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.

09049f03ecb006ab29372206f2a88f75
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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#51 Smokey
February 13 2013, 01:26PM
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The accountability message needed to be sent. Unfortunately Ryan Smyth the chosen one got the shaft. After this he's going to go on a tear.

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#52 Smokey
February 13 2013, 01:31PM
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The Oilers need to also bench players for being soft on the puck and the constant loosing of puck battles.

The Oilers problem is 3 fold,

1.Soft on puck and loose puck battles 2. Need to play some dump and chase against teams, because they are getting stopped at the blue. 3. Shoot the puck and go hard to the net. Its how everyone plays against the Oilers, why don't the Oilers try it.

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#53 So not a Pouzar
February 13 2013, 01:33PM
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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.

Janne Niinimaa, but that's really neither here nor there.

Great article Wanye, here's to Smitty coming back with something new to prove.

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#54 Jaw17
February 13 2013, 01:34PM
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Smyth has always been my favourite player and a big reason for that is because he's one of the few players that I can respect in the NHL. I agree he's looked slow and looked like he can no longer contribute in the NHL, now that may be because of the short training camp and taking time to get the wheels going or it may be that his age has caught up to him and its time for him to hang them up, either way you do not trade him and you do not make him a constant healthy scratch, from time to time it's alright but not constantly. If Smyth wants to retire or leave Edmonton it's on his terms because of what he has done for the city and the team!

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#55 BigE91
February 13 2013, 01:34PM
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Pretty tough to watch the game last night without 94 on the ice. The team played reasonably well despite the outcome.

What I don't see and no disrespect to Hall, Eberle, RNH, Hemsky or any other players is the Edmonton Oiler who bleeds the team colours. Ryan Smyth is and has been that guy since his draft day.

Yes, he's taken more penalties than normal and the offence hasn't been there yet but he's been playing with new linemates, taking draws and playing on 36 year old legs without the benefit of a proper training camp. The naysayers need to cut him some slack and let him find his legs. His performance to date wouldn't be this magnified if the top 6 were performing to their potential.

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#56 Phixieus666
February 13 2013, 01:39PM
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He deserved to be out of the line up and it will probably happen again if not for his play then the simple fact that hes getting older and could use a night off every once in a while. There is nothing wrong with that. A lot of teams do it, people need to stop over reacting. I'm sure if Horcoff and Beleanger didn't get hurt they would be taking the occasional night off as well. Smyth just needs to dial down those penalties.

Whitney just needs to play better than the likes of Potter, Fistric, and Peckham. Not exactly a tall order considering hes played better than any of them his entire career until now.

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#57 bucketoffish
February 13 2013, 01:44PM
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Atta Boy. Your're all right eh.

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#58 Ryan2
February 13 2013, 01:45PM
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Ryan Smyth was done as a top 6, arguably top 9, winger a couple of years ago. The years of playing hard nosed mucking hockey are catching up with him just like anyone else. There is nothing wrong with that, it happens to every player sooner or later.

Unfortunately for Smyth, he is likely going to be another one of those players that gets pushed out by better and younger players by staying too long rather than leaving on his own accord.

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#59 geoilersgist
February 13 2013, 01:48PM
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I really wish the articles themselves could receive props

*wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

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#60 Hat Pughes
February 13 2013, 01:53PM
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Smokey wrote:

The Oilers need to also bench players for being soft on the puck and the constant loosing of puck battles.

The Oilers problem is 3 fold,

1.Soft on puck and loose puck battles 2. Need to play some dump and chase against teams, because they are getting stopped at the blue. 3. Shoot the puck and go hard to the net. Its how everyone plays against the Oilers, why don't the Oilers try it.

Sorry I have to challenge your logic..if they arent doing #1 how do you expect them to do the last part of #3????

In order to go hard to the net you have to:

a) fight the battle to get there AND b) pay the price when you get there to be able to stay there.

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#61 Mac962
February 13 2013, 01:58PM
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Sorry, but todays team is not built on legends. Bring back Mess if thats the case. Ryan is and always has been a class act and a team full of Ryan Smyths with a Crosby or 2 thrown in here and there would cake walk through this league. In his prime that is. You saw the end coming last year as he started great and tapered off never to regain that form.

