Ben Kuzma reported yesterday in The Province that Pavol Demitra has started to take one-timer slapshots today in practice. This is the first time he has done so since having his two shoulder surgeries to repair the shoulder injury he sustained in the Vancouver/Chicago playoff series.

Demitra expected that he would be back playing for the Canucks a while ago, but the shoulder did not get better after the first surgery, so the second one was scheduled. Then, it was reported that he wasn't progressing in his recovery, so Demitra went to Slovakia to see a specialist that he used previously and spent two weeks and a bit to work with the medical trainer. He returned back to Vancouver around Christmas to continue his rehab.

Now Demitra is speculated to return to the ice with the Canucks perhaps on January 20th in a game in Edmonton or maybe not until the end of January, the timing will depend on his progress during the next two weeks.

And as we all know, Demitra has also been named to Team Slovakia for the Olympics. Yay for being named to the Olympics, but I'm a little hesitant to encourage Demitra in any way to participate in the Olympics. The Canucks have waited approximately 4 months for their player to be ready to go to play for the team, the team he is being paid to play for. And based on the projected timing of when he will be ready to go, that may come just 2 weeks before the puck drop at the first Olympic game on February 16th (though first game for Slovakia in particular is on February 17th against the Czech Republic).

So Demitra will play two weeks for the Canucks before playing in the Olympics? Seriously? The possibility of Demitra re-injuring himself during the Olympics is too great for me to ignore and the timing of when Demitra's return makes me think that if he chooses to play for Slovakia that his decision is a little reckless. I hope that when he returns to the ice, his health is at 100%, rather than him rushing his recovery and returning to play at less than 100% just because he wants to play in the Olympics. This is a player that we are paying 4 million dollars a season for, and has been injured for more than half this season.

Demitra is 34 years old, so realistically this is the last chance he will have to represent his country at the Olympics, thus I can see the motivation in why he would want to play in this Olympics. But those two weeks off during the Olympics if he were to chose not to participate, could give him enough recovery so could he be ready for the long playoff push when the Canucks resume their monster road trip in March. Although I may not be the biggest fan of Demitra as I think he is overpaid and tends to just fade away when he's not scoring, the team could use a winger like him on the second line. So maybe I'm selfish, but I seriously think that someone in the Canucks organization needs to have a little sit down with Demitra and point out to him who is paying him 4 million dollars to be injured, it's the Canucks, not Team Slovakia.