SUN Hockey Pool

No return yet for Hemsky

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- Ales Hemsky is back on the blades. The question now is, when will he return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup?

Hemsky, who suffered an injury to right shoulder and collarbone against the Anaheim Ducks Nov. 28, skated in full gear yesterday for the first time since he was taken into the corner boards by Sean O'Donnell.

Contrary to some reports that suggested the Czech right-winger would be out of the lineup until after Christmas, Hemsky told the Sun Dec. 7, before the Oilers embarked on this three-game road trip, he hoped to be back in action within two weeks. He has already missed six games.

Even with Hemsky back skating, there's no firm date as to his return, but it would seem plausible he could be ready to play either Dec. 21 in Phoenix or Dec. 23 in Dallas before the Christmas break.

PRED BITES: The Predators have played just 10 of their first 29 games on home ice, but tonight's tilt with the Edmonton Oilers marks a stretch in which they'll play 11 of their next 15 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Strangely enough, that's not necessarily good news where coach Barry Trotz is concerned.

"It's more the timing," he said. "I'm always worried about his time of year, especially for a team that's been on the road a lot. You get pulled a lot of different directions this time of year."

The Predators are 6-1-3 at home, meaning they've taken points in nine of 10 games, but Trotz isn't convinced a long stretch in Tennessee at Christmas is what his team needs right now.

"You have everything from your own family to the extended family, to the community asking you to do certain things this time of year," Trotz said. "My message to the players is games can't be secondary this time of year."


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