SUN Hockey Pool

Hemsky hit provides scare

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

PHOENIX -- Ales Hemsky took a hit late in the third period of Tuesday night's loss against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Edmonton Oilers winger winced, then skated away from the play, while the rest of the team held its collective breath.

"He's fine," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He played lots at the end of the game. He wasn't out there for the last shift, because he had played the shift before."

Hemsky will play tonight when the Oilers face the Phoenix Coyotes.

But considering the Oilers winger has just returned from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for eight games, there was cause for concern.

"It's a little sore," Hemsky said. "There is a little bit of pain there, but I have to deal with it, there's nothing else I can do."

Hemsky suffered the initial injury on Nov. 28 when he was hit by Sean O'Donnell of the Anaheim Ducks.

He made a surprise return to the lineup last Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.

"It's coming," Hemsky said. "I'm trying to get more comfortable with the puck. The shoulder is still sore, but I'm going to stay with it and try my best."

In the third period against the Avalanche, Hemsky looked like his former self. He threaded the needle 31 seconds into the period to set up Petr Sykora.

Later, he left Avalanche defenceman Karlis Skrastins sprawled out on all fours setting up Sykora's second goal - another tap-in.

"It was a great third period by Hemmer," said MacTavish. "And Petr was in good spots."

Coincidently, Sykora had not scored a goal in Hemsky's absence. Heading into Tuesday's game Sykora had gone 10 games without a goal.


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