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Tom Renney hates Ales Hemsky’s stick

Dec 9, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

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Ales Hemsky AP

With his team mired in a slump and coming off a home loss to the woeful Carolina Hurricanes, Oilers coach Tom Renney did what any good bench boss would do:

He openly criticized player equipment.

Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun got this nugget in speaking with Renney about winger Ales Hemsky.

“You have to watch how you talk about this kind of stuff because it’s the guy’s tool, but his stick drives me crazy,” Renney said. “It looks like a road hockey stick when I was a kid.”

Investigation into Hemsky’s stick (gotta be a better way to say that) revealed little. This Edmonton Journal piece from 2009 quotes Hemsky as saying “I spent a lot of time on my sticks” and there’s message board banter about a “Hemsky curve” — referring to the bend he puts on his stick blade. I guess it’s a rather unique curve? Whatever the case, the investigation didn’t reveal much.

If I had to guess, Renney’s equipment criticism is a roundabout way of criticizing Hemsky’s shooting (or lack thereof). While he’s been better as of late — 15 shots on goal over his last three games — he looked almost terrified of directing the puck towards the opponent’s net in the early part of the season. Hemsky recorded just 17 shots over 12 games in November, including a performance against Nashville where he didn’t put a single shot on goal…despite playing almost 19 minutes.

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