IN DEFENSE OF SMYTH

Wanye
February 13 2013 01:08PM

It shatters our mind that we have to write this article but some real sons of bitches out there are asking for it saying Ryan Smyth is finished and his healthy scratching last night was an excellent play.

Its just embarassing that we are the fans of the same team. Embarassing.

RYAN SMYTH IS A LEGEND

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat:

Ryan Smyth is one of the best Oilers of all time. On and off the ice.

The NHL has long been riddled with self entitled millionaires who rent houses in the cities in which they play only to escape the mintue the season ends. These people add nothing to the community, could care less about the City or the fans and aren't deserving of any special consideration beyond what they can contribute on the ice.

Ryan Smyth is the exact opposite of that. One of the few Oilers who lives here in the offseason, Smytty has gone to work with a smile on his face and a song in his saintly heart for the entire time he has been an Oiler. He works with charities. He has mortgaged a healthy retirement by playing injured and taking innumerable beatings in front of the net on Oilers teams that were headed nowhere in a hurry.

Remember how near death he looked during the 2006 Stanley Cup Run? Remember when he basically snapped his foot off in 2002 and was back in a matter of weeks so he could play in the Olympics? Think he will regret that when he is 51 and has a daily painful reminder of leaving it all out there for the Oilers?

Much was made about his tearful goodbye in 2007 when he was dealt to Isles at the deadline under some shady circumstances and a relatively small sum of money. Name another Oiler who cried on his way out of town? 99. That's it. Full stop. In over 30 years those are the only two players who were moved to tears by being dealt from the coldest, most remote outpost in all of the NHL.

People said he wouldn't live up to his enormous five year $31.2 million dollar contract that he pried out of Colorado in 2007. But live up to it he did and miracle of miracles he returned to Edmonton in 2011 and even gave us one more 19 goal season at the age of 104.

And now here we are 13 games into the season in the twilight of his career that comes with diminished expectations and a diminshed role and some Oilers fans are just raining down the hatred on 94.

Classic.

HATERS GONNA HATE

Now there are a million legitimate cases you could make that Coach Kreuger did the right thing by scratching Smyth last night against the Stars. He has an eye popping 26 PIMs already this season and has cost the team some goals against in the process. This underperforming team is in transition to a new regime and holding veterans accountable sends a signal to both the vets and the Super Youth alike.

We get all of that.

But the amount of tweets, blogs and calls into the shows that we have seen and heard in the past week or so saying that Smyth is finished? Unacceptable. The people saying he should be dealt or sat for the remainder of the year? Wrong.

CLASS

Name an Oilers legend that has retired in an Oilers jersey. There are none. Name a retirement game you have seen where a long time hero plays his final game in Oilers silks in front of a cheering hometown crowd saying goodbye to one of its favourite sons after a long and illustrious career. Zip.

Name Oilers players that a segment of fans have turned on and railroaded them out of town. There isn't enough space available on the internet. These same fans that are the first in line to dogpile hate on the Oiler - no matter who he is - are the same ones that wring their hands and wonder why Free Agents don't want to sign here. They blame the GM, they blame the Coach, they blame any player that they can for the ails on the ice. This classless crowd all too often speak on all of our behalf and its absurd.

Here we have Smyth - a player who is so quintessentially Edmonton that we might as well name a few hundred thousand pot holes after him - in the twilight of his career. Sure he may have lost a step. Its the aggregate of the injuries he has suffered as an Oiler starting to take their toll. Cut him some slack for heavens sakes.

It's called respect.

We for one want Smyth to come back strong from his ill advised trip to the press box. We hope that our fellow fans recognize what a special player he is and that he doesn't have too many games left in the tank before he will retire. And we hope that he is the first Oiler that we can recall who will be cheered off the ice at the end of a wonderful career instead of booed and cat called into the sunset for failing to live up to expectations in his final days.

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Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#102 John
February 14 2013, 11:59AM
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If Ryan Smyth is the exact opposite of these self-entitled millionaires, then why did it take so long for him to sign in the offseason? If he wasn't self-entitled would he not have signed immediately and for whatever the Oilers were offereing just because he was back where he wanted to be? He has made enough in his career that money shouldn't really matter. Maybe I don't have all the facts but it seemed like negotiations took way too long and there I thought it had something to do with money (also term but I think it was mainly money). Anyways, I'm not saying Smyth hasn't been a great part of this community, just don't sugar coat his greatness when he is exactly like every other hockey player who says they would play this game for free...at least until there is a lockout or their contract is up.

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#103 Coppperhead
February 14 2013, 12:00PM
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Kevrock wrote:

Agree like a million percent, but I do want to point out K.Lowe came home to retire to. Most nowadays wouldn't think of him as a hero But I do! Stay at home, physical defence men don't get the love much but the dude was harder than granite and won 6 cups...tough to say exactly how much effect he had on that blue line back in the day but In my memory it was a lot more than he's given credit.

