To say Ales Hemsky wanted a better start to his Sochi Olympic experience is an understatement.
The Edmonton forward was benched for the entire first period of Czech Republic’s 4-2 loss to Sweden on Wednesday, and finished with less than seven minutes of ice time. Following the game, Hemsky tried to put the situation in perspective.
“It’s hard if you don’t play the first half of the game,” Hemsky said, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I’m not used to it. I didn’t sit like that for how many years, but it is what it is.
“I just tried to get back and just get my legs going.”
As mentioned, Hemsky didn’t play at all in the first period. He then received 1:23 in the second period and 5:35 in the third, which included some power play time — something of a curious decision, as Czech head coach Alois Hadamczik opted to put Hemsky, the forward he used the least through two periods, on a crucial man advantage with his team trying to mount a comeback.
Hemsky, 30, has struggled with injuries this season and missed seven games in January with an ankle issue, so it’s possible he wasn’t at 100 percent heading into this game (also, starting goalie Jakub Kovar said a few Czech players had fallen ill). But he wasn’t the only NHL forward that saw limited ice — Ottawa’s Milan Michalek got just 6:46 while Winnipeg’s Michael Frolik played 9:44.
Hemsky’s former Edmonton teammate, defenseman Ladislav Smid, spent the entire game on the bench.