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Tag:Ales Hemsky
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:29 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 11:23 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Capitals, Avalanche, Canadiens



By: Adam Gretz


There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Their 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night was just the fourth win in 11 games during the month of February for the Washington Capitals, and only the fourth time they've scored more than two goals over that same stretch. And it couldn't have come at a better time for the Capitals as they still managed to pull to within two points of regaining the top spot in the always comical Southeast Division, despite what has been a month of less-than-stellar play.

Alex Ovechkin returned to the Washington lineup in the win and blasted a one-timer past Carey Price for his 25th goal of the season, giving him at least 25 goals in each of the first seven years of his career.

Some of the NHL's other winners and losers for Friday night…

Winners

1. Colorado Avalanche: Big win for the Avalanche on Friday night as they keep pace in the Western Conference playoff push with a 5-0 dismantling of the Columbus Blue Jackets. David Jones scored a pair of goals, Semyon Varlamov stopped all 28 shots he faced and the newest Avalanche player, Steve Downie, scored his first goal for the club.

[Related: Avalanche 5, Blue Jackets 0]

2. Dallas Stars: The Stars took over sole possession of the No. 8 playoff spot in the West with a 4-1 win over Minnesota. Dallas raced out to an early 3-0 lead in the second period, chasing Niklas Backstrom after only 23 minutes. Eric Nystrom, a member of the Wild at the start of the season, scored his 16th goal of the year while Tom Wandell added a pair to give him six on the year.

[Related: Stars 4, Wild 1]

3. Chuck Fletcher, Minnesota Wild general manager: Whether or not any of the players  or draft picks Chuck Fletcher received in the trade that sent Marek Zidlicky to New Jersey on Friday is pretty irrelevant at this point. He managed to gain three players and two draft picks for a player that no longer wanted to be in Minnesota (and was playing like it) while team itself had little leverage when it came to trading him.

Oh, and he also cleared a few million in salary cap space for next season. That's a win for the organization, even though the team lost on the ice.

[Related: Zidlicky traded to New Jersey]

Losers

1. Montreal Canadiens: The only positive development to come out of their loss in Washington on Friday night was the fact that Rene Bourque scored a shorthanded goal. Why is this so meaningful? Or even a little meaningful? Because until Bourque scored that goal, the Canadiens had gone more than 12 periods of hockey without scoring a goal against the Capitals, dating back to last season. In their past four games against Washington Montreal has been outscored 11-1. Since the start of last season they've been shutout by the Capitals four times.

2. Calgary Flames social media: I appreciate the rivalry between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. It's one of the great ones in the NHL, and it reached a new level on Friday when an anonymous member of the Flames social media team accidentally sent out a Tweet mocking the proposed contract terms for Oilers forward Ales Hemsky. The Flames acknowledged it, said it was a mistake, don't condone it, and will handle it internally. That's great, but it's not like the Flames don't have their own contracts that would draw a few chuckles from other teams around the league.

[Related: Flames official Twitter mocks Hemsky contract talk -- Oilers re-sign Hemsky]

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 7:52 pm
 

Ales Hemsky signs 2-year extension with Oilers

HemskyBy: Adam Gretz

Another potential trade target was pretty much removed from the market on Friday evening as the Edmonton Oilers announced that forward Ales Hemsky has signed a two-year, $10 million extension.

(And yes, that is the exact same term that had been rumored earlier in the day on Friday, prompting a since-deleted comment from the Oilers' main rivals, the Calgary Flames, in a since-deleted Tweet mocking that price.)

Hemsky was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 if the two sides did not agree to a new deal, and when combined with Edmonton's current place in the standings it made his name a popular one when it came to trade speculation ahead of Monday's trade deadline.

He's an extremely gifted playmaker and has been a productive player for the Oilers over the years when he's been in the lineup, averaging close to a point-per-game throughout his career. The problem he's consistently run into in recent seasons has been a seemingly never-ending run of injuries that have robbed him of quite a few games over the years.

Entering this season, he had appeared in just 279 of a possible 410 regular season games for the Oilers going back to the start of the 2006-07 season.

He's appeared in 47 games this season for the Oilers and has scored five goals and recorded 21 assists. He's never been a huge goal-scorer, but is a skilled passer and set-up man and has been one of the few bright spots in the Edmonton lineup over the years.

Now that he's signed for the next two years it helps keep together what is now a pretty promising young core of forwards to go with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Also at Eye On Hockey

The Flames Twitter feed finds Hemsky contract talks amusing

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:51 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:07 pm
 

Flames Twitter laughs at Hemsky contract talk

By: Adam Gretz

The Battle of Alberta reached new levels of insanity on Friday afternoon when the Calgary Flames official Twitter feed sent out a rather interesting tweet regarding some potential contract negotiations between their long-time rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, and one of their top players, forward Ales Hemsky.

