Friday, April 11, 2014

Sail on Captain Canada....

I couldn't bring myself to post much this past year especially after the Oilers ditched my Ales Hemsky! I also went to Sochi to watch the Olympics and was there for Canadian gold in hockey and curling! But we have something to talk about....important news!

Ryan Smyth is announcing his retirement this afternoon and his last game will be on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

I was thoroughly shocked. I did not see this coming; I assumed the Oilers would offer him another one year contract especially since Smitty has played well this year. There should be room for him on this team. Look at the fourth line? Gazdic? Hendricks? Arco? Lander? Hell yes there is room for Smitty: fourth line minutes and lots of PK time!!

My guess is MacT is giving him a shove out of the door. Another mistake for MacTavish this year which includes ditching Hemsky for nothing and watching him light it up in Ottawa while he gets minutes with good players.

With Smyth retiring and Hemsky receiving his freedom, the last link to the 2006 playoff run will be gone. Twitter also mentioned Smyth is the last active player from the Stars-Oilers playoff series in 1997. That is amazing.

From the 1994 draft, only Alfredsson and Elias have more points than Ryan. Another amazing stat!

Smyth has a pretty good resume: Captain Canada; winning gold at the world junior, world championships, and the Olympics. The only thing missing is the damn Stanley Cup. I really wished he had won it with the Oilers (or any team). He's the type of player and person who should have a Stanley Cup.

Memories - I don't remember when he became my favourite player but he was until February 27, 2007. I was angry at both Lowe and Smyth for letting a small amount of money get in the way of signing a contract extension.

I never thought we would see him in Oilers colours again. Then rumours started before the NHL draft in 2011 that Ryan Smyth wanted to return to the Oilers or Alberta. Tambellini almost screwed up that deal but a few days after the draft, Ryan Smyth was an Oiler again and all was right with the world.

My first Oilers jersey was Tikkanen: a xmas gift when I was a teenager. The first jersey I ever purchased was Ryan Smyth and that is the one I will be wearing on Saturday night as we say goodbye to a great player. He didn't have the best skill but man he was a fighter. He fought for every inch on that ice; played the tough minutes; took so much abuse in front of the net. No one plays like Ryan Smyth.

I grew up in Manitoba and didn't go to many games. I was at the playoff games in 1990 and a couple preseason games in Winnipeg where none of the good players showed up. My first great memory of Ryan Smyth came in 2001 when I made my boyfriend visit Edmonton for some playoff action instead of a golfing trip! The Oilers lost of course to the Dallas Stars but it was a helleva game and they lost by one goal.

I moved to Edmonton in 2003 and was lucky enough to attend the Heritage Classic outdoor game. I was more focused on finally seeing Gretzky in person but always remember Smyth in that game.

I became a season ticket holder in 2005 just in time for the magical run to the Stanley Cup final. One game away from getting Smitty his Stanley Cup. I was gutted that he never won a Cup.

On Saturday night, we hope to see one more powerplay goal for Ryan. He is currently tied with Glenn Anderson for most powerplay goals. Just one more for the fans, Ryan. After this year, the fans need something to cheer for that is not related to draft positioning.

I hope to see the Smitty more time!!

I hope Ryan will be wearing the C for the first and last time. He is the unofficial Captain of any team he plays on.

The tears will be flowing on Saturday night.

Ryan Smyth looking deep into our souls! 94 Forever


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