Saturday, November 08, 2008

That Bum Ales Hemsky

There are a million great things about being a parent of small children that makes the exhaustion, the lack of social life (temporary with each baby's arrival) and the emergence of your right hand as your primary sexual partner, rather then just a naughty mistress on the side, that makes it all worthwhile.

Near the top of the pops is when the little buggers accomplish something. Remember the Tuesday after Thanksgiving when the boy was thrown into the deep end of toilet training and emerged just fine? Well since then there has been the odd accident but for the most part he has been just fine, thank you, a relief since his sister, two years his senior (!) suffers from the curse of my bladder, pea sized at best, and still has the odd accident. Night training is a distant bell for that one.

On the other hand the boy just came downstairs and I gave him a new pair of underwear to put on, instructing him to get his pullup off and wipe himself down. Down came the PJ bottoms to reveal ... underwear.

That he wore to bed last night. Took the bull by the horns he did. And dry as a bone.

Crazy wonderful shit.

Wednesday night I took my daughter to swimming. She's good in the water, a little ahead of the curve, almost at the point of swimming, just needs to get that confidence up to trust herself.

I read for a little bit while the class went on (Lauchlan Of The Bad Heart - I remember when there was very little decent Canadian lit - those days are gone - I have shelves of it now) and then headed downstairs to get her towel and get onto the pool deck. Its a neighbourhood school pool and has that underground murky feel that pools have, everyone white and shivering in the gloom, that unmistakeable pool smell.

As the class ended my daughter was bouncing on her toes, the water almost too deep, and suddenly up her legs came, easy as can be, and she paddled six feet to the edge of the pool and lifted herself up.

Just like that.


As far as I am concerned last season is when the Oilers became Ales Hemsky's team. Night in and night out he was their best player and often the best player on the ice period. He was shooting the puck more, finally, and until Horcoff went down he was having a terrific season. Horcoff's replacements fell short at ES and his game suffered although he still managed to produce on the PP.

This season started slowly for Hemsky, who looked in a funk, and the knives came out quickly. Fans, and I don't think its just Edmonton, are funny when it comes to skill guys. Here in Toronto Mats Sundin was a terrific player for years but he paled in popularity when compared to guys like Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour and even lesser lights like Tucker and Domi. The Swede was a sublime player but because he didn't throw the big hits or fight or most likely because he made it look TOO EASY, fans never warmed up to him. Your regular fan can appreciate the player who goes out there and crashes and bangs, who works the corners, who slams one in from the edge of the crease because for the most part we are muckers and grinders ourselves, raking leaves, getting up with a kid with a fever, picking up dog shit, having a pint at the local, dealing with a cranky wife or boss.

I'm a glass half full type of guy but life isn't easy for sure and its hard to relate to the guy with the big house (though he's likely put a lot of sweat and stress into it) or the Brad Pitt looks (genetics) or the ability to skate through the Philadelphia Flyers not once, but twice, pulling his team behind him.

What belies all of this, of course, is the Oilers' dynasty. It had its share of toughs and plumbers and even stars like Messier and Anderson could be vicious thugs when they hit the ice but it was first and foremost an offensively skilled team led by the most offensively skilled guy to ever play the game.

And they were beloved. Because they won, of course. How many times did that team turn it over at the blueline rather then getting it deep? Five Cups means all is forgiven. Heck one Cup would do the same.

Ales Hemsky is averaging a point a game now and this is with a sputtering PP and two linemates who are squeezing their sticks a little tightly right now. Four goals in the last three games, all on the road, each one a work of brilliance. Outplaying tough opposition, after a slow start he looks to be taking another step.

He's learning to fly and its a beautiful thing to see. A star is being born.


spOILer said...

He's at the age where most skill players seem to to turn the corner, and it appears he's rounding it nicely.

He looks hungry for goals and wins. Determined. He used to be a bit of a spectator before, watching others finish off his lovely passes. Lately he has looked like he wants to be the star of the show.

A player always has 4 options when he has the puck: pass, skate, shoot or drive. Hemsky's finally opting for the fourth on a regular basis and it's only going to open up tons of room for the first three.

If only he had Crosby's strong muscular thighs...

Black Dog said...

spoiler - powerful muscular commentary as always, monstrous even

excellent point - last year he began to shoot a lot more and as you said now he is driving the net with consistency

still just a kid really and there remain rough edges but the thing about Hemsky is that he keeps getting better and that is the main thing

raventalon40 said...

Would you call this the Hemsky supernova?

HBomb said...

Even when struggling, most smart folk knew it was a matter of time he'd start putting the puck in the net. It's how it goes, and how it will go for Gagner and Horcoff.

In the meantime, we will continue to read commentary how Gagner should be sent to Springfield (not allowable under the CBA for a 19 year old) or how Horcoff should be demoted to the fourth line because he's lazy and out of shape and Brodziak should be promoted to the first line (just plain stupid stuff, and yes, someone wrote this on a fan-board today).

It's 13 games in. Still early.

Lord Bob said...

Let's cut out the middleman and demote Horcoff to Springfield! Waivers, schmaivers! I foresee a top line of Hemsky, Schremp, and Jani Rita. Make it happen!

Anonymous said...

Having watched Hemsky's goals this year, what I imagine (hope) his thought process is, is "the defense...can't stop me. Ohhhhhhhh."