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BLOG: Hemsky battles through

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Ales Hemsky absorbed a big hit by Vancouver's Ryan Kesler on Friday and the hit resulted in some soreness of his ribs, which held him out of last night's game against Anaheim.

"It's feeling better today," said Hemsky. "I was feeling better yesterday, but the coaches think I wasn't ready. So, that's why I didn't play."

Hemsky admits that it was a big hit by Kesler that he wasn't ready for.

"It was pretty hard but I just didn't expect he would go for the hit like he did. I was thinking he'd go more for the puck and I had seen him coming. I tried to get away but I didn't. I just got it on the side. It was pretty hard actually."

What fans don't know about the incident was that Hemsky attempted to battle through the injury and finish the game against the Canucks.

"During the second intermission in Vancouver, our trainer came to me and said Ales won't be returning, he's done from the hit," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "As we were walking out, the trainer came back and said, Ales said he's playing. He came back and went as much as he could in the third period. Those are encouraging sings. Those are things you want in your hockey club. Guys like that who are willing to play through it."

Hemsky is the type of player that goes to the hard areas. The way he plays makes him vulnerable to taking big hits from opposing players. That's what makes Hemsky one tough player in the eyes of his coaches and teammates.

"You see how he goes to the net," said Eakins. "He has been fully engaged in what we want to do defensively. This guy goes where you're going to get hurt. This year, he's played through and played with a number of injuries that we haven't said anything about. This guy is a tough hockey player and a guy that we, and I, value highly."

Hemsky isn't afraid of injury do to his play style, he understands it's all part of the game.

"I think, if you want to play the puck you'll get hit," said Hemsky. "That's just common sense in hockey. You just try and be smart about it but sometimes you just try and make a play and you will take a hit. It's just hockey."

The Oilers should have Hemsky back in the lineup tomorrow against Los Angeles.

"We fully expect Ales to be ready," said Eakins. "He was banged up in our previous game. He wanted to play, but he was stiff and he was sore. I just made it my call that, we had healthy guys available, Hemmer has been great for us this year, he's been a guy that's been all in right from day one, his attitude has been excellent and I just thought it was important to give a veteran like him an extra day to heal. I'd rather him play at 100% than be banged up playing. I expect him to be fully ready…"

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