Jason Smith Retires

Jonathan Willis
September 02 2009 11:36AM

The Ottawa Senators have announced that defenseman Jason Smith, a former captain in both Edmonton and Philadelphia, has retired.

Smith was well-loved here in Edmonton, where he spent the bulk of his career and served as captain for six years (2001-07) – becoming the longest serving captain in Oilers history. There was never any question about either his courage or his character, and it was those two attributes that really defined his game. During his career he was one of the NHL’s best shot-blockers and hitters.

Career Achievements

  • Drafted 18th overall, 1992
  • WHL All-Rookie Team, 1992
  • WHL First All-Star Team, 1993
  • Canadian Major Junior First All-Star Team, 1993
  • Bill Hunter Trophy (Top WHL Defenseman), 1993
  • Won a gold medal with the Canadian WJC team, 1993
  • Won a Calder Cup with the Albany River Rats, 1995
  • Played in his 1000th NHL game, 2009
  • Captained his junior team, his AHL team, and two NHL teams

Smith led every team he captained on lengthy post-season runs, and won it all at the AHL level after coming back from a severe knee injury that cost him most of the season. Another knee injury cost him the final eighteen games of his final NHL season, and may have played a factor in his retirement.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 The Towel Boy
September 02 2009, 01:56PM
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I was at that tribute game against Philly...there was a lot of watery eyes in the stands.

They sure don't make 'em like Gator anymore.

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#52 Chris
September 02 2009, 01:57PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

MacTavish’s best quote ever….. “Gator has the pain threshold of a cadaver.”

Beauty.

Gator is a man's man.

A CNN reporter once asked a marine sniper stationed in Afghanistan what he felt when he shot a terrorist. The man paused, shrugged, and replied, "Recoil."

That man is to snipers what Gator is to defencemen. You gotta love those kind of guys.

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#53 ronaldo
September 02 2009, 02:05PM
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Chris wrote:

A CNN reporter once asked a marine sniper stationed in Afghanistan what he felt when he shot a terrorist. The man paused, shrugged, and replied, “Recoil.”

I never heard that before. Great quote!

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#54 Pouzar
September 02 2009, 02:06PM
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A true warrior and a team player, all the best to him in the future!

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#55 A.T. Husky
September 02 2009, 02:09PM
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nickxero wrote:

Did you see this, Steve Staios?!?

Ouch.

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#56 MattL
September 02 2009, 02:15PM
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Chris wrote:

Skill without will is like having a Porshe without gas.

How many years did we complain about having too much gas and not enough Porsche? See: Mid-nineties.

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#57 Ogden Brother
September 02 2009, 02:19PM
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MattL wrote:

Chris wrote: Skill without will is like having a Porshe without gas. How many years did we complain about having too much gas and not enough Porsche? See: Mid-nineties.

I always laugh about that too... though you can obviously make a case for balance.... that said, talent is alot harder (and costs alot more) to come by. If we really want some grit I'm sure we could trade a guy like Cogs for a 27 Moreau++

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#58 MattL
September 02 2009, 02:23PM
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Chris wrote:

A CNN reporter once asked a marine sniper stationed in Afghanistan what he felt when he shot a terrorist. The man paused, shrugged, and replied, “Recoil.”

I don't think that actually happened, it has also been attributed to a Katie Couric interview. Funny line, didn't happen.

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#59 Chris
September 02 2009, 02:25PM
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@ MattL:

Oh I hear you...

Great forwards; subpar defence. Great defence; subpar forwards. Lot's of grit; limited skill. Lot's of skill: limited grit.

I wish Oilers management could ice a team with balance for once.

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#60 vern
September 02 2009, 02:26PM
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@ MattL: We are oilers fans. The team could go 82-0. Then sweep every team on the way to the cup 4 years in a row. winnig every game 14 to 0. With 10 50 goal scorers on sweet entry level contracts. We would still complain that the other 2 forwards didn't score fifty and scream for their heads. Thats life in oil country.

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#61 Ogden Brother
September 02 2009, 02:43PM
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Chris wrote:

@ MattL: Oh I hear you… Great forwards; subpar defence. Great defence; subpar forwards. Lot’s of grit; limited skill. Lot’s of skill: limited grit. I wish Oilers management could ice a team with balance for once.

We did, 2006 ;)

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#62 Chris
September 02 2009, 02:47PM
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@ MattL:

After looking into it further: the recoil storey may be an urban myth; although I had seen it a longtime ago supposedly sourced from Reuters... so what? I was drawing a parallel between the machismo culture of stay at home defencemen and military snipers.

Sgt. Buck the head of an Edmonton Garrison-based sniper unit did say, "We need the kind of soldier that can turn the remorse button off."

As Per: hxxp://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1558296/posts

Gator hit, hard and without mercy. In his prime, he was an absolute beast on the ice... The Oilers could use someone cut from the same cloth.

