SUN Hockey Pool

Hemsky adapting to new role

Oilers forward Ales Hemsky in action at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 8, 2011. (PERRY...

Oilers forward Ales Hemsky in action at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 8, 2011. (PERRY NELSON/QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:30 AM ET

EDMONTON - Ales Hemsky is starting to come to terms with his new role.

No longer an automatic selection on the first power play, and not always tapped to hop over the boards when the Edmonton Oilers need a goal, the talented winger has taken a backseat to the teams youth movement.

Its a different situation having had to carry the club offensively for so many years.

Its tough, Im not playing the way I want, but we have a lot of good players on the team and you have to take the opportunity you have and show them you can do something, Hemsky said. Maybe Im not playing in the situations I normally play, but whenever they put me on the ice, I have to take advantage of those situations and do something with that and show them I can do it.

Hemsky is down in the list of Oilers offensive producers this season with three goals and 11 points in 19 games.

At his best the Oilers winger is usually good for a point-per-game production, but injuries have slowed him down and hes still battling back from off-season shoulder surgery that set him back early this year.

Its a little bit awkward, but its hockey youre going to go through some low points and youre going to go through some high points, but its a long season so you have to deal with it. Its your job, Hemsky said. Im not complaining, I feel pretty good actually. I dont think Im getting put into the situations I was before and this is kind of a different role for me. Im just trying to be positive about it and help the team.

Its been a long time since an Oilers coach has had options other than Hemsky to put in offensive situations.

But with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins taking the league by storm with 13 goals and 32 points in his first 30 NHL games, Jordan Eberle having a solid second season with 31 points and Ryan Smyth showing flashes of inspiration with 26 points, Oilers head coach Tom Renney does have alternatives.

However, the Oilers would like nothing more than to see Hemsky score at the rate hes proven more than capable of doing in the past.

We have more tools and we have more weapons, naturally, said Renney. I think we have to utilize Ales more under those circumstances. Hes doing everything he possibly can to play within the realm of how were try to play.

Hemsky is adamant hes not feeling sorry for himself and is confident hell be able to rediscover his game with the ice-time hes given.

Every opportunity I have I will try my best to help the team, he said. Im not complaining. They are playing well. It is what it is and you just have to deal with it, thats all.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


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