SUN Hockey Pool

Hejda back from Bulldogs

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

Jan Hejda is hoping a stint in the minors will earn him more playing time in the NHL.

Yesterday the Edmonton Oilers recalled the defenceman from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League.

"All reports from there were that he played very well," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

Hejda, 28, had problems finding his way into the lineup prior to his excursion to the minors. Before leaving for Hamilton on Dec. 13, the native of Prague, Czech Republic, had played in just eight games registering one assist.

Defenceman Mathieu Roy, called up to take Hejda's place on the roster, but who didn't play a game, was returned to Hamilton yesterday.

"I think it was good for me," said Hejda.

"I played five games in seven days in Hamilton and it was good to get some games in and not just practice."

Hejda had three assists and was plus-six in his five games with the Bulldogs.

"We know he's an NHL player, now we're just waiting for an opportunity to see if he's better than what we have," MacTavish said. "The rest is up to him. He's got to go in and out-play somebody else."

Hejda's opportunity could come as early as tomorrow against the Kings.

Yesterday MacTavish admitted it might be time to give rookie Ladislav Smid a rest.

"He has not had any protection in terms of matchups and ice time," MacTavish said.

"For a 20 year old that's saying something about him. But at the same time you have to understand that it's pretty rigorous for him right now and he needs a little bit of a break."


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