Hemsky and Ice-time

I've long been an advocate of increasing Ales Hemsky's ice time. It certainly does not appear that he lags at the end of games; and there's no outward evidence his conditioning is particularly bad, so why do we not use him to the extent we probably should?

Ales is currently 26th in league scoring despite being on the 24th ranked team in terms of goals for and having no close competition for the team scoring lead or notable scoring support. The guy's having a great year.

Only 5 players in the league have more points that Hemsky and play less than he does. All of those guys are outside the top-14 in league scoring.

To be in the top-10 you've got to play at least 19:10 a night, and Hemsky isn't that far off but he's not there.

To be top 4 you need to be 21+

Why isn't Ales being given that opportunity thus far?

All top point-getters generally get a few SH shifts here and there; Ales essentially never does.

Top guys get double-shifted and this happens from time to time but not in a strategic fashion from our coaching staff and I'm not totally sure why. I outlined in my line proposals a couple posts ago how this would work in my world and stick by it. Hemsky should play on 1 and a 1/2 lines.

Ales played a whole PP last game; but he never does that. The guy is an elite PP forward and should play as close to the full two minutes as possible at least 3 times in the average game. It's worth it to have him out there. Even the stats guys seem to agree with me here.

Ales if anything cuts his shifts short and has to be pushed by the coaches sometimes to stay out longer; perhaps this is the cause of the lower minute totals and some specific work has to be done to get him to occasionally take "the big shift" that all talented scorers at all levels take from time-to-time. Knowing when exactly to do this is an art; but one I'm sure he could pick up.

The guy could be even more of a weapon out there if we'd just get him on the ice some more.

Random thought of the day: why don't any teams occasionally employ a PK strategy that positions a forward behind the other team's D? I know it might sound crazy, but think of it; get the puck once and you're off to the races. The initial reaction from opposition squads would be something to behold as well. Give it a chance to simmer in your minds a little before you condemn it.


Marchantfan said...

If your goal is to get him points, it is madness to put him out on the penalty kill. NO ONE scores on the penalty kill. Short-handed points are essentially lucky breaks, even for skill players like Datsyuk (they just convert on the lucky breaks a little more often than say Marchant).

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