Paging Mr. Hemsky … white courtesy telephone please

Ales? Ales? Are you there, Ales?

For the second year in a row the Oilers are engaging in a second half playoff run with their putative star player seemingly missing in action. Last year Hemsky scored some on the powerplay, but bled goals against at evens, posting a brutal -13 rating after the All-Star break. This year the +/- isn’t so bad, but the scoring has dried up including on the powerplay where production from Hemsky is essential to production from the unit.

It’s interesting to compare the production of Ales Hemsky, first line right winger and team leading scorer, with that of Zack Stortini, 4th/5th line right winger and 9-minute a game grinder. Entering this afternoon’s game at Minnesota, this is what the two have done over their last 15 games played:

Hemsky : 15 GP, 3-4-7, -2
Stortini:15 GP, 4-3-7, +2

Now I’ll readily admit this is cherry-picking to some extent, that 15-game run is by far the best production of Stortini’s career, although somehow not enough to prevent a wholly-undeserved five-game vacation in the press box. But the point is that Hemsky is being paid, and played, to produce, and he hasn’t been doing it. 15 games is a significant enough segment of the schedule that he should be far ahead of the likes of Zack Stortini.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

Even strength
Hemsky : 223:33, 3-1-4, 1.07 ESP/60
Stortini:133:06, 4-3-7, 3.16 ESP/60

Hemsky : 59:02, 0-2-2, 2.03 PPP/60
Stortini: 1:18, 0-0-0

Two points, both secondary assists, in 15 games for Mr. Power Play. One assist in 15 games at even strength for Mr. Playmaker. One assist on an empty netter.

Ales looks frustrated out there. Even the acquisition and insertion of his buddy and fellow Ales, Kotalik, on his line accomplished nothing. Is he hurt? Or just in another second-half funk?

Groundhog Day was six weeks ago, Ales. The time to wake up is Now.


docweb said...

Thanks Bruce

Another game today with the PP on a holiday and worse as the game went on. Easy to say that it was because of the Wild's PP but we all know that is only part of it.

Hemmer is starting to revert back to his old habits of holding onto the puck too long and then either losing it or making a horrible pass ie last 2 minutes against Chicago.

On the PP his cross ice pass to Horc is either taken away or they just don't bother (since Horc's onetimer is starting to look like mine). His quick twirl at the half boards and shot almost never now results in a shot on goal let alone a goal.

It has been a long time since he did anything brilliant individually. I have thought he has made some lovely plays to POS and Horc that they just haven't finished on. I have hope for POS but not for Horc this season anyway.

You are dead on though that to win you need your best to be your best. Full stop.

Bruce said...

DocWeb: Thanks. On the bright side Hemsky played his best game in quite awhile in St.Paul today: 5 shots on goal, 10 attempted shots, 2 blocked shots (!), 2 hits (!!!). He was engaged and making tsuff happen, especially early. Still, the bottom line remains, 0-0-0, -1.

Hemmer's gotta start scoring.

William said...

I don't think this cherry picking is a very good comparison. No disservice to 46, but I think you do a disservice to 83 if you don't post the other underlying numbers that go with these games, mainly QC. I don't see 46 putting up those kind of numbers if he's facing the other team's first line/top checking unit/top D pairing every game.

That said, I fully agree 83 is slumping badly. Some bad luck and sometimes the shooters not burying his passes, but mostly forcing a lot of plays, making poor decisions with the puck, and seeming to get down on himself rather than stepping up.

It seems, whether due to MacT's game plan or Hemsky's toolset, 83's only effective these days if he gets a good lead pass and enters the O zone in full flight. I don't know if there's a failure to adapt here anywhere, but this team really misses 71.

Bruce said...

William: OK, let's do that. Hemsky has a QualComp of +0.02,tied for second among regular Oilers (40+ GP). Stortini's is -0.12, the lowest on the squad. Point taken.

BUT, Hemsky also has a QualTeam of +0.23, by far the best on the team. He gets the best players on his line, always. Whereas Stortini's QualTeam is -0.16, again the lowest on the club.

So the comparison is ultimately a poor one, one plays with and against the best and the other, uh, doesn't. But at least he's been scoring a little.

Hemsky meanwhile has been mired in a miserable slump both at evens and with the man advantage, a dry stretch which now extends over 16 GP, or 20% of the schedule. The point of this post is to emphasize how deep that slump has become.

So let's forget about Zack Stortini (as Craig MacTavish seemingly has done) and let's compare Hemsky's recent performance with the entire Oilers team. Here are season-to-date production rates at even strength and on the powerplay

Oilers Forwards ESP/60
(40+ GP)
2.10 Hemsky
1.82 Penner
1.79 Stortini
1.76 O'Sullivan
1.76 Cogliano
1.73 Pouliot
1.70 Gagner
1.66 Moreau
1.58 Brodziak
1.53 Horcoff
1.49 Reddox
1.28 Nilsson
1.26 Kotalik
1.01 Hemsky last 16 GP

Oilers Forwards PPP/60
(40+ GP, 1:00 PP TOI/G)
4.88 Hemsky
4.79 Nilsson
4.38 Kotalik
3.64 Horcoff
3.50 Cogliano
2.84 Gagner
2.67 Penner
2.37 O'Sullivan
1.93 Pouliot
1.88 Hemsky last 16 GP

That Hemsky continues to lead the team in both catgories for season-to-date production speaks to how he was scoring earlier, and to how much this team relies on him. But the last five or so weeks he hasn't been delivering.

relic said...

