DALLAS -- Game time never comes and the bleary-eyed early morning wake-up calls always do.
So it goes for Edmonton Oilers' forward Ales Hemsky as he rehabs his damaged right shoulder and collarbone after being knocked out of the lineup by a Sean O'Donnell hit in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Nov. 28.
When the Oilers' flight for Texas was leaving the tarmac at 11 a.m. yesterday, Hemsky had already been up for six hours or so, having been left behind to attend his daily rehab session under the watchful eye of Dr. Dave Magee at the University of Alberta.
"Every morning," grimaces Hemsky, whose sessions with Magee begin at 6:30 a.m.
"The worst thing about seeing Fibber is getting up so early, but you have to do it. It's not fun watching the guys practise and play."
Like Ethan Moreau and Ryan Smyth, also on the shelf with injuries, Hemsky keeps different hours under Magee, who has been putting the slick Czech winger through his paces bright and early.
Hemsky's best guess - and not a diagnosis by the Oilers' medical staff - is that he'll be answering the alarm clock, rising earlier than he'd like and out of the lineup for another two weeks.
"I don't want to say a date, but I'm hoping in the next couple weeks," says Hemsky, asked about a return date.
"The collarbone, it's sore, you know? You just have to wait for it to settle down."
With pain in the shoulder still considerable, the hour-long sessions with Magee haven't been too strenuous yet. That will change before Hemsky gets the green light to resume skating.
"I got a couple of days off and then we started slowly," Hemsky said. "You just want to do a little something to get some movement. I can move the shoulder, but I'm still sore. I can't lift anything yet."
ETHAN ON BOARD
Moreau made the trip to Texas with the Oilers, but he's just along for the ride, to be close to the team and to make a stop in Cleveland to have his surgically repaired right shoulder checked by specialist Dr. Tony Miniaci.
"There's no surprises," smiled Moreau, asked if there was anything to be read into his decision to travel.
Moreau is out until at least March after surgery to repair the dislocated right shoulder he suffered against the Detroit Red Wings. He won't even be back on the blades for a casual skate for several weeks. He'll head to Cleveland from Nashville to meet with Miniaci.