The Flames have since deleted the Tweet, but screen shots never go away. So here we are.

Flames

This, of course, was in response to the news that the Oilers were reportedly offering Hemsky a two-year contract extension worth $5 million per season. And again, please keep in mind, this is the official account of the Calgary Flames. The team has since sent out an apology that says, "We apologize for a tweet that was sent out from our account inadvertently. We are looking into the matter."

Our best guess is that it was either an attempt at a direct message that was accidentally broadcast to the entire Internet, or somebody thought they were posting on their personal account as opposed to, again, the official account for an NHL team (Update: The Flames addressed the Tweet later Friday evening and confirmed it was meant for a personal account, while also saying they don't condone that, either). Or perhaps somebody was just trying to George Costanza their way into another job.



For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:43 pm
 

Should the Jets be buyers?

JetsBy: Adam Gretz

As one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL, averaging just 2.3 goals per game (25th in the league as of Wednesday afternoon) it's not a surprise that Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd would like to see some additional offense added to the team, especially after dropping a crucial 3-1 decision to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

The Jets have scored more than two goals in a single game just six times since January 1 (they've actually lost four of those games, for whatever that's worth) and are one of just two teams in the NHL that doesn't have a single player with at least 40 points this season (the Columbus Blue Jackets being the other). Blake Wheeler is currently leading the team with 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists). 

Following Tuesday's game in Winnipeg, Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun asked Ladd about the Jets needs as the trade deadline approaches, and the captain offered a little hint as to what he would like to see coming into the locker room.

“With the troubles we’ve had scoring, if it’s not going to come from within this room, we probably could use some help there,” said Ladd, via the Sun. "We’ve got a great goaltender, we’ve got D that can move the puck and play both ways.”

Obviously, it's a reasonable request from a player -- and the captain -- that's putting everything he has on the line every night and isn't ready to give up on the season.

But how much sense does it make from a front office standpoint to look for trade deadline rentals in what appears to be a rather thin market when it comes to goal-scorers? Especially for a team that still has a tough fight just to get into the playoffs.

The Jets are four points out of a playoff spot as of Wednesday, and even though that doesn't seem like a huge gap, it's not exactly promising, either. As we pointed out earlier on Wednesday, the Jets might need to finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 17-5-3 to reach the 95-point mark that it usually takes to make the playoffs. Is there a player (or players) available to them via trade that would give them enough offense to push a team that's won just seven of its past 20 games to that level? Rick Nash might be that sort of player. But is that a realistic target? Once you get past him you're looking at guys like Ales Hemsky and, well ... that's about it on this trade market when it comes to top-six forwards.

The only way a pre-deadline deal that has the Jets adding something to their NHL roster makes any sense is if it's a younger player that's under contract for future seasons and will be a long-term part of the team. A deadline rental that probably still won't be enough to reach even the No. 8 seed isn't what this team needs to be using its resources and assets on right now.

Latest NHL Trade Rumors and News

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 12:47 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 1:22 am
 

Sharks' Burns leaves game after knee-to-knee hit

By Brian Stubits

The San Jose Sharks took a tough loss in Edmonton on Monday night, dropping the game 2-1 in a shootout despite dominating the Oilers to the tune of a 45-18 advantage in shots.

What made it even tougher was the hit that star defenseman Brent Burns took in the third period, having a knee-on-knee hit from Ales Hemsky that knocked Burns out of the game. It also knocked Hemsky out of the game via a five-minute major (on which the Sharks scored their only goal of the game) and a game misconduct.

Here's a look at the play.

It can't be comforting at all seeing Burns having to be helped off the ice without putting much if any weight on his right leg, favoring the knee. It looked bad, really bad.

"It felt bad right away," Burns said after the game. "Almost threw up on the bench. He's [Hemsky] not that kind of player. Wasn't his fault."

In the good-news department, Burns reportedly walked onto the bus without assistance, including by the way of crutches. The upcoming All-Star break comes at a good time in that it gives them a few extra days off to further evaluate

But the mood wasn't overly optimistic after the game. From Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area:

“They’re still evaluating. I know he doesn’t feel good. I would doubt that he’s going to play for us tomorrow, and the doctors and the medical group have to really evaluate him to give us an update,” said the coach.

The Sharks have eight healthy defensemen, but [coach Todd] McLellan is still worried about San Jose’s prized offseason acquisition.

