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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#1 Dallylamma
February 13 2013, 01:17PM
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Wayne for Mayor FIST in the air!

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#2 yawto
February 13 2013, 01:17PM
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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.

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#3 Mikey
February 13 2013, 01:22PM
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So true. Oiler fans piss me off sometimes. And they wonder why no one wants to come here. And stop with all the silly trades this isn't NHL 13.

Last night was a great game were the bounces didn't go our way. They deserved the win, but didn't get it. If the oilers play every game like that I would be happy. Sure there were mistakes, how else are goals scored?

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#4 Hat Pughes
February 13 2013, 01:24PM
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"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."

Here Ye Here Ye Lord Wanye.

Hands up everyone who comes to work and performs at 100% EVERYDAY...(yeah nobody as I thought).

RS is having a tough go of it right now and in true character he will bounce back with vengeance.

That is if Ralph pulls him out of the Pressbox. I also believe the same strategy might be the one to use for the other struggling Ryan vet too. Whitney is also a class act who loves being here and wants to be here. His comment about "they are paying me a lot of money to sit in the pressbox" is right on and genuine. Let him play out of his funk.

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#5 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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#6 grip it and rip it
February 13 2013, 01:28PM
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Thanks, needed to see that post!!! Very well said

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#7 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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#8 bwar
February 13 2013, 01:32PM
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I hope Ryan Smyth retires as an Oiler but with that said he still needed to take a night in the press box. He has been taking way too many pointless penalties and I think I night off every once in a while might be good for Smyth to cool his head a bit.

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#9 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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#10 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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#11 VK63
February 13 2013, 01:34PM
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U da man Wanye!!!

RESPECT!

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#12 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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#13 Justin
February 13 2013, 01:35PM
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Get it through your head! He's a RELIC!!! Time to hang them up smyth!

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#14 Justin
February 13 2013, 01:38PM
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Blogs like this make me stay at hockeybuzz!!

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#15 Yep
February 13 2013, 01:38PM
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Your right, what good is accountability if you might hurt someones feelings! After all, making the veterans *not* accountable has worked fantastic for us in the last 5 years.

Seriously though, Smyth can be pissed at being in the press box, in fact he had better be. However, if he honestly doesn't think he *deserves* to be in the press box for a game or two then he is just being selfish.

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#16 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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#17 bucketoffish
February 13 2013, 01:44PM
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Atta Boy. Your're all right eh.

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#18 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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#19 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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#21 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 13 2013, 01:52PM
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Justin wrote:

Blogs like this make me stay at hockeybuzz!!

promise?

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#22 Matt Henderson
February 13 2013, 01:53PM
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Right on, Wanye!

I grew up watching this guy take more Darien Hatcher crosschecks than anyone else could have ever endured. He stood in front of slapshots that would have made most men p*ss themselves.

His career is winding down and he might not be able to contribute the way he used to, but that doesnt change a thing for me. He's the Oiler Captain that never was, but always will be.

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#23 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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#24 mlcselli
February 13 2013, 01:57PM
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Ryan Smyth is and will always be my favorite Oiler. I hate hearing/reading any type of Smytty bashing. This guy bleeds Oilers. There is no question he is slowing down. Age does that to people and so does having your body crushed every night for more than a decade. I think he needs to take the odd night off too, but not necessarily in the press box. He could be dressed on the bench and played if it was needed. #94 was pissed and humiliated yesterday in his own building in front of thousands of his long time fans--TERRIBLE!!!. Kruger is doing the right thing with the team and for the fans by holding the players responsible. It's nice for Edmonton to have that type of Coach standing behind the bench. But for a player that has such heart, soul and love for the Oilers, the coach could just quietly let him stay on the bench instead of making a "healthy scratch" announcement. Ryan Smyth is one player I thing the Oil should show a more respect. Let him have his dignity when it's decided he won't be in the line-up on the occasional night.

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#25 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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#26 Mac962
February 13 2013, 02:05PM
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mlcselli wrote:

Ryan Smyth is and will always be my favorite Oiler. I hate hearing/reading any type of Smytty bashing. This guy bleeds Oilers. There is no question he is slowing down. Age does that to people and so does having your body crushed every night for more than a decade. I think he needs to take the odd night off too, but not necessarily in the press box. He could be dressed on the bench and played if it was needed. #94 was pissed and humiliated yesterday in his own building in front of thousands of his long time fans--TERRIBLE!!!. Kruger is doing the right thing with the team and for the fans by holding the players responsible. It's nice for Edmonton to have that type of Coach standing behind the bench. But for a player that has such heart, soul and love for the Oilers, the coach could just quietly let him stay on the bench instead of making a "healthy scratch" announcement. Ryan Smyth is one player I thing the Oil should show a more respect. Let him have his dignity when it's decided he won't be in the line-up on the occasional night.

