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If you haven’t heard yet, Ales Hemsky will be back in the line-up tonight for the Edmonton Oilers. With the rumor that Hemsky was due to come back starting last week, the debate has been raging as to who would need to be removed from the line-up to make the room.

It’s official, Paajarvi draws the short straw. With one point since the satrt of the season, this comes as no surprise. And for some of us, it should’ve been done a few games ago. In my mind, Paajarvi is one of the softest wingers on the Oilers (or any team’s for that matter) roster. How many times have I watched this guy not finish a check, or not battle hard on the boards for pucks? One too many.

I want to say this right now, I am not trying to slag Paajarvi. I believe that he is an integral part of the re-build here in Edmonton, and I like this player a lot. I just feel that he has had ample opportunity to use his size and speed to be way more physical than he has, while not craeting offence.

From what I have read on twitter today, a lot of fans are concerned that this is a mistake. While writing this, I am listening to Oilersnow with Bob Stauffer talking to Tom Renney about benching Paajarvi. Part of Renney’s rationale is that Renney benched him last year, and he responded with much better play after that. Renney is hoping that it works again this season.


The issue for me (and I’m sure all of you) now is…how long will it be before Hemsky is injured again? Will we ever see this player play 65 games in a season? Twitterverse was a-buzz with tyring to figure out the over/under on games it will take for him to be re-injured again. I say 3-4 games.

It doesn’t seem like the fans have much confidence in seeing Ales play much this year, and who can blame them? He (Hemsky) just doesn’t understand that he’s fragile. Good on him for going into the tough areas of the ice and putting himself in harms way, but he needs to realize that there are better players for that now than him. Hemsky will be playing on the second line with Horcoff and Smyth tonight while Jones gets slotted down. I hope that Hemsky’s been advised to let guys like Horcoff and Smyth do some of that heavy lifting. If he hasn’t, then he needs to figure that out for himself. I think one of the ways he could achieve this would be to not go around the back of the net so much with the puck. We’ve all seen him carry the puck down the wing and cruise around the net to set up from the opposite half wall looking for a pass. I say shoot the puck as you go by, and try to avoid checks as you are coming around the other side.

Nobody wants to see Hemmer get injured again, and tonight’s game vs. the Montreal Canadians isn’t the most physical opponent. This bodes well for Hemsky to make it through at least one game to get his timing back. Hemsky has played just over 22 minutes thus far this season. He will need some time to get back to the Ales we all know and love.

This should be a bit of a run-n-gun type style of game as the Canadians are a more speedy skilled team like the Oilers. With Carey Price in net for Montreal, and Khabibulin in net for the Oilers, we are certainly in for a Goalie duel as well.

GO Oilers GO!

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Tags: Ales Hemsky Magnus Paajarvi Ryan Smyth Shawn Horcoff Tom Renney

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