Ales Hemsky #83 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates after scoring on goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks to end the game during the shootout in NHL action on January 20, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Oilers defeated the Canucks 3-2
(January 19, 2013 - Source: Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)

MacTavish ‘comfortable’ with Hemsky remaining an Oiler


Though he’s made it clear he’s tried to move Ales Hemsky, Craig MacTavish concedes he’s okay with keeping the Czech forward for this season.

“I’m comfortable with that,” MacTavish told the Edmonton Sun. “Given the circumstances, Ales certainly has the game that would help us moving forward. He’s on a one-year deal and I think both sides would be motivated to make it a very successful year.”

In early June, MacTavish had a different take.

The Oilers GM appeared on Edmonton’s 1260 The Team radio and discussed the future of his club, a future that apparently wouldn’t involve three veteran presences: Hemsky, goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and captain Shawn Horcoff.

“Sometimes change is good for both the organization and the player,” MacTavish explained. “I have a lot of allegiance, loyalty for both Horc and Hemmer.

“[But the] ideal scenario would be to move them on and wish them the best.”

Horcoff was shipped to Dallas in what amounted to a salary dump (Edmonton got a seventh-round pick and Philip Larsen in return) and Khabibulin was allowed to walk, signing with Chicago.

Hemsky still remains.

As MacTavish mentioned, Hemsky is in the final season of a two-year, $10 million deal (a $5 million cap hit) and doesn’t have a no-trade or -movement clause.

The 29-year-old Czech has had injury issues — he’s missed a ton of time over the last four years — but, when healthy, can contribute offensively, scoring 120 points in his last 176 games played.

All of which gives MacTavish hope that Hemsky can contribute to what the GM feels is a strong Oilers team.

“We’re reasonably happy right now,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we’re going to be a very good team. We’ve certainly have a chance to be a good team.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?