“Very high level of concern. It’s knee-on-knee, he doesn’t return, and you see him in there he’s not walking very well. I am concerned.”
The Sharks traded for Burns in the offseason, sending a pretty penny package of Devin Setoguchi, former first-round pick Charlie Coyle and a first-round pick in the last draft to the Wild for the defenseman. It was part of their summer objective to bolster the defensive corps in San Jose.

His numbers are down from the offensive production he put up in Minnesota, but he has been playing much better of late, raising his season total to seven goals and 10 assists thus far.

The question has to be asked if Hemsky, who is a target of a lot of trade speculation, will face any punishment from the league. Brendan Shanahan has punished players this season for knee-to-knee hits already. But to me it doesn't seem as bad as some of the others, seems more accidental than anything. I don't see Hemsky going out of his way to go knee-to-knee or leaving it out there long enough for the contact. I agree with Burns' assertion that it wasn't Hemsky's fault, it was more of an accident.

“For sure, he isn’t [at fault]," Burns reiterated about Hemsky. "I know that. It happens. It’s a quick game, and just a quick reaction. I’ve been on the other end. It’s quick, and it’s not his fault, I know that.”

The Sharks will hope it was nothing but a scare.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 16, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Oilers' Hemsky out 2-3 weeks with shoulder pain

By Brian Stubits

The Edmonton Oilers have an incredibly promising and exciting line in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ales Hemsky. They form a fast and very talented trio for the Oilers to build on.

But for the time being, they'll be down Hemsky. The winger is expected to miss at least the next two or three weeks as he waits for pain in his surgically reconstructed shoulder to subside.

“I’m a little weaker than I was. That’s my main concern right now,” Hemsky told the Edmonton Journal. “I have to get stronger and get rid of the pain then I should be back to normal.

“My shoulder is solid, I don’t have a problem with that. I just have to get rid of the pain.

“I want to be 100 percent. I don’t want to get hurt again and miss six months of the season.”

It is important to note here that we aren't talking about a new injury with Hemsky. He had surgery in March to repair a torn labrum and it's still causing him discomfort. So instead of pushing it now and risking further damage or any other problems, he is going to sit out until things get better.

Hemsky played the entire season opener, but left the second game against the Wild after just one period. His health is crucial to the Oilers going forward, so it's a great decision to sit him now so he can come back fully healthy later.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 11:30 am
 

Saturday Story: Tavares, the Nuge are pretty good

By Brian Stubits

I wonder how Taylor Hall feels this morning? Saturday was a banner night for two of the past three No. 1 overall draft picks. But at least Hall had a good view for half of it.

First, it was John Tavares. the No. 1 selection in the 2009 draft is scorching hot at the moment for the Islanders. Tavares had a hat trick as the Isles took down the Rangers in a New York showdown. For J.T., it marked his second consecutive four-point game that included five goals.

At this rate, maybe Tavares should do the negotiating for a new arena on Long Island. Right now, he can't miss.

Now step over here for the latest showing in Premature Theater: are the Islanders the best of the New York-area teams? Since losing on opening night to the Florida Panthers 2-0 with some boo birds in attendance, it's been mostly smooth sailing for the young bunch.

They have won three in a row, beating the Wild, Lightning and Rangers. They're goaltending has been surprisingly solid with Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov. We saw surprising simply because this team was carrying three goalies on the active roster as of a few days ago and not many foresaw Montoya being the No. 1. The offense is showing the promise many people see; largely Tavares can be a superstar and he has some good players around him.

This is the point where we remind ourselves it's only the second weekend of the year. Of course Tavares won't score four points every night. But the Islanders have been taking steps the last two seasons and the signs were there for a breakout, just nobody could see how it happened in a division with the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers and Devils. So far so good.

Not to be outdone

On to the other star of the night. That would be the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Oilers. I'm starting to think maybe the scouting reports had him all wrong. I'm not talking about the knocks on his size, either, but the fact that he is a play-maker. I'd say he's making plays right now, goal-scoring plays.

The Nuge as some have already come to call him, netted his first hat trick of his career in the Oilers' 4-3 loss to the Canucks. So yea, in only his third career game, Nugent-Hopkins wrangled up a hat trick against Roberto Luongo and the defending Western Conference champions. This comes after his game-tying goal in the final minutes against the Penguins in his NHL debut helped Edmonton to a season-opening two points.

But Hall isn't feeling too bad. After all, he had a solid rookie campaign himself last season and he's enjoying the spoils of Nugent-Hopkins' great start by playing on the same line. He has assisted on three of Nugent-Hopkins' four goals this season.

