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 Randomhero79
February 13 2013, 04:05PM
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Wanye..this is why the throngs of Oil fans love you. Well said my brother. The guy has literally bled for the team, and still will. This just shows that pro sports are becoming more and more like Gladiator than pro sport (not talking about the physicality . I'm waiting for Tambo to look to the crowd when a player has a bad game and then stick his thumb up or down.

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#52 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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#53 Peter
February 13 2013, 04:09PM
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Justin wrote:

Get it through your head! He's a RELIC!!! Time to hang them up smyth!

The fact you read HB regularly illustrates why you didn't have the intellect to understand the article.

He didn't say that Smyth should get a free pass and play at all costs. He said that fans shouldn't line up to drive the bus over him as his career winds down.

That is reality, not more fabricated rumours...Try to learn the difference.

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#54 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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#55 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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#56 The Fish
February 13 2013, 04:27PM
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Great piece on a great Oiler.

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#57 bdiddy18
February 13 2013, 04:33PM
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Why are people building a coffin for Smyth ?

What is the big deal, if anybody thought Smyth was going to be an every day player this year clearly the lockout erased the last 50 games of last year. He was non-existent.

So he gets the occassional break - a game here and there. So what. I'm sure this was talked about before even signing the contract - so again what is the big suprise ?

Smyth as the thirteenth forward for the next two years is fine by me...and should the stars aligned in true Hockey karma prevail what a sight it would be if he is lifting lord stanley with Oilers silks before he finally retires .. try not to cry visioning that! just try!

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

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#59 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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#60 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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#61 Bi-Curious Gord
February 13 2013, 05:25PM
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Marty Reasoner cried.

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

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#63 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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#64 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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#65 Brady
February 13 2013, 05:57PM
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ADA boy Wanye. We'll said.

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#66 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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#67 Maggie the Monkey
February 13 2013, 06:06PM
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Bi-Curious Gord 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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#68 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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#70 Maggie the Monkey
February 13 2013, 06:23PM
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Wanye wrote:

I CRIED WATCHING MARTY REASONER SO WE ARE EVEN

BOOOO

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#71 Bi-Curious Gord
February 13 2013, 06:24PM
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Maggie the Monkey wrote:

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).

How could anyone forget The Reason? Gotta love that kid's heart.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 treblecharger
February 13 2013, 06:59PM
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One of the best Nation pieces ever! Atta boy, Wanye!

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#75 Zipdot
February 13 2013, 07:01PM
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Mark Messier cried his eyeballs out at the ceremony when they raised number 11 to the rafters of Rexall.

He was giving a speech and talking about how it's a team sport and no single person can take all the crediWAAAHHHHHHHH SNIFF SNIFF, WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, SNIFF, SNIFF SNIFF, WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, SNIFFLE SNIFF, SNORT sob, sob, sob.

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#76 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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#77 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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#78 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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#79 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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#80 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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#81 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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#82 Butters
February 13 2013, 08:30PM
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Amen to this blog Wanye. As an Oiler fan, I never run down our players. There is no single savior for this team, nor is there a single player who is destroying it.

The number 94 should be hanging from the rafters some day imo.

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#83 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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#84 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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#85 Dog Train
February 13 2013, 09:17PM
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Ryan Smyth is the reason that I started cheering for the Oilers. As a younger fan who started to cheer for the team in the late 90s, he is the first player that comes to mind when I think about the Oilers. Years down the road when he is retired, his #94 should be hanging in the rafters (not like many players are going to pick 94 anyways) and this will all be forgotten. Smytty should definitely be cheered on his way out and thanked for the memories.

That said, Krueger did the right thing. Smyth needs to accept his role. He is still a valuable PKer and can contribute in limited minutes. But this is not his team anymore. His ability on the PK is wasted if he is the one in the box. The offensive zone stick infractions have to stop. There will be nights (especially when Jones gets healthy) where he may not be one of the 12 best options at forward. The coach has to coach to win and Smyth needs to accept his role. It's tough to see this happen to a player who has given so much to this organization and the city of Edmonton, but worrying about people's emotions is not what wins games. We need to let go of the past if we are ever going to see the future.

