Sunday, March 15, 2009

Is Hemsky's Unorthodox Style Too Difficult For His Linemates to Mesh With at ES?

On the PP, Hemsky is pretty predictable except when entering the zone. When he sets up on the left half boards he is a magician. However this post isn't about his PP magic, it's about the fact that of all of our "top 6" forwards he seems to be the toughest for anyone to truly mesh with the possible exception of Shawn Horcoff. Is it possible that he'd be best on a 2nd line against softer opposition while the "top line" is loaded with the remainder of our best offensive players at the moment?

Hemsky can obviously burn anyone 1 on 1 or even 1 on 2, but I sometimes wonder if his unique style of play ends up hurting his linemates effectiveness as a whole. Here's what I propose...


The 1st line has 2 of our best offensive players of late and a good faceoff man in Horcoff.
The 2nd line has Cogliano in more of an offensive role and it'd be similar to the Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky line.
The 3rd line is self explanatory
The 4th line is a soft minutes scoring line, or against bigger/tougher teams insert Jacques and Stortini in Nilsson's and Kotalik's spots.

This allows the team to ice 2 solid top lines and a 4th line that should be able to provide some offense. If the opposition still decides to match up against the Hemsky line, then the O'Sullivan line should be able to take care of business.


slatz said...

Bryan, I was thinking the exact same thing the other day. It seems as though everyone we try with him is a bust, the latest being Kotalik. maybe it is time to try him on a second line and see what happens, it certainly can't hurt.

Good post by the way, one of your better ones.

Bryanbryoil said...

Thanks, and I agree, until we find someone that if a "perfect" fit for him, we should try this approach.

Bruce said...

BBO: While Hemsky's "PP magic" makes sense in theory, it has been missing in action for so long that at this late juncture in the season, the Oilers' powerplay is actually scoring more goals per unit ice time with Hemsky on the bench than on the ice. Hemsky's GF ON/60 has sunk to just 5.32, while his GF OFF is 5.66.

This certainly wasn't the case last year, when the Oilers PP scored 7.90 GF/60 with Hemsky out there and just 2.81 without. Ales isn't getting it done to anywhere the same degree of effectiveness. Fortunately, the second unit has picked it up a notch.

Bryanbryoil said...

For sure Bruce, Hemsky has been sub par at best the last 10 games or so. As a result the PP has struggled mightily and no surprise so has the team. Perhaps moving him to the 2nd unit would help his confidence playing against lesser pkers and joining the PP on the fly could create some opportunities for him to break into the zone in odd man situations.

Gagner's play has certainly picked up, I would propose a Gagner-Penner-O'Sullivan forward unit for the top PP.

Then maybe a Hemsky-Horcoff-Nilsson 2nd unit.