SUN Hockey Pool

Hard to see Hemsky hit

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

It's never good to witness a teammate get drilled from behind.

It's even worse when that teammate happens to be one of your best offensive players.

Last night in the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 loss, winger Ales Hemsky was forced to leave early after taking a hit from Los Angeles Kings centre Michal Handzus early in the third period.

The play occurred behind the Kings net as Handzus shoved Hemsky into the end boards from behind.

"We see a lot of guys hitting other guys from behind," said Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray.

"You see numbers and they're finishing their checks anyways, hard.

"That's the kind of stuff you want to clean up, especially when it happens to our best offensive player.

"It's a bit deflating, but that didn't win or lose us the game, although it would have been good to still have him available for the rest of the game."

Handzus was assessed a two-minute minor for roughing on the play. Hemsky came out to start the ensuing power play, but left the ice shortly thereafter and went back to the locker room.

The Oilers were unable to capitalize on the power play and eventually gave up the winning goal with just under five minutes to go in the contest as Matt Greene blew a shot past goaltender Jeff Deslauriers.

Hemsky will be further evaluated today.

"I think he took a couple of hits in that game, there was one earlier on," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn.

"That second one, he was sent full-force into the boards. That was a hard hit and he got hurt. It doesn't look real positive right now."

The Oilers did try to get after Handzus after the hit, but the linesmen quickly intervened on the play.

It wasn't the first time in the contest the Kings centre was involved in the middle of a scrum. Souray had tried to go after him in the second period following a scrum in front of the Oilers net.

"When someone hits your best player from behind, you try and address it and try to play hard against him," said Oilers defenceman Steve Staios.

"There is only so much you can do against him. You really can't do much to send a message, because you put yourself down and it's a 1-1 game at that point.

"We tried to make it harder on him as the night went on, but you're limited in what you can do."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos