I really miss Ales Hemsky, but at least I can understand why he's gone.
Devotees of the Oilers' myriad injury crises will remember that Hemsky was knocked out with an injury to his left shoulder back in November that required surgery. With the Oilers doomed for the draft lottery, wasting our best player in a lost cause was obviously madness, and so Hemsky was sensibly shut down and given the rest of the year to recover and ensure that he'd be at his best for 2010-11. After all, if you were a thirtieth-place team locked into the Fall for Hall you'd have to be a complete rube to rush one of your only stars and to put his long-term prospects at risk just because you're an imbecilic organization grasping at some straw of hope to feed your fans and even having Hemsky practice would require malfeasance on a level that even the Edmonton Oilers would surely be incapable of OH GODDAMMIT!
Yes, unbelievably, according to the Oilers' official Twitter Ales Hemsky is back on ice. Now, this is just an Internet report, which as we all know is a bunch of unprofessional bologna produced by guys in mothers' basements who are unworthy of any serious attention. But it's a connected Internet report.
Why in the seven hells would Hemsky, under any circumstances whatsoever, be so much as allowed to look at an ice rink for the rest of the season? Did the Oilers find Dustin Penner tying a rope around a showerhead in his hotel room and need desperate measures to cheer him up? We all know that Hemsky is a warrior, but this is ridiculous.
(Ryan Jones is back skating as well, although he was just doing a few solo laps of the rink. The Oilers are showing more caution with Ryan Jones than Ales Hemsky.)
There's no particular harm in Hemsky practicing, in of itself. Dish the puck around, joke with the guys, convince Horcoff to quit slicing his wrists with razor blades, go home and lay in a bathtub full of ice for six hours. Hope restored! Hemsky's okay! Hooray! But this isn't the sort of organization that will let things rest there.
We all know how this story ends. Hemsky winds up paying with Gagner and Penner at some point, say, next week. "HEMSKY RETURNS!" crows the Edmonton Journal. The Edmonton favourite and gritty son-of-a-so-and-so gets out on the ice and doesn't look particularly effective because he's hurt but it's nice to see him again. Then, for the one millionth time this year, some no-talent goon takes a run at him, plows him into the boards from three feet out, and that's that.