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#63 smiliegirl15
September 02 2009, 03:03PM
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I laughed out loud at the Steve Staios comment! My sentiments exactly. I hope Khabi gives him a shot in the chops with his blocker the first time Staios comes back to be goalie and trips over him.

Best of luck Gator - we love you in Oil Country!!!

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#64 MattL
September 02 2009, 03:04PM
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@ vern:

I hear you, and I'm no different. Although this year, I'll settle for Penner looking like he's trying, Horcoff looking like he's succeeding, Khabibulin playing more than half the season, and better ice at RX1.

@ Chris: @ Ogden Brother:

Yeah, I think balance is definitely the key word. Although balance of amazing scoring and amazing hitting is better than the balance we have now, mediocre scoring, uninspired hitting.

It's Sept. Chris wrote:

I was drawing a parallel between the machismo culture of stay at home defencemen and military snipers.

Gator was definitely one of those guys. I'll never forget the time he grabbed two guys like he was actually going to fight both of them. Man, what a beauty. Then he passed down his one-arm hitting technique to Greener, and we traded him too. Sad.

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#65 jeanshorts
September 02 2009, 04:50PM
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Chris wrote:

Gator hit, hard and without mercy. In his prime, he was an absolute beast on the ice… The Oilers could use someone cut from the same cloth.

*crosses his fingers, closes his eyes and repeats "PECKHAM" over and over again under his breath*

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#66 Milli
September 02 2009, 08:28PM
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The guy was an absolute warrior. I'll never forget him getting stiched up behind the players bench during the playoffs, he wouldn't ever go to the room. He was a great OILER>

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#67 Dallas
September 02 2009, 08:29PM
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I will put money on it Peckham WILL be mini Gator don't you worry Peckham is gonna be awsome for us

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#68 Dwayne
September 02 2009, 08:31PM
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all the best for gator he was an awesome Oiler. The guy was still getting cheers when he left...A great stand up guy.

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#69 Archaeologuy
September 02 2009, 11:24PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: Imagine gator had remained an Oiler to this day, who would you choose TODAY to be the next Captain of the Edmonton Oilers? Shawn Horcoff. Seriously.

Is that the "He's gonna be here a while, he might as well be comfortable" approach to finding a Captain? He might be an alright hockey player but he doesnt scream "Captain" in my eyes. For that matter, neither has Gagner shown me anywhere that he could be a great leader either. Hemsky has shown more jam and determination than Gagner has, and I wouldnt put the C on him either. If it was a decision based solely for today then I would say Souray. Heart, Talent, Tough, and the ladies would buy a lot of those Pink 44 sweaters with a C on them. I dont know about the young guys. They havent led this team in any way. Not Offensively, not physically, not defensively. Right now theyre just not difference makers most nights.

I believe Gator made a difference most nights. Even the act of playing through intense pain just to be even at the end of the day and maybe block a couple shots was probably enough of a difference to inspire his teammates. I think the Oilers are missing a difference making Captain right now, but who said that Quinn would keep Moreau as his C anyway?

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#70 bragsy
September 03 2009, 08:28AM
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i was not happy when Smith was traded, but now that he has retired and to see him recieve the respect he deserves from around the league i am glad he was able to show case his persona.

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#71 RossCreek
September 03 2009, 09:19AM
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@ Archaeologuy: As a Flames fan, I laugh at all the Oiler fans that think Horcoff is no good. The guy is MR. EVERYTHING for this team, yet because a) MacT loved him and b) K-Lowe handed him 7 mil next year (even though the cap hit of 5.5 is the only number that matters), half the fans underappreciate him. I watch games too, and I see Horcoff out there busting his balls night in, night out. Some people have clearly brainwashed themselves into thinking they actually know anything about hockey - thats the only explanation for all the hatorade thrown Horc’s way. Is he a tad overpaid - yes. Does that make him a worse hockey player - no. If the “enemy” can see this, why can’t you diehard Oil fans see it. Yes he'll be here a while, but I also think he would be a decent fit as captain (of the current roster). Moreau obviously is alright, but most teams captains play at least a third of the game. And Souray would be a good fit as well. Horcoff is similar in style to Jarret Stoll, and he was hailed as the future captain. Without actually being inside the dressing room, I'd say Horcoff seems to be a guy that can stand up and take charge. Hís work ethic is 2nd to Moreau. As MR. EVERYTHING, he's on the ice in all kinds of situations. He's well spoken and often seen talking to the media after games. Player rep for the NHLPA. I could go on.

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#72 BruceM
September 03 2009, 11:40AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

MacTavish’s best quote ever….. “Gator has the pain threshold of a cadaver.”

Must have missed that one. Outstanding!

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#73 Archaeologuy
September 03 2009, 07:19PM
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RossCreek wrote:

I could go on.

I'm glad you didnt.

I said, he's an alright hockey player, but he wouldnt be the Captain of any team I was in control of. Mr Everything. Sure, he was the lead guy on the bad Penalty Kill, he was a lead guy on the bad Powerplay, he was a big leader of a team that quit mid season. Awesome. Mr Everything.

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