SUN Hockey Pool

Silence is deafening

Ales Hemsky has been trying to score more - he's tied for second on the team in shots - but so far,...

Ales Hemsky has been trying to score more - he's tied for second on the team in shots - but so far, he hasn't found the back of the net. (Sun Media File/Jason Franson)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

Shooting the puck is not an issue this season.

And the play-making abilities are still there.

However, heading into tonight's game against the Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky is still looking for his first goal.

"He's getting a lot of opportunities," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"There is a little bit of a misconception when you look at his goal production and you think about how he's playing.

"He's playing very well and doing a lot of the things we're asking him to do. He's got a high work ethic and he's getting at least one quality chance per game.

"We're anxious for the puck to go in the net, but we don't want to see him press any more than he's pressing already."

FIVE HELPERS SO FAR

Hemsky, 24, has five assists so far this season. He's currently tied for second in team scoring with Kyle Brodziak and Sam Gagner.

Hemsky has never finished with more than 20 goals in an NHL season, but that was supposed to change heading into this year.

Yet despite getting a number of good opportunities and having the team's second-highest shot total so far this season, the native of Pardubice, Czech Republic, has been unable to find the net.

Only Raffi Torres has directed more shots on net than Hemsky, who, along with Dustin Penner, has 18 heading into tonight's game.

Torres, due in large part to his seven-shot effort in Phoenix last Thursday, leads the way with 21.

In past years Hemsky has taken criticism for passing up shooting opportunities, but that hasn't been the case this season.

"There are lots of good players that are sitting on one or two goals this year," MacTavish said.

"The MVP of the league last year (Sidney Crosby) has two goals, (Jaromir) Jagr I think has one goal, (Alex) Tanguay doesn't have any goals, (Marian) Gaborik has one goal.

PATIENCE, PATIENCE

"Goal scorers seldom score incrementally, they come in bunches and you have to be patient. Hopefully that all ends (tonight)."


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