BIG SHOW II: RYAN SMYTH CHECKS IN

Hockey talk might be a tough sell with summer winding down and the temperature going up Saturday, but I’ll break into TEAM 1260 studios one more time and give it a shot with what I think is a solid roster of guests in the latest edition of Nation Radio at noon.

As popular storylines go, homecomings are as tried-and-true as it gets, and we’ll have one of those to kick-off the show when I talk with Ryan Smyth, again draped in Edmonton Oilers silks after a detour through Long Island, Colorado and Los Angeles.

I had a chat with Smyth a few weeks ago and passed that conversation along. Today on air, we’ll go over some of that ground again — his departure from Edmonton and his return, plus everything in between.

The way I see it, the rebuilding Oilers are a better team with Smyth on it and Edmonton is a better city with him in it. Smyth has always considered this home and he never wanted to leave in the first place.

If Smyth, now 35, isn’t exactly what this team needs in terms of leadership and having somebody to set an example of how to be a good pro for younger players, I don’t know who is.

We’ll kick off two hours of hockey talk by discussing all that.

REST OF THE ROSTER

Comebacks also provide money storylines and that’s exactly what we’ll get to kick-off our second hour at 1 p.m. when I speak with defenseman Cam Barker about what’s ahead for him in 2011-12.

Barker, 25, a former first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2004, is coming off a difficult couple of seasons — he had his contract bought out by the Minnesota Wild — and he’s looking for a bounce-back campaign with the Oilers. What went wrong? More important, what has to go right for him to get his career back on track and what does he bring to the table in Edmonton?

— At 12:25, I’ll talk to David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, a reporter by trade who is best-known to many Oilers fans through his popular blog, the Cult of Hockey.

I’ll talk to Staples about the co-existence between mainstream media hockey blogs and non-MSM blogs in the Oilogosphere, and about the differences between the two. Should be fun.

— At 1:25, I’ll speak with Ben Kuzma, who not only covers the Vancouver Canucks as a beat writer with the Vancouver Province, but hired me for my first daily newspaper gig in 1984.

We won’t be waxing nostalgic, though. I’ll speak with Kuzma about the death of Rick Rypien, who’ll be laid to rest in Blairmore, Alta. Saturday, as well as about the upcoming rookie camp in Penticton.

SHOW LINE-UP

Noon: Ryan Smyth

12:25: David Staples, Edmonton Journal

12:45: Tom Renney on advanced statistics (replayed from the Jason Gregor Show)

1 p.m: Cam Barker

1:25: Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province

1:45: I’ll be taking your phone calls (780 426-8326) and e-mails at Nationradio@TheTeam.com

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.