Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky (83) just before scoring the deciding overtime goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
As reported by TSN and every other hockey blog in Edmonton’s galaxy, Craig MacTavish stated on Wednesday morning that Ales Hemsky will not be traded and will be returning back to the Oilers for the upcoming season. What role he plays and where he fits in the lineup will be discussed by every analyst on TV and in your mom’s basement from now till October, but the final decision rests in the unproven hands of new coach Dallas Eakins.
I’ve made it known a few weeks ago that I am a fan of Hemsky and his expiring contract. Just like the rest of you, his semi-monthly injury schedule and overplaying of the puck into traffic can be maddening at times, but there is no denying his talent and ability. A man who can dangle his way through defensemen the same way I dangle through a buffet line is certainly deserving of our respect, especially after being the good soldier for the past 6 seasons while the players around him got better at being horrible. At only 29 years of age, he can still produce at a high level if he can ever manage to stay healthy, which is about as likely as me getting a date with Kate Upton. If Hemsky stays healthy this season, I’ll be spending my entire dinner with Kate Upton calling all of my ex-girlfriends and telling them I’m having dinner with Kate Upton. So you’re saying there’s a chance….
Another player who shares several things in common with Hemsky is one Roberto Luongo. Of all the storylines heading into the season, none will be as prominent as the Luongo/Canucks saga. Luongo, like Hemsky is a greatly underappreciated player with his local fan base. Blamed for every imaginable grievance under the sun, he’s become a pariah by the fans, media and most of all, his GM.
Waaayyyy back in June of this year, MacT openly stated that it was best for all parties if Hemsky and his long time teammate Shawn Horcoff moved on to greener pastures. Count me as one of the people who thought that Horcoff’s contract would be the harder one to move. Yet, here we are two months later and it looks like Hemsky will remain with the team until the trade deadline while Horcoff has taken his talents to Dallas.
As difficult it has been to trade Hemsky, moving Luongo’s contract is akin to getting Ben Affleck to play a convincing Batman. It just ain’t gonna happen. Canucks general manager and Prime Minister of Stupid-stan Mike Gillis similarly made a public statement to the fans and media that moving Luongo was a priority. The difference is that while MacT said it back in June, Gillis said it back in 2012.
The Hemsky saga has been with its share of ups and downs, with most casual fans ready to trade him for that ever elusive big body winger or top 2 defenseman that doesn’t exist. His $5 million cap hit isn’t doing him any favours, and although he’s only 29 and possesses one of the finer skill sets in the league, he couldn’t find any takers this off season. A trade would have been the ideal outcome, but finding a team to take on a fragile winger with marginal production in recent years in a season with the cap going down was an unrealistic conclusion. The Oilers had no interest in a buyout. The best bet at the beginning of the summer still stands true today and that will be that Hemsky is traded at the deadline. His contract will be easier to move then and he will also be an attractive option for any team looking to add scoring depth for a playoff run.
Hemsky’s role this season changes significantly from the one he’s been asked to fill since the day he came here. No longer is he going to be asked to carry the load offensively and play against top opposition. The changing of the guard up front has begun with Jordan Eberle & Nail Yakupov on right wing and a left side featuring budding superstar Taylor Hall & newly acquired David Perron. Hemsky will most likely slide into a 3rd line complimentary role flanking Boyd Gordon and one of Ryan Jones/ Ryan Smyth / Bruce Willis or Jose Canseco.
Luongo’s role also changes, but a different kind of change. Picture yourself being handsome and rich for a minute. You win the most awesome boyfriend award and by the power of Maury Povich, the July Maxim cover girl and timeless beauty Alyssa Milano falls in love with you. You bring her home, she meets the family, everyone likes her and you make a 12 year commitment to her. These days, 12 years is like, three marriages minimum. Anyways, one day you’re at the mall and Alyssa’s younger, equally eye catching friend starts flirting with you. Her name is Jessica Alba. She starts becoming more and more aggressive in her pursuit of you every day, and you are not afraid to show off your newest leading lady. Alyssa, the loyal lover she is, stands by your side but knows full well that any day now you’re going to give her the proverbial ‘kick to the curb’. By now, Jessica’s glorious smile and deep captivating eyes have led your heart astray, and won the love and admiration of your friends and family. At family bbq’s, they all give Alyssa the cold shoulder and can’t wait for her to be gone. Weeks go by, turning into months and everyone knows you love Jessica but don’t have the heart to break it off with Alyssa. Knowing that you are trying to let her down easy, she expects to get dumped on the trade deadline and when it doesn’t happen, she has a press conference telling everyone her relationship sucks and can’t wait to get out of it. But that 12 year commitment is hanging around her neck like a scarlet letter. The only way to get out of it is to find someone else willing to take it on. Although she remains gorgeous and mesmerizing, not one person out there is ready to commit to her for 12 years. So she stays. All that time Alyssa has been crying on the inside, about how her lover and friend has abused their relationship and taken her for granted, and publicly flaunted his new young girlfriend. On the outside she has put on a brave face as the loyal and loving wife who will stand by her man in the face of adversity.
Finally after 18 months, draft day comes and you have to make it official. Instead of working up the courage and ending this farce for good, you hastily dump Jessica and make a public plea for Alyssa to come back. You tell the world you loved her all along and she was always the one, but deep down you both know that you want nothing to do with each other. Knowing that this 12 year marriage is iron clad, you both agree to face the music and make the best of it. She won’t talk to you and deep down she hates you, but has no choice but to play along with the charade. You really made a mess of things. You’re lucky to have a woman like Alyssa Milano in your life. What you did is sorry, inexcusable, and downright shameful.
Now wake up from your dream. Alyssa Milano is a hairy Italian named Roberto. Jessica Alba is Corey Schneider. The Vancouver fans and media are your friends and family. And you, the bumbling meathead that had the luxury of two all star goalies, are the incomparable Mike Gillis. You have managed to piss off everyone around you. Things sure have turned around for the former Executive of the Year.
What’s the moral of this story? I don’t know anymore. I got caught up in the whole Kate Upton / Alyssa Milano / Jessica Alba story that I forgot my point altogether. Anyways, Ales Hemsky is coming back. Roberto Luongo is still a Canuck. Deal with it.
This week in twitter world has been a great one. I went from 47 followers all the way up to 63! Pretty exciting times even though most of you came from me begging my friends to tell people to follow me. With that in mind, my sturdy 24 lb cat Mango has 16 followers and he hasn’t even made a tweet yet. It’s just a video of him twerking against his scratch post. Let’s try to keep me ahead of him in twitter wars, and follow me @Yaseen_AC. First 10 new followers this week get a free blue or pink paperclip courtesy of yours truly, depending on what I have left at my desk. Happy Hockey season to all of you!