Yeah - sitting on the Bench is beneficial , give your head a shake. Smyth was not humiliated at all. For crying out loud he wasn't put on waivers.

Maybe we should play Nik in Goal as well for the rest of the year or every second game to spare his dignity as well.

Yeah, Seth or Nate are coming our way with that kind of vision.

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#27 Smyth94ever
February 13 2013, 02:06PM
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I love you more than words can say, Wanye. :'(

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#28 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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#29 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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#30 The Towel Boy
February 13 2013, 02:15PM
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Jahhh...reeespec, Boss Man!

Spit hot fire and slew dem haters!

Signed,

Reggae Towel Boy

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
February 13 2013, 02:15PM
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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.

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#32 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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#33 David S
February 13 2013, 02:21PM
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geoilersgist wrote:

I really wish the articles themselves could receive props

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

THIS - and the highly speculated OILERS NATION ART GALLERY currently in the prototype stage (I hope).

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#34 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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#35 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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#36 rubbertrout
February 13 2013, 02:40PM
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I remember when there was a 100 year old woman who just wanted to touch his mullet. And he let her.

/ends discussion

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#37 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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#38 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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#39 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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#40 #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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#41 Starving Student
February 13 2013, 02:55PM
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Justin wrote:

Blogs like this make me stay at hockeybuzz!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Go E5 yourself!

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#42 Old Soldier
February 13 2013, 02:57PM
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I agree very much with the author, Smyth has earned my respect for what he has done for this team, and in his country's colors.

What many of the critics are forgetting, is he took a huge cut in pay this last contract to stay here in Edmonton. I am not saying he was worth $5 million a year or more, but guaranteed if he was shopping, someone would have offered more than the Oilers, and he has also accepted his role more graciously than many others have in the past.

We just have to look south at a $7 million former star player who doesnt seem to realize he just doesnt have the parts or heart any more, and who wont accept a lesser role no matter what.

I wont argue with the coach's decision to sit Smyth, he had a rough couple of games with some poor penalty calls, and Krueger seemed to be pretty sincere in his praise of Smyth as a part of this team. But I still think he belongs here, right where he is, on the third line, killing penaltys and being there for his teammates. Lets be honest, at $2.5mil per, he is a good deal, and a great representative of the Oilers.

This is a good time to show the kids, if you give us your loyalty, we will give you ours, it cant always be a heartless business.

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#43 #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...
February 13 2013, 03:00PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Right on, Wanye!

I grew up watching this guy take more Darien Hatcher crosschecks than anyone else could have ever endured. He stood in front of slapshots that would have made most men p*ss themselves.

His career is winding down and he might not be able to contribute the way he used to, but that doesnt change a thing for me. He's the Oiler Captain that never was, but always will be.

That laast sentence is the best thing I've ever read on ON, i cant props it eneough!

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#44 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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#45 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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#46 CopperBlueBalls
February 13 2013, 03:35PM
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The average hockey fan is borderline bandwagoner and does not understand the game or the players on the team.

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#47 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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#48 Crash
February 13 2013, 04:05PM
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"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"

I swore to myself I was done commenting on this site but had to chime in on this one point. Nice article Wanye. Your statement above couldn't be more true and this site is littered with these types of fans. We've had fans in here hating on Taylor Hall from day one, fans in here that hate Hemsky who has been a warrior for this franchise for years, the Sam Gagner haters etc, etc. And you're right, it's this fishbowl environment and the know it all fire breathing haters that are the 1st to wonder why FA's don't want to come here and be subjected to them.

Now I don't think giving Smytty a seat in the press box every once in awhile is a terrible proposition but all the pot shots and hatred being thrown Smytty's way by so called Oiler fans is sickening. The sad thing is that it doesn't stop with Smytty. We hear it in here all the time. Just like you said, the continuous bashing, name calling and hatred by many classless fans.

The biggest thing that sucks about this team is a lot of the so called fans.

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#49 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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#50 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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