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 Archaeologuy
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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#2 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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#3 Dallylamma
February 13 2013, 01:17PM
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Wayne for Mayor FIST in the air!

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#4 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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#5 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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#6 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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#8 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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#9 tom.MTL
February 13 2013, 05:25PM
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Marty Reasoner cried.

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#10 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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#11 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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#12 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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#13 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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#14 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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#15 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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#16 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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#17 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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#18 VK63
February 13 2013, 01:34PM
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U da man Wanye!!!

RESPECT!

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#19 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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#20 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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#21 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
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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#22 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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#23 @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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#24 G Money
February 14 2013, 12:31AM
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The mullet abides.

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#25 Oil Fever
February 14 2013, 01:04PM
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WAYNE!!!! You have just penned the absolute BEST Blog the Nation has ever seen! Thank-you for your effort on this one, if there was a Stanley Cup to be offered for writing you just aced a sweep and have taken the prize! Thank-you again and maybe this will hush the haters for a day or so!! Then again ...maybe not.

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#26 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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#27 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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#28 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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#29 Justin
February 13 2013, 01:38PM
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Blogs like this make me stay at hockeybuzz!!

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#30 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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#32 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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#33 Smyth94ever
February 13 2013, 02:06PM
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I love you more than words can say, Wanye. :'(

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#34 #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...
February 13 2013, 03:00PM
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Archaeologuy 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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 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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#39 tom.MTL
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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 JayDizz1986
February 14 2013, 01:47AM
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titties for smytty?

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#44 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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#45 Rob
February 14 2013, 05:09AM
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Different comment same editing

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#46 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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#47 Wally Jones
February 14 2013, 09:11AM
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Finally someone came out and said it. I have long felt the same way. It always irks me when people try to throw players under the bus, and then wonder why nobody wants to sign here. The vocal minority are always the loudest but they don't represent all of us. I bet at lest 8 out of 10 Oil fans feel the same way. I recognize that yeah, the Smyth benching wasn't totally unwarranted, but for some people to defame the only true Oiler we've ever had, that's almost sacrilegious, people need to be giving this guy more respect, all the abuse he's taken in front of the net over the years, should count for something. Smyth is my favorite Oiler all time, and I remember the glory days. These trolls that go on these forums and on the call in shows have nothing better to do and don't look at the big picture. Like one poster said, if Smyth were to ever lift the cup in Edmonton, I would probably shed a tear or two. Go Oilers and Go Ryan Smyth.

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#48 Coppperhead
February 14 2013, 12:00PM
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Kevrock wrote:

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.

I would like to second your statement. Kevin Lowe may pale in comparison to some of his teammates in the 80s, but to play over 1000 games as a solid hard nose defenceman puts him in the stratosphere of legend to me.

That said I agree regarding Smyth. Although I may deride him for his poor play as of late, he will always be a cherished Oiler.

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#49 Smythyyy
February 15 2013, 06:30PM
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Smythy is the the man! Like you said, haters are gonna hate. Excellent article Wayne!

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#50 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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