Ironically, I actually couldn't find a picture of the three of them together, but we can pretend that's Horcoff in the background
Although I wrote my last piece on the re-uniting of Iginla and Conroy in Calgary, another distinctive group on the other side of the province was re-united last Saturday and has had considerable success. Horcoff has had an up and down year (mostly down) and Smyth has had a personal up year (even if team success has eluded this Oiler group), but together they simply haven't been able to click they way they did in all last year (regular season and playoffs). Their missing piece, Ales Hemsky, had been relegated to playing with Petr 'One Timer' Sykora, thanks to some early season chemistry between the two. However, the production between Hemsky and Sykora had dwindled down to almost nothing since Hemsky got hurt late in the '06 calendar year, and this team was running out of options.
The trio was briefly re-united in the New Year's eve game against Calgary, but MacT re-shuffled the deck soon after and Hemsky was sadled with not just one under performing Czech, but two, as Hemsky, Nedved and Sykora joined together as the laughably ineffective 'Czech line' or more aptly, the 'No Check' line.
Last Saturday though, in a game vs. the L.A. Kings, Hemsky, Horcoff and Smyth were re-united for an entire game, and boy, did they make a case to stay together. Scoring all 4 goals (Smyth 2, Hemsky 1, Horcoff 1) and accounting for 11 of 12 points in the game, the line dominated the whole game, and was the undeniable difference between winning and losing.
Hemsky found Smyth again on Wednesday's game vs. Columbus, and Hemsky and Smyth came together to find Sykora for the winner.
Against Columbus, the line shot blanks. But if MacT had any doubts about keeping them together for the rest of the season, tonight's Avalanche game should have erased them. Read the scoresheet.
G1. Hemsky (+2 1a)
G2. Smyth (+1, 1a)
G3. Horcoff (+1, 1a, 1GWG)
The trio was on for every goal for, except for the first goal in which Horcoff was off. Undeniably, the group was responsible for the 2pts in the win column.
Now if Stoll can shake off the cobwebs the Oilers have a chance at two consistently effective lines, (and for a further stretch, Lupul looks like someone lit a fire under his ass, its possible he, Sykora and Nedved can turn into hockey players...and if not, at least their suck won't rub off on anyone else).