won't say before he does it, probably writes this down (seriously), and then post-games the team so they echo the same sentiment. It would be pathetic if not for the fact that it worked every damn time.

But the rambling radio interviews he gives are really good stuff, just excellent. Good ol' Alberta Boy or not ... one helluva hockey mind IMHO. Once he's off his guard and just talking ... I'd put him up there with Nielsen (RIP), Feaster and Poile as the most insightful interviews in the game.

Having said that, its his job to get the most out of these kids. And a lot of these young millionaires have never been told a negative thing in their life ... and they don't take it well when it happens. But he's paid to make these boys men, in part at least ... that's his job. And while it isn't fair to judge him on one-offs (SEE Comrie), I think it is fair to judge him on the big picture.

So far I think he's handling Hemsky okay. He hasn't crushed him, he hasn't coddled him ... he's giving Hemsky a chance to earn his time, let's hope he does.

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06-06-2004, 11:02 PM
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As talented as Hemsky is...he still has some growing up to do, just like nearly every other 20 year old I've ever come across.

From April 7, the 'Ales will Czech out Worlds' article:

"I was expecting a lot of things before the season, so, yes, I'm disappointed," Hemsky said of being unable to crack the lineup in the stretch. "I don't know why. You'd have to ask the coach."

To me that illustrates a kid that wasn't very receptive to what his coaches were telling him. He then took that attitude to the Czech national team, and didn't make the squad...and wasn't exactly an 11th hour cut either.

Maybe that'll be a wakeup call for him. He's young, but you're never too young to learn a life lesson.

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06-06-2004, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger12
As talented as Hemsky is...he still has some growing up to do, just like nearly every other 20 year old I've ever come across.

From April 7, the 'Ales will Czech out Worlds' article:

"I was expecting a lot of things before the season, so, yes, I'm disappointed," Hemsky said of being unable to crack the lineup in the stretch. "I don't know why. You'd have to ask the coach."

To me that illustrates a kid that wasn't very receptive to what his coaches were telling him. He then took that attitude to the Czech national team, and didn't make the squad...and wasn't exactly an 11th hour cut either.

Maybe that'll be a wakeup call for him. He's young, but you're never too young to learn a life lesson.
Well, I read somewhere that Hemsky was "too young for their team."

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06-06-2004, 11:29 PM
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the RLR tag line on Hemsky from the 2001 draft is still hanging around him, probably somewhat deserved (maybe not):


"big talent, little balls"

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06-07-2004, 12:43 AM
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I certainly understand the criticism's of Hemsky, but I also think that people really might be expecting too much from him at this point. When I was 20...I wasn't exactly the most susceptible to having stuff told to me by people, nor was I the most responsible individual in the world. No one was paying me a million bucks a year, but even if they had been, I suspect that I would have been roughly the same guy, just better dressed and not walking places.

That said, it's entirely fair to expect improvement out of Hemsky. I really wish that the NHL had game logs for the past 50 years so we could have some idea when it's fair to expect a big season. Personally, I tend to think you've got to see some sort of upward movement by the third season. Last season has to be viewed as a lateral move, maybe a slight regression from the season before. The conventional wisdom (which I'm uncomfortable relying on) seems to be that this is the season where you see a movement. Personally, if I see him start shooting the puck a little more, and being less of a defensive liability, I'd be thrilled.

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06-07-2004, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
Oh, aren't you wise.

Most 20 year olds in all walks of life are scrutinized. They may not be men at that age, but they should be, and they deserve to treated as if they were.

Bottom line ... I think that Hemsky is a wuss. And I don't think you don't grow out of that. I think you're born that way. Can you confirm?
All I'm saying is it's unfair to judge hemsky with a lot of EXCESSIVE scrutiny. Sure everyone is scrutinized all the time. But for a kid his age, I think it's there's too much. What happened if the Oilers decided not to have him in the NHL and develop further in the AHL after his jrs? How many people would be giving him **** about his play this season if he didn't show signs of brilliance in the NHL the year before?

I mean this kid jumped from jrs to the pros. Not a lot of hockey players can say they did. He's still a kid in a man's game.

Besides, you're comparing him to a guy that according to ORR does the same move THROUGHOUT HIS ENTIRE CAREER. Hemsky has barely begun his career. To go further about saying he's a wuss? He's only 20 and most of the guys are a lot older and stronger than him. He's shown some signs of fighting back and it will only improve.

And how do you know he was born that way? Everyone thought Comrie when he broke into the NHL was too small and was only thought of an offensive softee. His last season with the Oilers, he racked up a lot of PIM and got into numerous scrums.