I would like to second your statement. Kevin Lowe may pale in comparison to some of his teammates in the 80s, but to play over 1000 games as a solid hard nose defenceman puts him in the stratosphere of legend to me.

That said I agree regarding Smyth. Although I may deride him for his poor play as of late, he will always be a cherished Oiler.

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#104 Jason
February 14 2013, 12:35PM
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@John

People forget that negotiations are between the team and the players agent. The time it takes for the agent to respond and and negotiate may take a few days to weeks. Not only that, the agent is also representing other players.

As for the money, people will complain regardless of what he makes. Few will make anything close to what the players make in their lifetime. Life's not fair. While they get paid millions, they also have to deal with fans who appreciate them for a few years before we throw them under a bus after a few bad games or one bad season. Not sure how the average Joe can handle this kind of treatment in their own job (and the players hear it from thousands of people almost daily).

It's almost embarassing sometimes to be an Oilers fan and know that there are other fans who have no sympathy because they are "paid athletes" and they have to suck it up. Smyth, Horcoff, Hemsky, Salo... the list goes on. What if you started your job and everyone praised you and then 10 years later, your colleagues tell you that you suck and you should be replaced regardless of the work you've done?

I'll never make as much as the players in my lifetime but I'm not going to whine and complain. Players like Smyth and Horcoff deserve better for their contributions to the team and community. We shouldn't be throwing them under the bus because they played a bad game. Their time may have come and gone but they are quality personalities that have done way more in the community and for the team than any of us who live here.

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#105 John
February 14 2013, 12:47PM
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@Jason

I agree what you said about the negotiations but I do recall when Smyth came back he made a statement saying that he had made all his money and he was just happy to be back. He should have told his agent to just ask for a million dollars and get a 1 year contract. Another example would be when he got traded here in 2007. Apparently the Oilers (the EIG group owned the team at the time) and Smyth were fighting over 200,000 a year on a 5 year contract. People say that Smyth bled copper and blue but yet he was prepared to leave because he didn't get the million dollars he was asking for. I am not trying to say that athletes don't deserve whatever contract they do because I don't and shouldn't decide that. I do think that people put Smyth on god like status and think he is the most loyal and greatest guy in the world. If people didn't have this preception of him I would have no problem what he makes. I just hate when guys like Wanye paint a picture that is just not true. Smyth is no different than any other athelete...they are greedy and I don't have a problem with that because I would do the same thing. Just don't pretend he is somehow different.

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#106 Oil Fever
February 14 2013, 01:04PM
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WAYNE!!!! You have just penned the absolute BEST Blog the Nation has ever seen! Thank-you for your effort on this one, if there was a Stanley Cup to be offered for writing you just aced a sweep and have taken the prize! Thank-you again and maybe this will hush the haters for a day or so!! Then again ...maybe not.

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#107 Zipdot
February 14 2013, 03:18PM
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John wrote:

If Ryan Smyth is the exact opposite of these self-entitled millionaires, then why did it take so long for him to sign in the offseason? If he wasn't self-entitled would he not have signed immediately and for whatever the Oilers were offereing just because he was back where he wanted to be? He has made enough in his career that money shouldn't really matter. Maybe I don't have all the facts but it seemed like negotiations took way too long and there I thought it had something to do with money (also term but I think it was mainly money). Anyways, I'm not saying Smyth hasn't been a great part of this community, just don't sugar coat his greatness when he is exactly like every other hockey player who says they would play this game for free...at least until there is a lockout or their contract is up.

"He has made enough in his career that money shouldn't really matter."

Sounds like communism talk to me!

"Maybe I don't have all the facts but it seemed like negotiations took way too long and there I thought it had something to do with money (also term but I think it was mainly money)."

Usually negotiations have something to do with money, that's correct.

Look, you're setting up a false dilemma: "if Ryan Smyth wasn't self-entitled [sic] [then he would have] signed immediately." It's not one or the other: oh, I didn't sign immediately, so I'm self entitled. Oh, I signed immediately, so I'm not self entitled... (Whatever self entitled means?)

You can't judge a player by their contract negotiations. Like the players themselves, you've got to compartmentalize the negotiations and the playing career and never should the twain become confused.

Or, forget that and just use this handy formula:

1. Player took 1 day to negotiate? Team player. 2. Player took 5 days to negotiate? Team player. 3. Player took 10 days to negotiate? Team player. 4. Player took 15 days to negotiate? Cancer in the dressing room. 5. Player took 20 days to negotiate? 'Self-entitled.' 6. Player took 30 days to negotiate? Isn't worth the spit that I wasted hawking a loogie on the poster I've got of him at home.

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#108 John
February 14 2013, 04:34PM
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Zipdot wrote:

"He has made enough in his career that money shouldn't really matter."

Sounds like communism talk to me!

"Maybe I don't have all the facts but it seemed like negotiations took way too long and there I thought it had something to do with money (also term but I think it was mainly money)."

Usually negotiations have something to do with money, that's correct.