Some may be slamming him, i am being realistic. He is pretty much done IF and i say IF he cannot accept reduced minutes and and 3rd-4th line role. Perhaps its hard to get that battered warrior body of his up for shifts at times now.

We love Ryan - i know i do, he has been our boy. But i feel the end is near or here already. We will see, sometimes you have to just acknowledge the obvious. He will get another shot yet , lets see what he will do. Sorry but Legends are things we talk about, not what makes the 2012-13 Edmonton Oilers a better Hockey Team and you know it. We must remember though, be careful of the old dog, he may not be as good as he once was, but can be as good once as he ever was. Hopefully that for the rest of the season.

Go Ryan Smyth !! 94 forever buddy.

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#62 Phixieus666
February 13 2013, 02:08PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

Ryan Smyth was done as a top 6, arguably top 9, winger a couple of years ago. The years of playing hard nosed mucking hockey are catching up with him just like anyone else. There is nothing wrong with that, it happens to every player sooner or later.

Unfortunately for Smyth, he is likely going to be another one of those players that gets pushed out by better and younger players by staying too long rather than leaving on his own accord.

I think another thing to consider is how the game is played now. A lot of the game is based around speed and skill now as opposed to hard work and a lot of banging and crashing like back in Smyth's prime. Just something to consider.

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#63 Wayne Reynolds
February 13 2013, 02:13PM
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I have noticed over the years that some people(you can't call them fans ) will jump at every chance to be negative and nasty. I remember some people booing Jackie Parker in the sixties, Bruce Letterman in the seventies, Warren Moon and Paul Cofffey in the eighties, Wayne Gretzky in the nineties, and now Ryan Smyth. These same people would boo Mother Teresa if they thought it would get them attention. These people are cowards hiding behind false e-mail names and in the case of live events, alcohol. They are not happy with their lot in life so they take it out on those that are successful. Ryan Smyth will be back but unfortunately so will the naysayers.

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#64 DLite
February 13 2013, 02:16PM
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True he is a legend...in a million ways. I similarly hope he retires here to cheers from the crowd. I have loved his sacrifices over the years. I did not, however miss him last night. Just sayin'.

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#65 nunyour
February 13 2013, 02:28PM
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Smyth is all class,and will be moved into management when the time comes.

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#66 ralph_u
February 13 2013, 02:29PM
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Wayne Reynolds wrote:

I have noticed over the years that some people(you can't call them fans ) will jump at every chance to be negative and nasty. I remember some people booing Jackie Parker in the sixties, Bruce Letterman in the seventies, Warren Moon and Paul Cofffey in the eighties, Wayne Gretzky in the nineties, and now Ryan Smyth. These same people would boo Mother Teresa if they thought it would get them attention. These people are cowards hiding behind false e-mail names and in the case of live events, alcohol. They are not happy with their lot in life so they take it out on those that are successful. Ryan Smyth will be back but unfortunately so will the naysayers.

I think you mean Lemmerman but point taken.

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#67 pelhem grenville
February 13 2013, 02:47PM
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...OILERS NATION ART GALLERY is highly speculated? does that mean we're close to shovels in the ground ...? has council approved it? no taxpayers money?

94 could be the museums' curator ...!!!

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#68 Mark
February 13 2013, 02:50PM
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These are the same fans that have a man crush on Yak, Nuge, Eb's and Hallsy when they are playing good and then are calling to trade them 4 games later. Hopefully their bosses at work are as short sited as they are and fire them when they have a few bad days. Don’t expect too much from Smitty and you wont be disappointed. This is 2013 Smitty not 2001 Smitty.

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#69 Clarko
February 13 2013, 02:54PM
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I think we all respect Smyth as human being and as a warrior who has battled every night throughout his career. Nobody takes that away from him (or at least I don't).

