SUN Hockey Pool

Takin' a beatin'

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

It's only out of sheer luck that Ales Hemsky was only talking about a charley horse yesterday and not a season -- or even career-ending injury.

He'll be fine, no thanks to Chicago's Jassen Cullimore, whose knee-on-knee hit could have left the Edmonton winger with a lot more than a bruise.

Cullimore received five and a game for the cheap shot, but it would have been small consolation for Hemsky and the Oilers if he'd have blown out his knee.

"That was a dirty play by Cullimore," said MacTavish. "We have to start looking after that sort of stuff. You can't have guys thinking they can get away with that type of dirty hit."

Cullimore didn't actually stick the knee out, but appeared to pull a vintage Craig Muni -- widened his stance, held the line and braced for impact when he saw an opponent's knee was vulnerable.

"Hemmer is pretty solid down low, but that could have easily ended his season, a hit like that," said MacTavish.

"It's always the same. It's the guy who gets caught flat-footed that's going to get beat by a skill guy who has to stick his knee out."

MacTavish isn't sure if the league will take a look at it and hand out supplementary discipline, but thinks it's something they should look at.

"Those are the types of hits that you have to protect your players against. It was called appropriately -- that was the first step. The game was well officiated. They recognized right away the severity of the hit."

The leg didn't swell or stiffen much overnight, so Hemsky had a little treatment yesterday and pronounced himself ready to go.

"Actually it's pretty good," he said, adding he didn't know at the time if he was seriously injured or not.

"You are in a little shock. But you stand up and after five minutes it goes away a little bit."

The Hawks put the body on Hemsky every chance they had. "He took a beating," said MacTavish -- a sign that teams around the league are taking notice of the damage he can do out there.

His first-period goal and third-period assist were his seventh and eighth points in the last three games.

Numbers like that are bound to get him some added attention.

"It's part of the game," said the 22-year-old. "You get hit sometimes and you have to handle it."


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