Bottom line is..Hemsky's still trying to find his place in the league. Once he's found it, only can it be fair to judge him OBJECTIVELY

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06-07-2004, 01:04 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
Question is ... why? Is he chickenspit?
Wild conjecture for fun: Chimera's hit in training camp made him wary about open ice. If true, his chickenfactor is partly a function of comfort level. Further conjecture: I wonder if Poliot will come in wide-eyed and cautious too, assuming he ever makes an NHL roster...(whoops, too early to criticize him )

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06-07-2004, 01:08 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFHACommish
All I'm saying is it's unfair to judge hemsky with a lot of EXCESSIVE scrutiny. Sure everyone is scrutinized all the time. But for a kid his age, I think it's there's too much. What happened if the Oilers decided not to have him in the NHL and develop further in the AHL after his jrs? How many people would be giving him **** about his play this season if he didn't show signs of brilliance in the NHL the year before?

I mean this kid jumped from jrs to the pros. Not a lot of hockey players can say they did. He's still a kid in a man's game.

Besides, you're comparing him to a guy that according to ORR does the same move THROUGHOUT HIS ENTIRE CAREER. Hemsky has barely begun his career. To go further about saying he's a wuss? He's only 20 and most of the guys are a lot older and stronger than him. He's shown some signs of fighting back and it will only improve.

And how do you know he was born that way? Everyone thought Comrie when he broke into the NHL was too small and was only thought of an offensive softee. His last season with the Oilers, he racked up a lot of PIM and got into numerous scrums.

Bottom line is..Hemsky's still trying to find his place in the league. Once he's found it, only can it be fair to judge him OBJECTIVELY
Excellent post. Nothing more to add

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06-07-2004, 12:08 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
I certainly understand the criticism's of Hemsky, but I also think that people really might be expecting too much from him at this point. When I was 20...I wasn't exactly the most susceptible to having stuff told to me by people, nor was I the most responsible individual in the world. No one was paying me a million bucks a year, but even if they had been, I suspect that I would have been roughly the same guy, just better dressed and not walking places.

That said, it's entirely fair to expect improvement out of Hemsky. I really wish that the NHL had game logs for the past 50 years so we could have some idea when it's fair to expect a big season. Personally, I tend to think you've got to see some sort of upward movement by the third season. Last season has to be viewed as a lateral move, maybe a slight regression from the season before. The conventional wisdom (which I'm uncomfortable relying on) seems to be that this is the season where you see a movement. Personally, if I see him start shooting the puck a little more, and being less of a defensive liability, I'd be thrilled.
Yeah, personally, I was a complete and utter bastrd at 20 ... thankfully we're not talking about me

To quote myself (is there anything better than that? ) a lot of times this season I said aloud. "Sooner or later this kid is going to have to set his balls square and take it wide, just to keep them honest". But he just never did. I'm sure I must have posted the same thought on here at least a few times, probably in similar words. A lot of players are selfish idiots at that age, and they can grow out of that, fair enough. But I really wonder about the fearful types.

A long time ago Sather told Jones (OTR), re Poti ---> "The kid is chickenspit, I'm going to have to trade him before the whole league figures that out". He'd later deny saying it. And the fact is, fearful players can still be useful.

Look at Nedved. Remember the COL game ... I saw this play on TV and replayed a bunch of times because I just couldn't believe it (not Nedved's play, there are tonnes of chickenspit players in this league, hell the fact that there are so many is the only reason that guys like Moreau and Lowe have had any success) Anyhow, the Oilers had the puck in the COL zone and were creating some great pressure and good chances, the COL D had been out there forever too. So the puck goes into the corner, Nedved is chasing it, fully 8 feet ahead of Blake. And I don't know what Blake said to him, but Petr pulled away inexplicably, apparently retreating into a zone defence of his own invention . Blake, a smart guy, grabs the puck and fires it up the ice for a icing whistle.

But that's not news. The interesting part ... straight away the producer cuts to MacTavish (probably coincidence, but maybe a really good producer) and MacT is stoic, no emotion whatsoever. Unreal. But I suppose its not like he doesn't know the guy.

I would have love to have had a seat on the glass in the corner for that game, just to hear what Blake said. The routine *** and blinding and threats are one thing ... but I've got to think that Blake said something special that really made Petr wonder if this wasn't the last corner he'd go into in his career unless he walked away and let Rob have the puck.

Gawd, this is a wonderful game!

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06-07-2004, 12:26 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
Yeah, personally, I was a complete and utter bastrd at 20 ... thankfully we're not talking about me
Yes, let's be thankful for that. I hesitate to imagine...

Back to the task at hand...if there's one thing MacT has shown during his extended tenure here, it's that his philosophy towards how you win a game seems rather similar to how you look at it, Igor/Vic.

It seems to be "If you don't score much but prevent a lot, or don't prevent much but score a lot...you will be in the starting lineup."

As soon as 'much' turns into 'at all', THAT'S when he casts his Eye of Sauron upon your ass.

To be totally honest, 2 years ago I had much more faith in Lowe as a GM than I did MacT as a head coach. Now, my thinking has mostly reversed.

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