Quinn’s Doghouse

By , October 1, 2009 6:44 pm
The New Doghouse - Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner

The New Doghouse - Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner

Every coach has their own Doghouse. One guy that struggled but never seemed to end up in it (until now) was Sam Gagner. Ales Hemsky has always garnered respect, but some of what Quinn has said since getting here leads me to believe that none of the players are going to be exempt from being bumped down a line if they don’t play a strong team game. You can have a strong individual game, but it will have no meaning under Quinn (not to say that MacTavish was different in that regard).

Here is the running list of quotes that point towards the skill players being in Quinn’s not-so-awesome books:

June 16, 2009, presumably on Ales Hemsky
You’ve got a great talented center here that never distributes the puck. Is he a great talent? Yeah. But he’s like playing with the Lone Ranger. If you consider yourself only an offensive player, then you are not becoming part of the team. Quite frankly you can score 40 goals, but you’re not going to help us win.


September 11, 2009 (first day of training camp), presumably on Ales Hemsky, possibly Sam Gagner and others
We are a bunch of players who seem to have some skill, but I know skill alone doesn’t win in this business. It never has and never will. You have to learn how to use that skill well. You have to be interdependent and really rely on each other to be better than just the individual skills. Then, you’ve got a chance to win.


September 29, 2009, presumably on Ales Hemsky.. perhaps others as well
We have some guys that aren’t leaders that are veterans. They’ve hung around because they know how to play, but we need our veterans to care more about the other people around them. Some guys don’t have time for that. They’re busy with themselves.


September 30, 2009, on Sam Gagner
I’m just going off training camp. You certainly look at history and understand what’s gone on here. He did, from my understanding, historically have a real hot spot a couple of years ago. It’s three years now, the start of the third year. It’s time to start moving that up. I haven’t seen that part in camp, yet. Most people believe that it’s there and it’s going to come. For the purposes of preparing for opening night, that’s probably where he is going to start.


October 1st, 2009, presumably about Gagner, possibly more
“We’ve got some guys who are 19 or 20 years old who have played by themselves for a long time, they get 30 or 40 points and they’re thinking that’s pretty good. It’s not good. It’s not good enough.”



So… reading into this too much? Or does Hemsky have to reinvent himself? Or are the generic statements directed at another player, or perhaps a few in general? What about Gagner who has found himself on the 4th line? The only thing is certain is that players aren’t going to get by here on potential. Its all about the “boxcars”.

Personally, I think Hemsky’s individual game is what makes me like him as much as I do. But that is only at even strength. On the powerplay, I can see some of what Quinn was saying in the first quote (even though we all know Hemsky is a right winger, not a center, unless he was talking about someone else). Hemsky has always done his marquee circle around on the boards, hanging on to the puck until Souray got open. He’s got to open it up a bit and start utilizing all 4 players joining him on the ice. I think we saw a bit of that in the pre-season though. He seemed to be using both Horcoff and JF Jacques very well.

I wonder though if Quinn has ever seen pre-SCF Hemsky though. The knock on him used to be that he never shot the puck. Now it’s a bit different. He has a good balance of passing and shooting now and knows when to do each. However, again, on the powerplay he’s going to have to carry the puck less and move the puck more to get the other team guessing and having to move around themselves… or else he too might find himself on a lower line one day too.

So how do you guys interpret Quinn’s comments? Who are they directed at, if anyone specific?

34 Responses to “Quinn’s Doghouse”

  1. Hockey Noob says:

    Interesting post Racki! A few weeks ago, I had somewhat of a gut feeling that Hemsky could end up being one player in particular that might not mesh well with Quinn. Given that Quinn seems to be pretty classy in terms of calling out players without naming names, I don’t imagine that we’ll here anything specific.

    The lone ranger comment definitely seems like he was referring about the Hemmer. Hemsky’s never played for anyone but MacT prior to this year, so it will be an adjustment for him. Over the long haul, I don’t anticipate any major problems between the two though.

  2. Racki says:

    Yah I think the “fresh coach” is a lot easier to listen to than the guy who’s been hammering the same systems into you for X number of years. Hemsky was quoted in the Journal today and is already talking about the team playing a defence-first strategy. Sounds like everyone is currently buying into it, so I don’t predict any issues either.

    But yah, so far Quinn’s keeping the comments pretty anonymous.

    On another note, looks like Hemsky’s groin is almost all healed up and he’ll be good to go on Saturday.