However, this is a results business. Smyth was great early last season with 12 goals in his first 22 games. But he now has only 8 goals in his last 72. It isn't like this is just a 12 game slump. It is the last half of last season AND the beginning of this season. Add that to the 13 minor penalties in 12 games, and his negatives have outweighed the positives so far. It wasn't just the 3 penalties he took against Columbus, but he has been taking bad penalties all season. Also, if his penalties were for running the other team's defensemen through the end boards, then we could accept those type of penalties. But the "I'm too slow to keep up" penalties have to stop.

Ryan Smyth still has a place on this team IF he continues to be able to kill penalties well and provide some depth scoring.

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#70 #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...
February 13 2013, 02:55PM
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Ryan Smyth will always be my favourite player and for years he was our local hero, we'd be so proud when he would get named as captain of the canadian team at the worlds (i still remember the year there was so many current and former oilers on the team , anson carter with some OT magic... good times) but now that we have theses shiny new players everyone forgets about the player that used to be considered the heart and soul of the team, the guy that after he was traded the team went into a horible 0-278 run to end the season..

Smytty bleeds oil and no one appreciatted and respected the team, the logo, the jersey, the city and the fans like #94, 'bout time we remember that and start giving it back

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#71 CaptainLander
February 13 2013, 03:14PM
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Just to start off I do love the Mullet man, and yes Haters *cough Yak be nimble, gonna hate.

But to play devils advocate, Oil fans have been more then patient when it comes to this team and winning. So the question being, of the players we have, who gives the Oilers the best chance of winning today, next week and in 5 years? The team played a hell of game and lost against Dallas, played terrible in Columbus and won in Columbus. As a coaching staff which type of game would you like this team to play like every night? I am sure a guy like Yak Be...knows exactly what needs to be done to win every game. But I support Krueger in this, just because Smyth is a great Oiler does not mean he makes the Oilers great. I would trade anyone on this team if it meant the Oil would win today and contend as a Detroit has over a similar period of time. I believe this uncaring, paycheck collecting management is attempting to build this. I have to, because I am an Oiler fan.

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#72 OilClog
February 13 2013, 03:18PM
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Smyth is great, sitting one game because your mind isn't in the right state out there isn't bad thing. Very good actually.

Anyone wishing Smyth to leave town and that he's finished is no Oilers fan. Or realistic, he's been given the toughest assignments all year, and if it wasn't for his bonehead penalties, everything in his case would be viewed differently. Let's take a career scoring winger and turn him into our bottom 6 centerman. Yikes.

Everyone should be forced to hyphenate Smyth into their names on the jerseys from here forth.

Examples

Jordan Eberle-Smyth Nail Smyth-Yakupov Magnus Paajarvi Svenson Smyth.. Probably spelt horribly wrong Ben Eager Smyth

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#73 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 13 2013, 03:41PM
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The guy sat one game and it's been made out to be the biggest story in Edmonton this year. Why do we have to give it attention? Maybe if he comes back takes 3 more penalties and is benched we have a story, but right now we have exactly what was expected out of Smyth when he was signed. A player that is going to sit from time to time this year.

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#74 yeeps
February 13 2013, 04:06PM
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Great article. Very true. Much of these reasons are also why I am among the last to stick up for Horcoff.

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#75 Harlie
February 13 2013, 04:24PM
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Smyth has lots of hockey left in him and I hope that the team can be classy enough to let him wind down here. I just don't know if its in the cards with he way this org can turn their backs on an asset as they see fit.

I enjoyed that clip they played during the game of Horcoff and Smyth talking up in the PB, and it looked to me like Horc was showing leadership by taking the high road and looking at the bright side while Smyth let him know his frustrations.

Interesting mind games Ralphy is playing.

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#76 Hemmertime
February 13 2013, 04:27PM
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Id play Smyth at 42 years old 4 mins a night on the 4th line if thats what Smyth so desired. No way no how should he play another game in the NHL without the Oiler logo on his chest.

That being said, putting him in the pressbox was a great move. If you're willing to put Whitney and Smyth in the pressbox that sends a very clear message that the veterans do not have the same leash they had before.

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#77 The Fish
February 13 2013, 04:27PM
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Great piece on a great Oiler.

