Ales Hemsky Leaves Game Early in USA's Final Embarrassment of World Cup as Czechs Win, 4-3

Congratulations, Team USA. You found a way to ruin ruining.

I'm not going to recap anything, because this game was meaningless from the outset. After Esa Lindell was scratched in Finland's final failure earlier today--the Finns couldn't down Russia in order to keep Team North America alive--Dallas Stars fans only had one game left in which to watch one of their own participate on the world stage. And that game was the capstone on USA Hockey's worst year in international competition in recent memory.

Unfortunately, it would prove to be pretty much the worst one for Dallas Stars fans, too. What do I mean? This is what I mean:

As with Faksa, who appeared to be concussed by a Ryan Getzlaf hit away from the puck, we probably won't know anything until tomorrow. I went back and watched what I believe was Hemsky's last shift of the game on a power play early in the third, and I didn't see anything noticeable. His skating wasn't amazing, but we're talking about Ales Hemsky, so there's really no telling if he was skating at half-speed because he didn't need to, or because it was painful. Speculating is silly, so I'll just plead ignorance until we hear more.

He did collide with Justin Abdelkader earlier in the game (that's the article photo up there), but I've no clue if that was related to why he left. Note: I'm fine going ahead and making baseless accusations if you are, though.

Either way, injuries to Seguin, Faksa and Hemsky would complete the worst-case triumvirate for Dallas Stars fans as far as this World Cup goes. I guess we should be thankful John Klingberg was spared from whatever stanchion would have fallen on top of him during warmups had he been selected, right?

Here is that Faksa hit again, for the record:

So let's just go ahead and weep together for the final nail in the coffin that was this year's World Cup. Sure, it's still going on, but with no remaining Dallas Stars and no remaining USA hockey players, it's tough to muster too much enthusiasm for watching the inevitable (we'd think) Sweden-Canada Final. Perhaps Sweden will win one of the games! They will probably not win two.

In a weird sort of way, it might turn out to be a good thing for USA fans that Team Grit was so thoroughly dominated. As the brutal light of day first arrived in a 3-0 starching by Team Europe, the risen sun over their final game left no shadows in which Dean Lombardi or John Tortorella could hide, as even the Radek Faksa-less Czechs were still too much for a team with Ben Bishop and Cory Schneider in goal. Perhaps this will beget some long-overdue conversations among the USA hockey cognoscenti that result in their highest-scoring player from the last Olympics (and on his Cup-winning NHL team, to boot) actually being, you know, added to the roster next time. Baby steps.

Still, do you know how thoroughly incompetent a team has to be in order to lose with Bishop and Schneider backstopping them? Well, now you do. Admittedly, the USA roster isn't full of plugs or anything like that, but this is flat-out embarrassing, even if they were noticeably hurt by missing half a dozen great players under 24 years of age. Hopefully they'll learn their lesson and be ready for the next international tournament. This is the sort of optimism that is helpful going into the hockey season.

Anyway, let's just hope we see Hemsky and Faksa on the ice Monday, when they (and Esa Lindell) are scheduled to arrive in training camp. Real hockey is just around the corner.

And hey, if you want to do something fun in the meantime, go make a list of USA players that were outscored by Ales Hemsky in the tournament. There are many of them!