  3. chucker says:

    I think for sure he was talking about Hemsky, especially on the Lone Ranger comment. What’s nice is that Hemsky has said that he wasn’t caring about his offense during camp but working on Quinn’s system and playing away from the puck. That’s a great sign to me. Message sent, message received and acknowledged.

    Hemsky will do well under Quinn. Look at what he did for Naslund and other guys. Quinn knows his shit. More importantly, the players know he knows. You know? ;)

    What’s interesting is that we’ve come to the season and it’s time for predictions on games. For a long time I’ve had a very good record at predicting the outcome of The Oil. Now, I’m not sure how to rate them at all. I really don’t know what the ceiling, or basement, is on this team at this point. I have not felt that about the Oilers in over 30 years. It was always pretty apparent what type of team we had. That’s not the case to me now. I think that’s a good thing.

  4. Racki says:

    Speaking of which, I was thinking about starting the prediction game here like was/is hosted on the Oilers message board. Would anyone be interested in that? Actually, maybe even just in the GDT’s, we can do predictions or something, unless someone wants to organize the prediction game.

    Anyways, on topic.. I didn’t know that Hemsky said he stopped focusing on offense to work on his defensive game. That is really good news, and yes, message received by the sounds of it.

  5. gr8one says:

    I like the prediction idea.

    And, off topic, but… as much as I despise the Flames, I have a warm fuzzy feeling seeing that they are currently owning the Canucks.

  6. Racki says:

    I’m probably alone here, but I love seeing their throwback jerseys. I just wish we could wear ours and they could wear theirs in games we played them. But it would probably look a little odd without one team wearing the whites.

  7. gr8one says:

    No, not alone, I gotta admit, those throwback jerseys of theirs are awesome, I’d even have to say one of my favorite uni’s in pro sports.

  8. gr8one says:

    wow, Nabby’s getting lit up by the Av’s.

    Heatley looks lazy, man I’m glad that douchebag’s not an Oiler.

  9. Racki says:

    Well I’m not upset to hear Heatley is off to a bad start, but I have Nabakov in the pool, damn it! :P

  10. gr8one says:

    haha, yeah well, my Timmy Thomas looked like a sieve tonight too.

    Matt Duchene looks REALLY good tonight.

  11. Racki says:

    I *thought* about picking him, but decided not to risk it.

    He is available though…

  12. Racki says:

    I don’t get what the deal is, but I DID add another player I think two days ago and he didn’t show up on my roster. But I picked him again just now and he’ll be there tomorrow, it says. Oh nm, looks like you have to hit “add this player” and then there’s still an add button after that, yet.

  13. gr8one says:

    lol, yes…it’s kind of annoying, but pretty much anything you do in yahoo has redundancies built in and ya gotta confirm everything twice.

    don’t forget to re-adjust your future days rosters after adding a player.

    I thought about adding Duchene too, Wolski’s looking great as well, this time of year is so hard for fantasy hockey it usually takes at least a couple of weeks to get a good feeling for what kind of season’s players are going to have.

    Heater is actually on my pool team, and he’s managed to contribute a -3 so far.

    lol, I just looked and saw it was Jacques you added, I actually thought of him too, man it would be great if he turned into a better skating version of Lucic.

  14. Racki says:

    Yah, I almost did the same mistake twice. It’s JFJ I picked up, btw. But I saw that “this player will appear on your roster (tomorrow)” message, thinking I was all good to go.. but nope, still another add button after that. lol

    Ouch! (in regards to Heatley)

  15. Trogdor says:

    Watching the game and Burrows just made it 4-3. Still waiting for a point from the Flames top line. Picking up Moss hasn’t helped yet, but hey its game 1. Burrows was awesome for me down the stretch last year. Helped keep me out of a French Maid outfit…

  16. Racki says:

    Trogdor: Helped keep me out of a French Maid outfit…

    Admit it, you still wore it for the wife later that night

  17. gr8one says:

    Racki:
    Admit it, you still wore it for the wife later that night

    with a ball gag.

  18. OilerTyler says:

    Man, the Flames “elite” defense is looking terrible right now. Kipper is keeping them in the game.

  19. Racki says:

    gr8one:
    with a ball gag.

    Damn, you know him better than I do!

    OilerTyler: Man, the Flames “elite” defense is looking terrible right now.Kipper is keeping them in the game.

    Well at least JBo is somehow +2 for me tonight.