I swear I've "seen him" miss quite a few grade A chances lately, he's been snake bitten.

For interests sake, the most productive guy lately has been Gagner right?

even strength scoring chances for per min the last four games using Dennis' numbers.

Hemsky: 0.6, 0.54, 0.49, 0.52
Gagner: 0.28, 0.13, 0.09, 0.41

the last games Stortini played,

Hemsky: 0.25, 0.45, 0.07
Stortini: 0.11, 0.31, 0.55

this last game was against nashville, 46 seems to have put in a hemskian performance.

in any case I think 83 is creating out there just that nothing's going in.

Bruce said...

Hey Relic, that's a good idea parsing ESSC per minute. I agree Hemsky has been creating more chances of late, especially the last 2 or 3 games he has his skating legs going but he's not finishing, not shooting enough himself, and his linemates can't put the puck in the ocean it would seem. I also agree with William that he misses Visnovsky, but the great ones find a way to compensate and make the ones around them better, and I'm not sure we're seeing that with Hemsky the last little while.

As for Stortini he is -- was -- riding a bit of a lucky roll where his shots and chances were turning into a disproprotionate number of goals. Noentheless,I don't for the life of me understand why the coach would bench a hot hand, especially one who hits and fights and does the dirty work for the team that Zack does. We sure could have used his physical intensity in a game like today's, let's put it that way.

Mostly though I cited his stats just as a contrast and as a way to make two points in one post, about guys going in opposite directions. Not in a million years do I think that Zorg can hold a candle to Ales offensively, and the fact that he has actually more than kept up for a span as long as 15 games is shocking on both fronts.

Coach pb9617 said...

Bruce - why do you overlook the obvious :)?

Hemsky with and without...

With Penner: 1.257 GF/20
w/ o Penner: 0.762 GF/20

Bruce said...

Coach: Cuz Hemmer is the star with the value contract and Penner is overweight and overpaid.

Note that Hemsky's GA also suffers, although not quite so dramatically, without Penner (-0.743/20 w., -0.896/20 w/o). His net differential is +0.514 per 20 with Penner, and -0.134 without.

I'm convinced, even if MacT isn't. :)

dstaples said...

Now we can see why Hemmer is in such a bad mood.

David S said...

Hey Bruce, what would it look like if you compared other team's #1's over the past 20 games versus Ales? It seems to me that guys like Jarome are making fairly regular contributions and fulfilling their #1 roles, whereas Ales appears to be lacking in that vein.

Bruce said...

Hey Bruce, what would it look like if you compared other team's #1's over the past 20 games versus Ales?

It would look like a serious butt-kicking.

Doogie2K said...

This is wildly unrelated, but it's also wildly unrelated in the GDT, so I thought I'd bring it over here. From the Ducks GDT re: the Hitmen:

Not faint praise at all, I almost always say nice things about Matt, or at least nicer things than many in the sphere do.

Fair enough. I can see the Greene comparison, though as long as they don't make his first NHL experience the third round of the playoffs, I'm fine with that. Never seen Plante block a shot with his helmet and finish the shift, mind you. ;)

The guy who caught my eye right away was this Brandon Kozun you've mentioned a couple of times. Reminded me of Marty St.Louis except with a lower centre of gravity. Skill, smarts, determination, a fun player to watch. He'll be in deep in the pros but at the very least should have a nice career in Europe.

Mom and I both love the guy. If some giant doesn't kill his career before he can get established, he could have a career: he'll take a hit to make a play, and he'll go places where short people aren't particularly welcome. Guy Flaming says his sources with the Oilers aren't interested, which is a bit disappointing.

Oh yeah, and Paul Postma, who grabbed my eye when I saw the Hitmen last season. He just commanded the ice any time he was out there. +67, wow.

I don't see that aspect of the game as well from my vantage point, but I've very seldom had anything bad to say about Postma at the end of an evening. (One game last year I happened to take in from a higher seat, and confirmed for myself how much of a clusterfuck Keith Seabrook was that season, and how he didn't belong in the same rink as Karl Alzner, never mind the same defensive pairing. Apparently he was playing hurt a lot; he's much better this year.)

I think your team could go deep. Unfortunately, they're from Calgary, so sooner or later they're bound to blow it. :)

Ugh, I know. One of those Getzlaf teams really should have gone further than the second friggin' round. I don't think I'll fully relax until after the playoffs are over. ;) That being said, they beat the Giants once in each barn, and that team is no joke (6-2 here and 4-0 there, though the 'Dome game was much closer than it looked -- a classic mid-season playoff game).

Bruce said...

Doogie: Kozun got a goal in that game on half a chance, saw the hole right under the bar and hit it with a laser flash. Neighbour's kid I attended the game with had a great line: "Datsyuk called, and he wants his stick back." He was right, the shot was that good. Not just a goal-scorer's goal, it was an elite goal-scorer's goal.