Look, you're setting up a false dilemma: "if Ryan Smyth wasn't self-entitled [sic] [then he would have] signed immediately." It's not one or the other: oh, I didn't sign immediately, so I'm self entitled. Oh, I signed immediately, so I'm not self entitled... (Whatever self entitled means?)

You can't judge a player by their contract negotiations. Like the players themselves, you've got to compartmentalize the negotiations and the playing career and never should the twain become confused.

Or, forget that and just use this handy formula:

1. Player took 1 day to negotiate? Team player. 2. Player took 5 days to negotiate? Team player. 3. Player took 10 days to negotiate? Team player. 4. Player took 15 days to negotiate? Cancer in the dressing room. 5. Player took 20 days to negotiate? 'Self-entitled.' 6. Player took 30 days to negotiate? Isn't worth the spit that I wasted hawking a loogie on the poster I've got of him at home.

I am not judging him by his contract negotiations. I was trying to get the point across was the fact that he wanted more money than what the Oilers were offering, hence why it took so long for him to sign. I apologize if I didn't explain this accurately. My whole point (if you read my second post on this page) is that it seems people put Smyth on a pedestal and think he's so much better than the average athlete. I give him credit for his work in the community, but I wouldn't say that he's any less self-entitled (as per Wanye) than any other athlete because he is greedy just like everyone else. And don't misunderstand me, I don't care that athletes want to get paid as much as they can, I would do the exact same thing and expect them to do it as well. Just don't try to paint a picture of Smyth being a guy who bleeds copper and blue and one of the most loyal guys out there when he ended up leaving here over a dispute of a million dollars when he apparently loved it here.

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#109 Zipdot
February 14 2013, 04:41PM
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Smyth's agent, Don Meehan, who is a real shark, called the Oilers bluff. Sure, it's rumoured that it was over a relatively small number. But the Oilers put their cards on the table and Smytty was dealt. Smyth obviously still bled copper and blue; he proved it when he traded himself back to town a few seasons later.

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#110 Harlie
February 14 2013, 05:24PM
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Smyth caption on the top picture should read..

"I traded myself from L.A and all I got was this stupid bobblehead doll."

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#111 Bucknuck
February 14 2013, 05:43PM
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You. Nailed. It.

Smytty is the best Oiler of the last twenty years. Period.

So glad he is finishing his career here.

Now quit playing like a$$, number 94, and make a run out of it.

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#112 Rob Gilgan
February 14 2013, 09:54PM
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It was the right call. Everything you said about Smytty is true. And now every player on the team knows that no one is exempt: take too many bad penalties and you'll sit in the press box.

Once again, Ryan Smyth leads by example. He won't be pouting, he'll be leading, come Saturday against Denver.

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#113 Serious Gord
February 15 2013, 06:18AM
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What an irrational screed.

If RS is washed-up as an NHL level player - and it certainly seems to be getting to that point if it hasn't already - he certainly is in the lower rungs of the third or fourth line - then there are three options for the team - bench him, trade him or convince him to retire.

If Smyth (and his fans) really don't want to see his image tarnished even further than it already has and they want to see his "bleeding copper and blue" legend enshrined, then option three is the best course.

And the sooner he does it the better.

DiMaggio quit because injuries made it impossible for him to play at his best.

Gretzky scored 62 PTs in 70 games in his last season - the only season he dipped below a pt/game. No doubt he could have played for years more.

And lidstrom quit when he was arguably still the best d-man in the game.

Why did they all quit earlier than they needed to?

PRIDE.

And the desire to go out in their terms.

Smyth can do the honorable, commendable thing and retire.

Or we can all be forced to endure yet another messy exit of Smyth from the team.

And the best thing his loyal fans can do is gently urge him to leave with grace.

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#114 John
February 15 2013, 12:45PM
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@Zipdot

If he bled copper and blue after he was traded or was forced to be traded because od Don Meehan or whoever, then why didn't he resign in the offseason with Edmonton. Why did he wait until he had made all of his cash and then ask to be traded back to Edmonton? If he bled copper and blue that means to me that the guy would do absolutely everything and anything to be a part of the team, regardless of money. Every decision that was made was based on money. Smyth even said himself he was sick and tired of home town discounts. Even though he may have been right, that doesn't change the fact that he is like every other athelete wanting MONEY.

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#115 Smythyyy
February 15 2013, 06:30PM
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Smythy is the the man! Like you said, haters are gonna hate. Excellent article Wayne!

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#116 Greg
February 15 2013, 09:43PM
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Wayne.....you don't think Ryan should have been sat because he's a good guy??

I can deal with the fact that he's slow, lacking of pure talent, has that stupid straight-blade stick where the puck never stays in his control.....but when he plays as poorly as he has of late PLUS takes 3 absolutely horrendous undisciplined penalties in one game how can you say it was wrong to sit him?

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#117 rob
February 16 2013, 04:51AM
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Listen fart-sniffer you write the goofiest blogs ever. Normally I don't read your inane trash let alone comment on them.

If you are going to call people names just because they don't agree with your drivel then I suggest you grow up...IDIOT

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