  20. OilerTyler says:

    Lucky you, i had two players playing tonight (Wideman and Ryder) and Boston had to go and lose 4-1

    Jokinen is playing really bad as well

  21. Trogdor says:

    My friend’s wife ended up in the outfit. Makes the pool more interesting with public humiliation on the line

  22. Steve-O says:

    i can’t believe that Quinn is getting a pass for focusing on defense when thats what people shit on Mac T for

    or is defense all good now for some reason i wasn’t made aware of

  23. Mr.Majestyk says:

    I think Quinn’s point is that if they work hard on defense, he will give them more freedom to create stuff on offense. It seems like Quinn is breaking everything down with the team and then attempting to rebuild it. I can see us making some moves before too long into the season as well. I think its important for Quinn to see what we’ve got during the season and from there make the necessary moves. I know there aren’t too many Oiler fans who love Marc Pouliot, but why send him packing without seeing what he can do under Quinn? JFJ on the first line? Most Oiler fans would have gladly traded him for a bag of pucks 2 years ago. Who knows if these guys will work out, but I have a feeling that Quinn won’t be accepting of mounting losses. If the players we have aren’t able to bring us positive results, I think he will tell Tambi that its not working and pull the trigger on a deal.

  24. Racki says:

    Steve-O: i can’t believe that Quinn is getting a pass for focusing on defense when thats what people shit on Mac T foror is defense all good now for some reason i wasn’t made aware of

    I don’t think MacTavish new what the eff he was doing on any given day. The thing I heard one player say was that Quinn beats messages into people’s heads. And it’s the same messages daily. I think the players just needed some sort of stable direction as to what to do. I will say though that it is pretty ironic how hyped up Quenney’s defence-first system is though when you think about it. Maybe it’s just because he seems to be doing it more successfully – so far.

  25. Racki says:

    Mr.Majestyk: I know there aren’t too many Oiler fans who love Marc Pouliot, but why send him packing without seeing what he can do under Quinn?JFJ on the first line?Most Oiler fans would have gladly traded him for a bag of pucks 2 years ago.

    True enough

  26. Trogdor says:

    Racki:

    … Maybe it’s just because he seems to be doing it more successfully – so far.

    So far? They haven’t played a regular season game yet. Hopefully he can motivate the team to improve though. He is a proven coach though, whereas MacT was getting his feet wet.

  27. Racki says:

    Ok, obviously that’s jumping the gun a bit, and I was hesitant to phrase it that way. And yes, it is just pre-season.. but I mean they showed improvement in the pre-season on the PK yet still managed to score some goals. But the true test will of course be well into the season.

  28. Trogdor says:

    Steve-O you’ll have to shed a tear this weekend for Mason’s beard. It’s not as glorious as it was in the playoffs.

  29. Steve-O says:

    whoever has him in the pool better be prepared to see his performance drop accordingly

    you can’t underestimate the power of the beard

  30. Racki says:

    Mason’s strength comes from within.. don’t let the beard fool you. The beard is just a side effect of the strength.

  31. Racki says:

    Added to the quote list:

    “We’ve got some guys who are 19 or 20 years old who have played by themselves for a long time, they get 30 or 40 points and they’re thinking that’s pretty good. It’s not good. It’s not good enough.”

    Hmm, he may have been talking about Gagner all along (in his first quote). At any rate, he seems really unimpressed.

  32. LateNightOilFan says:

    Looking more and more like that June quote was a reference to Gagner, not Hemmer. Oh I’m so going to enjoy this guessing game Quinn will have going for us all season.

    I have the benefit of my hockey pool administrator copying and pasting last season’s start date as the deadline for this year’s pool. So my choices don’t have to be in for another week. I have Gags pencilled in because he’s cheap, but if it’s not looking like he’ll be getting a lot of ice time and if these comments keep coming I might have to switch him out for someone else…

  33. Hockey Noob says:

    Hey everyone, dang, hasn’t it been a long week? Is it just me or is it a little hard to watch all these teams play and wait until Saturday for the Oilers, lol? It’s going to be exciting to see if JFJ can really play on the 1st line during a real game… I am also looking forward to seeing how Stone fairs back on the 2nd line. I hope his foot speed is adequate…

  34. Racki says:

    It’s been a long week without Oilers hockey (Sunday excluded)! I’m excited as hell for the start of the season. Can’t wait! And what better way to kick it off than a battle of Alberta? It’ll be a tough game tomorrow.

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