Bring back the Gator


Jim Matheson reports in today’s Journal that during the Flyers playoff run this year, Jason Smith played 17 games with not one but two dislocated shoulders. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who was apparently a tough dude in his day, said “‘I got shivers thinking about (Smith),’ Holmgren told the Flyers beat writers. ‘I’ve been around hockey a long time and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it.'”

We’ve been making this case for a while now. If there was ever a player the Oilers should bring back—forgetting a time machine and a 1985 vintage Gretzky—then maybe Jason Smith is the guy. We can’t see the Flyers turning him away in the off-season, given that he is giving his GM the shivers, but hells bells, K-Lowe, maybe this is a guy you take a long look at if he’s available, especially given all the young assets sitting around Oilers World HQ.

Asked how he could play with two dislocated shoulders Smith replied “No excuses, I’m still living.”

You hear that Joni? How about you Sheldon?

Good Heavens.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I'd like hear R.B's take on that suggestion. There's no doubt Smith and Staios both have balls of titanium but I don't see how the Oil fit him in. He may miss next season just for what may be necessary surgeries. There's no denyng the man his due respect. Too bad you can't bottle that kind of courage and toughness.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    "…Smith and Staios both have balls of titanium…"

    You got that right. Anybody remember Stevie blocking a shot with his forehead against… i think San Jose. So crazy it made me laugh at how tough he is. Not human.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    If there was room on the Oilers roster for a sentimental pick in a cap world, that spot would go to Jason Smith.
    Having watched him during his tenure with the Oilers and having seen what I've seen — much of which was never written in the papers — I have no hesitation in saying he's the toughest NHL player I've ever known.

    The reality is, though, he's got a lot of wear and tear on that body of his and I don't think at this point in his career he could be more than a sixth or seventh D-man here. His leadership would be invaluable, but it's difficult to use a roster spot just to provide what he brings to the table now.

    He's a player who, if he chooses, will be a very good coach one day.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    love smith, but… do the oil need to;
    a) subtract dmen that can't handle the puck or consistently make outlet passes;
    b) add subtract dmen that can't handle the puck or consistently make outlet passes

    tough is great. tough is necessary. but tough with not enough skills doesn't get your talented forwards the puck enough for them to be effective (i.e. 06/07).
    you can guess my vote.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Gotta love Gator, but I agree with Robin; You can't take up a roster spot just to add character and toughness, two things Smith has in abundance. Besides, as long as we don't overplay Staios which Mac T did this year, due to injuries, I think he gives us the toughness and leadership all teams need. Stevie S seemed to be the only Canadian blocking shots in the World Championships. He had a tough year, but you still have to love his heart. Here's to K-Lowe trying to pry Bouwmeester out of FLA! Come on home Jay!

  • I'm a Scientist!

    In the SCF'06, both caused a goal against in Game Seven with unnecessary shot blocking. Jussi would've stopped both shots……

    Where are we going, people? The future is here.

    I'd love Gator back, but let's get real. We need more Spaceks and Prongers to get back to the Finals.

    Hopefully Souray can step up and be that force on the PP, and Gilbert improves again to become an All-Star. Pitkanen, if he's back, will be great also.

    Bring Gator back as a mentor, so he can retire as an OIL? I like that idea, if we can off-load some salary at the draft and nab some more picks.

    I'm no fan of Staios, as he makes at least one cringe-worthy retreat to avoid a check each game, letting a more skilled player (grebs, gilbs etc.) bust it out of our end. A great 5th D.

    If we can grab Bouwmeester, and he really wants to play here, make it happen SlowLowe.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    The only problem I have with this arguement is that throughout the years Kevin Lowe has shown an ability to know when a defenseman is just on the cusp of going over the hill: Poti, Niinimaa, Smith … I don't think Jason Smith comes back here. It would also be a slap in the face to Mr. Glass Ethan Moreau.