Bronze is best for Oly Oilers
DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun
Edmonton Oilers' Ales Hemsky. (SUN/Darryl Dyck)

It's bronze or bust for the Edmonton Oilers golden boy.

Yesterday Ales Hemsky and the Czech Republic lost 7-3 to Sweden in the semifinal of the men's Olympic hockey tournament.

With Canada losing in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, it was up to Hemsky and defenceman Jaroslav Spacek to bring gold medals back to the Oilers.

Now the best they can do is bronze.

"I thought they played well," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "It was unfortunate (Friday), but Hemmer got a nice goal to get the Czechs back into the game at 5-2. But then they had a mental miscue at the end of the second period to put them back out of it."

Today the Czech Republic faces Russia for the bronze medal. Sweden will play Finland for the gold tomorrow.

All four of the Oilers Olympians - which includes Canadians Ryan Smyth and Chris Pronger - are expected back with the team early next week.

"Our guys played well. It was a great experience," MacTavish said. "They have to get wound up to play in the bronze medal game now. That always doesn't seem that enviable when you're preparing for that game, but long-term, not everybody has an Olympic bronze medal either."