Jet-lagged and looking like it at Rexall Place yesterday, Jaroslav Spacek and Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers at least have something to show for playing eight games in 11 days at the Olympics.
Spacek and Hemsky claimed bronze medals in the Czech Republic's 3-0 win over Russia in Turin Saturday before making their way to Edmonton on the weekend, which is something Oiler teammates Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth, also back in town, can't say.
Now, like other Olympians, Spacek and Hemsky have to recover from the grind of Turin in time for the NHL stretch drive, which, in the case of the Oilers, means 12 games in the next 24 days.
"It was tough, but it was the Olympics," said Hemsky, who arrived back in town Sunday. "It was a great experience."
Spacek and Hemsky were back in the dressing room yesterday, although neither skated after a 12-hour travel day back to the city. Pronger and Smyth won't skate until tomorrow morning.
All four are expected in the lineup when the St. Louis Blues come calling tomorrow night.
"We're in a big race right now," said Spacek. "We've got to make sure we concentrate on the NHL right now. Maybe we'll celebrate (the bronze medal) in the summer with our families.
"It's back-to-back games all the time right now. It's kind of crazy, but I'm ready for it. The whole season is like this. We're in good shape. We're good to go and make the playoffs."
Spacek, 32, has been to three Olympics with the Czechs, while Hemsky took his first bow on the Olympic stage in Turin.
"It is, but it's one time in four years and it's the same for everybody," said Hemsky, asked if the Olympic format is a grind. "The tournament is behind me. I'm focused on the NHL now."