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#78 Truth
February 13 2013, 04:49PM
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Great work Wanye. Mega respect for Smyth.

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#79 Boourns99
February 13 2013, 05:01PM
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+100000 PROPS WANYE - The guy bleeds Oilers, which is why he is so pissed at getting scratched. I don't blame him, and I too am sickened by our collective need to find a goat. "HORCOFF IS INJURED??! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO WRITE ABOUT ON THE INTERNETS?!? DERP - I KNOW, LET'S BLAME SMYTTY!" - For Shame.

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#80 Cody anderson
February 13 2013, 05:18PM
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Smyth was my favorite player before they traded him. I agree that he is a warior and a heart and soul player.

I had mixed feelings when they brought him back. On the positive side - It is great for our young prospects to learn from his work ethic and to witness the love he has for this city. It could easily increase both their work ethic and their loyalty towards Edmonton. On the negative side (and I did say this when they traded for him) He bumped Paajarvi down the lineup and off of the PP and I think this ahd a lot to do with Paajarvi's offensive stagnation and loss of confidence.

I agree that he has earned some leeway and a lot of respect. My concern is what do you do with him if he is unable to play his way out of it and is not ready to retire. Perhaps when Jones gets back they can do something together. I fear he is no longer a strong enough player to be top 6-9 and was never an ideal bottom 3-6 player. Out bottom 6 had one shot and it will be hard for him to chip in offensively with those linemates.I am hoping he is able to playout the year at a better pace then he has played so far and then considers retirement in the off season.

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#81 John
February 13 2013, 05:26PM
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Slow clap Wanye good sir, slow clap.

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#82 Word
February 13 2013, 05:38PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I remember when there was a 100 year old woman who just wanted to touch his mullet. And he let her.

/ends discussion

I am not 100, and that was not his mullet! Wait - we're still talking about Pronger, right?

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#83 Chaz
February 13 2013, 05:53PM
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I think it's important at times like these to remember that the Vocal minority we hear trying to run players like Smytty out of town do not represent the majority of Oiler fans. They are simply the douch bags who also yell "Shoot" 3.4 second into a Power Play. They are to be ignored. Great Article!

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#84 Brady
February 13 2013, 05:57PM
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ADA boy Wanye. We'll said.

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#85 TDSM31
February 13 2013, 06:05PM
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yawto wrote:

My fist child shares the same bday as smytty, he will always have a place in my heart. That being said, I hear it from my boss when I am sucking at my job too. Just sayin.

Props to this.

I have all the faith in the world that Smytty will bounce back from this and play the same type of hockey he did at the start of last year...and his legend will continue to grow.

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#86 Maggie the Monkey
February 13 2013, 06:06PM
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tom.MTL wrote:

Marty Reasoner cried.

I was going to point this out, too, but you beat me to it. Props to you, sir.

Just like Smitty, Marty re-signed in Edmonton at the first opportunity. Not having Reasoner on board for the run of `06 was tragic (although Samsonov was fun in his brief cameo).

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#87 Duke
February 13 2013, 06:08PM
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Gotta chime in here as well. Good read and I'm gladl you stepped up an wrote it.

Props for 94

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#88 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 13 2013, 06:28PM
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@CaptainLander

Did i miss something?

Where in my statement is all this hate levelled towards Ryan Smyth you mentioned?

Pot meet kettle?

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#89 DeadEndFreeway
February 13 2013, 06:43PM
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Teams seem to have the most success when each player meets or exceeds expectations relative to the role given to them.

Most Oilers are matching or exceeding expectations. Some Oilers are not. Then there are some who do not accept their roles.

It seems Smyth is just frustrated with a diminshed role.

I think Smyth brings a lot of experience and would be invaluable if they could make the playoffs. This young team, if they continue to play like yesterday, can make it close.

Keep Smyth fresh for when needed most. He may not lead them through the regular season, but come playoffs...legends are born.

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#90 treblecharger
February 13 2013, 06:59PM
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One of the best Nation pieces ever! Atta boy, Wanye!

