Hemsky plays with pain

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Add Ales Hemsky's name to the list of walking wounded.

He missed practice Wednesday and left practice early yesterday with a sore wrist, joining Shawn Horcoff (shoulder) and Jarret Stoll (back) in the training room.

All three are hoping to make it to the start line tonight against Dallas.

"I've had it for about two weeks and it's getting a little worse," said Hemsky, who can't remember the exact slash that led to his troubles.

"I want to be ready for the game, that's why I'm not practising. I hope I'll be ready to go."

He was hoping it would settle down during the All-Star break, but it didn't.

"Actually, it got a little worse, and I didn't do anything. That's why I took a couple of days off, to try and get ready for the game."

Hemsky's taken more punishment this year than any elite player should, but it's resulted in very few penalties and no suspensions, despite a couple of very dirty hits from Martin Lapointe and Robyn Regehr.

"It seems like you can get away with a lot on him," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "The officials, I don't know, it's completely out of balance with the respect he should get from the officials.

"He just doesn't seem to have that same level of respect that most skilled players of that stature have around the league. You touch them and (it's a penalty)."

Hemsky battles through a lot of the rough stuff instead of flopping around like so many elite Europeans, which might actually work against him.

"He's a tough kid," said MacTavish.

"He doesn't dive or go through the gyrations that you need, I guess, to get those types of calls. But he needs to get more respect from the officials in terms of the liberties that the opposition are taking with him."

Between Hemsky's wrist and Horcoff's shoulder, two-thirds of the first line is playing hurt, which puts additional stress on Dustin Penner.

"There's been pressure on him all year long," said MacTavish.

DO OR DIE

MacTavish gathered the troops at centre ice after practice yesterday for a quick state of the union address.

"We're at a pretty crucial stage of our season right now and we have to respond accordingly," said MacTavish. "That was the gist of it."

"The bottom line is we need a win, it doesn't matter how," said Penner. "Everybody has to give a little more. Our standard effort won't be good enough. Everybody has to have a great game. We have to look down the lineup after the game and say everybody played above and beyond."

After two days of hearing and reading about how brutal they were against San Jose, tonight's game can't come quickly enough.

"In all the major sports, any time you have a game like that and you have a couple of days to dwell on it, you're going to look in every nook and cranny to see where you went wrong," said Penner. "We did a lot of that in the last few days."

QUOTE DU JOUR

"You go out the next game and you redeem yourself. That's what we have to focus on, not how we stunk the joint out against San Jose."

-- Stoll, on recovering from the loss to the Sharks.


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