That giddy giggling you hear is coming out of Edmonton, where visions of sugarplums dance in their heads at the idea of Hall and Nugent-Hopkins playing on the same line for years to come. Throw in a healthy Ales Hemsky and you have as exciting and talented a young line as you'll find in hockey.

It's still going to take some time, but this might be the season where the Oilers begin to show that improvement. Of course if they don't, I can't imagine Edmonton would feel too bad with a shot at top draft prospect Nail Yakupov.

Phillin' it

Oh, and this Phil Kessel fella is pretty good too. The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of three unbeaten teams remaining in the NHL with a 3-0-0 record (the Capitals and Red Wings the others) and Phil Kessel has been a monster in that start.

Kessel is tied with Tavares and Pittsburgh's James Neal for the league lead in goals (five) and tied with Tavares and David Legwand in points (eight) despite playing in only three games.

Maybe that trade isn't looking that awful anymore.

What's that feeling in Toronto? Optimism? Nice to meet you again.

If a tree falls in the woods ...

The Dallas Stars are 4-1, but not many people in the Metroplex have been around to see it. In their home win on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the announced attendance was 8,305. That followed up attendance numbers of 6,306 vs. the Coyotes and 7,949 against the Blues.

Now I understand full well that there is a certain other team that is stealing the spotlight in Dallas right now in the Texas Rangers. A World Series run is not easy to compete against. But those numbers are still awfully low, especially this early in the season with a team playing so well.

I'll give Dallas a pass for another week or so until the Rangers' run is done, but with young stars like Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro, I have no doubt the Stars can surprise a lot of people this year and keep that up.

Jetting back

It was like an awkward family reunion when the Coyotes hosted the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night. And it was only fitting that Shane Doan did damage against his "old team" with two assists on the night.

But the intriguing part was the dynamic in the stands. Among the crowd were plenty of Jets fans to see the long-lost brothers battle on the ice. However, Phoenix did a pretty darn good job of keeping them quiet.

"Everybody always talks about we have games when there's a lot of visiting fans in there," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "But what it does is really feed on the emotion of the building because you get some visiting fans in there cheering that really puts a burr in your fans' butt. I thought our fans did a great job tonight. Believe me, I had visions of hearing 'Let's go Jets' a lot more than we heard tonight."

As for Winnipeg, you start to wonder what it will take to win a game. Maybe it's adjusting to life in Winnipeg now, a sense of entitlement as coach Claude Noel hinted at ("It looks like our team thinks we have a free pass to fail."), or none of the above. Either way, there is lots of work to be done.

Hangover Part II

The last two Stanley Cup champions danced in Chicago on Saturday night, and it was the defending champs getting the best of the battle.

The Bruins needed a shootout to get by the Blackhawks in the the preseason Finals pick of your's truly. It was a goal from Nathan Horton that got them there.

Maybe this can be the smelling salts that wakes Horton and the Bruins from their slow start to the season.

Dirty or not?

We could make this a daily feature with the microscope that is being put on his in the NHL these days.

Here's a clip of a hit from the Capitals' Matt Hendricks on the Senators' Colin Greening. This one drew a good amount of attention on Saturday as people were wondering if this would lead to Brendan Shanahan's first in-season suspesion for a hit to the heads that didn't include a stick.

To me it seems Hendricks comes at the hit high, but doesn't specifically target the head. However the high follow through with the elbow going sky high doesn't help make the hit look good. In the end, I would think this doesn't get any more attention and is instead categorized a good hit.

Have a look for yourself (from Washington Times, Japer's Rink)

Photos: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:06 am
Edited on: October 10, 2011 12:15 am
 

Nugent-Hopkins scores first career goal in debut

By Brian Stubits

Remember the only knock that people could find on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins around the draft, that he was too small? Not on Sunday.

The No. 1 overall draft pick this summer to the Edmonton Oilers made his NHL debut last night and also scored his first NHL goal. It was a big one, too. With just about five minutes to go, it broke up Brent Johnson's shutout and eventually helped the Oilers get a shootout win over the Penguins.

The surprising thing about Nugent-Hopkins' goal? There was nothing easy about it. It was a tough, physical goal. Fighting a battle for a rebound in the slot after a tremendous pass from Hall on the end boards, he muscled his way to the free puck and jammed it by Johnson and into the side of the net.

"Going into the game I was really nervous but I tried to use that to my advantage," Nugent-Hopkins said among a media swarm after the game. Job well done.

He was quick all game long. Oilers fans had to be dreaming of fast-forwarding two seasons or so after watching the line of Nugent-Hopkins, 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky. They were exciting and electrifying all night despite Edmonton's inability to score.

You can see where the future is heading in Edmonton, and the future is good.

Photo: Oilers Twitter account

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com