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#91 Bryan in SK
February 13 2013, 07:11PM
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I'm ok with Ralph sitting Smytty. And I'm not worried. He's not going anywhere. Smytty will be fine and lead well the rest of the year. This was as much a message to everybody else on the team as it was to 94.

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#92 2004Z06
February 13 2013, 07:16PM
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The comments that have come from some Oiler fans regarding Smyth doesn't surprise me at all. Some Oiler fans have treated other loyal heart and soul Oilers the same way. It was only a matter of time until they turned on Smitty. LOYALTY is a lost concept in todays NHL. Fans are fairweather, players are mercenaries, owners are greedy, agents are greedy. We have given bloggers the opportunity to make their nameless, classless, faceless and tasteless comments the minute we gave every idiot a keyboard and a modem. Pandora's box has been opened, no closing it now!

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#93 GVBlackhawk
February 13 2013, 07:25PM
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Fans get frustrated after multiple, consecutive losing seasons. The team was coming off an ugly performance against the Blue Jackets and Smyth played particularly bad with some dumb penalties. He became a conduit of the fans' frustration. Sitting him out was not a bad thing -- it is a wake-up call for the entire team. This incident will not define his legacy in Edmonton.

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#94 2004Z06
February 13 2013, 07:30PM
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Wayne is it true that you created ON when Smitty was traded the first time as a place to voice your frustration with managements decision?

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#95 BleedingOil
February 13 2013, 07:47PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

It's difficult to watch Ryan Smyth go out on a flaming bag of poop hockey team like this, he deserved better.

If only management cared as much as Ryan Smyth does. Hard to believe he loved this place so much he demanded to come back, appears as though management is here for the paycheques as well as most of the players.

I dont get your point of view here. Are you against Smytty needing a night off? Needing a rested aged veteran that can put the puck in the net is more important than a tired one that demands the puck goes in. 4 games in the next 8 days then a big road trip. Having Smytty sit and rest for 5 days is going to be a good thing.

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#96 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
February 13 2013, 08:05PM
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An Oiler legend who retired as an Oiler??

Glenn Anderson

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#97 gcw_rocks
February 13 2013, 08:36PM
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We should show Smyth respect, but we should not cut him slack for his on ice performance. One of the cold hard realities of sports is it is about today and the future.

Smyth didn't sit because he couldn't keep up anymore, he got sat because he was being selfish on the ice. I don't care what he did in the past, he is supposed to be mentoring the kids and that is unacceptable behaviour from someone in that role.

I am not going to dance on his grave, or ask for him to be run out of town, but I applaud Kruger for sitting Smyth.

As fans we should support the coach and respect the player so long as Smyth gets the message that Krueger sent and respects his role.

If Smyth doesn't do his part, then all bets should be off.

But I am confident that Smyth WILL do his part, and so should we.

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#98 Gerald R. Ford
February 13 2013, 08:40PM
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Wanye wrote:

I CRIED WATCHING MARTY REASONER SO WE ARE EVEN

My first Oiler-related LOL in quite a while. Muchas gracias señor presidente. It beats sobbing.

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#99 Paul
February 13 2013, 10:43PM
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Such a great article. Smytty, you are the pinnacle of hard working.

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#100 DonDon
February 13 2013, 10:53PM
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Wanye, get a grip! First of all, you created one of the communication sources (oilersnation.com) that brings out "...some real sons of bitches..." that are disparging Smyth and other Oilers. Yes, you! It may not have been your intention, but unintentional consequences do happen.

It doesn't help that the Oilers management has assembled a roster of regressing veterans that contribute to the team missing the playoffs forever. They are easy targets for the wrath of disappointed and engaged Oilers' fans.

And to be fair, not all the Oilers' fans are crapping on Ryan Smith. Ralph Krueger is attempting to raise the Oilers to another level of performance and is holding all players accountable, including Smyty for dumb penalties that contribute to losses.

In the immediate future, it would be gratifying for Oiler fans if the management found a place in the organization to capture Ryan Smyth's outstanding attributes as a former great Oiler and a wonderful representative in the community.

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