Edmonton Oilers’ right wing Ales Hemsky was named to the Czech Olympic team on Monday.
Hemsky has been a staple of the Czech national team for years now. He missed the 2010 Olympics but won a bronze with the team in 2006, and he has also played in 25 World Championship games, recording 16 points and a plus-10 rating. He last played in Europe during the 2012-13 NHL lockout, putting up more than a point per game in the Czech Republic’s top league.
This wasn’t a foregone conclusion; the Czechs made a bunch of weird decisions and quality NHL’ers like Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata and Jan Hejda were left off the team while players Petr Nedved and Tomas Kaberle made the cut.
It’s a nice reward for Hemsky, whose offence has dipped a little in a recent years and particularly this season as he takes a back seat to players like Jordan Eberle, David Perron and Nail Yakupov. He’s been providing the Oilers with an improved defensive game and doing yeoman’s work on a line with Ryan Smyth and Boyd Gordon; it will be fun to see him flying on the big ice at Sochi.
He’ll be joined by his old teammate, Ladislav Smid, who was also named to the team today. Smid’s likely to play key minutes in a shutdown role for the Czechs.
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