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#86 StHenriOilBomb
February 13 2013, 10:04PM
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Maggie the Monkey wrote:

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).

Tragic indeed. Reasoner deserved to be here for something special.

...also, we all remember that with the pick sent with Reasoner, Boston selected Lucic, right? Not that the Oilers would have had the same draft list, but could we ever use him now.

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#87 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 13 2013, 10:18PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

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.

He didn't need no frigging night off. He's just being his usual prickish self. Oilers have too few of these types of players in the lineup. So he took 3 penalties in his last hockey game, so what, they didn't hurt the hockey club whatsoever. I can understand getting frustrated by the usual lazy hooking and holding type penalties. Leave the slashing,highsticking and elbowing penalties alone, they often deliver more than just a message.

There is plenty of opportunity for criticism after a loss. Critiqueing a win is just blatant over analysis by the media and fans. A little pile drive to the face, a cross check in the chiclets, nothing wrong with a little violence every now and then.

It's a war out there, not a game of checkers. Maybe this pacifist Krueger character isn't the guy for this job, where's that Bill LaForge when we need him?

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#88 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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#89 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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#90 Kevrock
February 13 2013, 11:15PM
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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.

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#91 dougtheslug
February 13 2013, 11:55PM
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I'm not sure if the message that was sent to the Oilers was received - after all, they went out and good hammered 4-1. The rest of the league got a message alright. Something like "Rexall Place is the Free space on your Bingo card"

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#92 @Oilanderp
February 14 2013, 12:11AM
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I'm not even going to read any of the comments. Don't need to.

Word, Wanye.

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#93 Oilcruzer
February 14 2013, 12:20AM
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Wanye asked or said...

"Name an Oilers legend that has retired in an Oilers jersey."

Al Hamilton

Wanye makes sense today with the column/blog.

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#94 G Money
February 14 2013, 12:31AM
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The mullet abides.

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#95 JayDizz1986
February 14 2013, 01:47AM
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titties for smytty?

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#96 Rob
February 14 2013, 02:10AM
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I edited out your comment because you are a clown troll and I don't enjoy a word of it. - WG

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#97 andrewmk20
February 14 2013, 04:14AM
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No one can deny that Smyth has a place in Oiler history and he has sacrificed his body quite a bit for this club. But it's not a matter of respect. It's a matter of building a team towards the future. Trying too hard to hold onto the past can doom you just as much as forgetting it and while you've made your position clear the fact is Smyth does not fit into the top 6 and is miscast as a bottom 6 forward. First off he has never played with any physicality in his career as good as it has been. Second his foot speed was average at best during his youth and prime, at age 36 and almost 37 he has slowed quite a bit and is having a hard time keeping pace, hence the penalties. If Philadelphia can move Carter and Richards than Edmonton is capable of letting Horcoff and Smyth go. I would actually like to know what kind of competition and the quality of play other players like Boyd Gordon, Eric Nystrom, and Derek Dorsett offer. The Oilers need to reshape their bottom 6 to offer better support and they need to bring sustained pressure. Only Hartikainen has been able to do this consistently and Paajarvi has started to in the last few games as well. I'm not disrespecting these two players but at some point you have to move on because the bottom line is to win.

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#98 Rob
February 14 2013, 05:09AM
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Different comment same editing

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#99 WrathOfTheJenati
February 14 2013, 05:41AM
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Wayne, Mad Props for this post... You can't forget about Ranford though, that man bled copper n blue for reals. 8'(

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#100 rubbertrout
February 14 2013, 07:44AM
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Rob wrote:

I edited out your comment because you are a clown troll and I don't enjoy a word of it. - WG

Ordinarily I like to stay above petty shots and avoid feeding the trolls. In this instance only, I will break my own rule.

You sir, are a retard.

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