Zemgus Girgensons missed the entire 2020-21 season with the Buffalo Sabres after suffering a hamstring injury early in training camp. He's expected to be ready to roll for this summer's training camp, which is expected to get underway some time in mid-to-late September.
Girgensons is already back in action this summer, as he took part in 2022 Olympic qualifying action with his home nation of Latvia in Riga. Following the three-game qualifying action, Girgensons finished with an assist as Latvia officially qualifies to play at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
The Latvians punched their tickets to the Winter Games this upcoming winter with a 2-1 win over France in Group E action on Sunday. The winner of the contest was going to make their way to Beijing after both team had earned wins over Italy and Hungary earlier in the tournament.
If National Hockey League players are allowed to play in the Winter Olympics this February, it would be the second time in his career that Girgensons would represent Latvia in the Olympic games. He also played at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where he scored a goal and picked up an assist in five games.
There has still been no final confirmation whether or not NHL players will be able to represent their countries in the 2022 Olympic Games, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has expressed his concerns with allowing the players to play in Beijing this winter.
Girgensons also played in Olympic qualifying action back in 2018 with Latvia, but the nation just failed to qualify for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. However, NHL players were not granted permission to participate in the Olympic Games that year.
Also qualifying for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Sunday was Slovakia and Denmark. The Slovaks only needed a point in their final matchup of Group D with Belarus, and they earned that point with a 2-1 win. Meanwhile, Denmark punched their ticket to the Olympics with a do-or-die 2-0 win over Norway in Group F action.
Here is how the Groups will look for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games for men's ice hockey in China:
- United States
- Russian Olympic Committee
- Czech Republic