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11/25/09

Hemsky Banter

I must admit I am somewhat at a loss.

This year, for no particular reason a substantial quantity of the "whipping" that goes around every year. It's truly silly to rag on one of your top 2 point guys and a top 25 PPG guy in the NHL. He's a legit first liner we are very fortunate to have and at the deal we've got him, one of the best bargains in the NHL.

And yet his practice habits are questioned (later with corrected context by the coaches but this fact seems completely ignored by many commentators), his efforts this year are demeaned, "only a top 2 player in 3 or 4 games this year" was probably the quote that set me off.

If you cannot see that he's been important to most of the wins we've had this year I probably cannot help you. He stirs the drink. He and Penner complement each other immensely. One does not have the success they are currently having without the other.

Penner is lauded because it's such a leap for him. Hemsky is lambasted because it's only a moderate one. Sad really.

Watching them both skate through checks this year, really showing how hard they're willing to work to win, has been a revelation. They have looked truly excellent and if given any supporting offence will surely lead this team to many wins.

Yet Hemsky is slagged on as if he wants nothing to do with the team and is lazy and skips practice...this makes no sense.

This has nothing to do with keeping him around either...this is not about not offending his sensibilities as I'm sure he can handle that, this is about accurately reflecting the on-ice events.

The stats say he's producing. Sight says he's producing. He's been top 2 on our squad. Easily. The only man that competes for top 3 with Hemsky and Penner is Visnovsky, but he of course is responsible for playing for a very different type of game.

This is especially surprising in light of the last couple games, where Hemsky has been utterly stellar. I'm sure he's doing just fine in practice aside from a specific event that was highlighted. That's about being fair and consistent as a coach. It doesn't matter who makes that mistake, they should be commented on.

In one of these episodes, Hemsky was compared negatively to Joni Pitkanen. This further enraged me. Pitkanen was one of the most talented guys to wear the jersey in the past few years; he also produced very well for us. He was excellent. Because of a coach who was unable to connect with him, and I'm sure to some extent because of a media bent on re-affirming their ability to exploit "access" to the team into value for the reader and therefore slagging him because he was quiet and a little different, he is long gone.

This process is illogical and silly. Hemsky's been excellent this year. Or maybe no one will give anyone any credit until they put 215 points on the board? Unless of course they're a slug. But that's another rant...

1 comment:

David S said...

The sad fact is that Hemsky is one of the few bright lights on our team right now. Everybody is expecting him to carry even more of the burden and there's only so much he can do. Unless he plays 5 bells every night, he'll get blamed for every loss. Too bad because there's simply no way he can answer that call.