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Friday, September 10, 2010

Ales Hemsky, The A or Not the A?

I kind of started to pipe off today (what's new) on twitter about who deserves to wear a letter this year for the Oilers. Steve Tambellini said today on the team 1260 that there will be a captain this season. So why not start some speculation?


I started thinking about the current roster and really, you can hate Horcoff's contract all you want, but you can't hate his work ethics. He does give it his all and he never quits. He is IMO the best veteran guy to help these kids grow. Shawn Horcoff is going to be an Oiler for a few more years and I can see Tom Renney going with a solid all around guy like Horcoff to lead this team. He wouldn't be a bad choice at all. He's the logical choice.

But the fan in me screams Gagner. I think it would be a good choice to pick Sam Gagner as the captain this year, right now. The Oilers are a rebuilding team and this is the first year of many (hopefully only two years till this is a playoff team) and why not have him "grow" into this much like Towes is doing n Chicago. I know that they are two complete different payers and I am not comparing them to each other. I was just comparing the ages. I think if you let Sam learn on the job so to speak he will be a great captain for the Oilers. I know a lot of you think I'm nuts for saying that but I really do think Gagner is going to be the leader of this young squad now, and into the future. So why beat around the bush?

As much as I think that's a great idea to pick Sam (I'm sure it won't happen, no need to worry), I'm going all in on Horcoff with the C.

I said on twitter today that Horcoff should get the C and Penner, Whitney and Gagner should wear an A this year. Just a guess. Purely me taking a shot in the dark.

I'm not a fan of the four assistants rotation, I like just two or three A's that are permanent. Maybe I'm just too old school, but I didn't like that four guy rotation. It was 2 home assistants and 2 road assistants.

A few of my tweeps reminded me that I forgot Hemmer when I made my comment.

I had this to say about it. I said, "I did forget Hemsky for an A. But does he really need/deserve it? He's not a leader on the team so why give him the A?" Then I continued with, "I am talking about helping the guy next to you type of leadership. Yes he's a good player and he puts up the points. But he's not "the let me help you leadership kind of guy". Unless he blows my mind this year, I'm ready to move on."

Bruce McCurdy from Copper & Blue replied to me with this about Hemsky, "Maybe Ales needs to feel like he's a leader on this team. I'd give him an A for sure."

My answer to that was, "If giving an A to Hemsky is solely for the purpose of making him feel good, then it's a waste of a letter. It means nothing."

Bruce once again countered with, "No, it's more than making him feel good. It's expectation and responsibility and a vote of confidence all in one."

Damn. I can't argue with that at all. Bruce is right. It is what it is. Hemsky is that kind of player. It doesn't matter how I feel about giving out letters to players that don't really lead a team, he is at this moment, an Edmonton Oiler. And if we want him to try his ass off and play his best, having an A on his jersey might just do that.

So I'm torn. Do you appease Hemsky and sew on another assistant captains letter A on his jersey to make him feel wanted, needed and like he's important to the team?

Or do you not give it to him at all and let the real team leaders lead like Horcoff, Penner, Whitney and Gagner have it with no rotation and take Hemsky for what he is? With no A.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-


  1. I'd definitely give Hemsky an A because he may not lead in the traditional sense such as motivational talks or fighting, but he leads when he scores. He leads when he fights on three offenders to take the puck to the net. He leads by occasionally throwing a body check. He's the team's best player, so he should get an A.

  2. Hemsky definitely deserves an A. He may not be very vocal but he is explosive, hard working and dynamic on the ice. To me he leads by example on the ice. Last year he was one of the few oilers that would go into the greasy areas to compete for the puck also we saw what happens to the team when he isn't on it.

  3. A for Hemsky. Has been a phenomenal player for us, not a phenomenal leader. But it takes a letter for some players to realize they got to start leading

  4. Good post. I'm in total agreement with Hemsky. It's a letter rewarding his play on the ice, which is sometimes skeptical imo. The argument is he leads by example I suppose, but he's flawed in many other areas where his examples aren't necessarily good. He's usually the last person to step on the ice at practice, the first to step off the ice, sways from the media (as a leader he should be expected to speak for this team), I can't see him speaking up in the dressing room, although that last part is only speculation.

    As for Gagner, I couldn't agree more. This is the direction good teams are going towards. His age group of players will be the core of this team, they should recognize that immediately and surround Gagner with his men. But...I'm sure the C will go to Horcoff.

    Can't wait for this Tourny to get underway, just arrived late last night (9 1/2 hr drive).


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