After telling us he wouldn`t be involved in any contact drills for at least a week, maybe two, Hemsky was on the ice this morning as expected, but he didn`t sit out any of the one-on-one drills or brief scrimmage. I caught up with him for an explanation.

JG: You took a few bumps today, how come?

Hemsky: We had a good practice and a couple battles and forechecking. As long as no one hits me really hard I should be fine.

JG: Do you need to wear a red jersey?

Hemsky: (Laughs). No. I should be fine. You see today I did everything. I’m not concerned about it, I think my shoulder is fine. As long as I don’t get any hard hits it won’t be a concern.

JG: You and the team want to be cautious. Is two preseason games enough for you to be ready for Oct 9th?

Hemsky: As long as I practice normally then I think two preseason is lots. I don’t think I’ve played more than three in other camps, so two should be lots. I don’t think that will be a big deal at all.

JG: It is has only been 5 1/2 months since surgery, but you’ve said this is the best you’ve felt in two years, how is that?

Hemsky: The shoulder feels good. Maybe I’m good to go, but they want to be cautious and give me more time until I take real hits. In previous years my shoulder or other stuff has bugged me. I feel great all over this year. It is nice not to have any pain, and hopefully the extra rest now will be helpful. Right now they want to see how it feels the next day, so that’s why I can’t take hits.

JG: Is there anything you can’t do?

Hemsky: Not really, but I’m not supposed to do lots above my head. When I score I will do a fist pump instead of lifting my hands above my head, (laughs) but I’m not a big goal scorer so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Hemsky was in good spirits after the first day. He was excited that he wasn’t thinking about his shoulder when he was on the ice. If he isn’t thinking about it, then he feels he can play better.

We also chatted briefly about linemates. He doesn’t care who he plays with, but he admitted that when he and Ryan Smyth played together at the Kinsmen last week they still had lots of chemistry. He would also like to play more with Taylor Hall, and it looks like Tom Renney would like to see more of those two as well.