The big surprise coming out of the Edmonton Oilers' morning skate is that forward Ryan Smyth will be a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game against the Dallas Stars.
Smyth, second all-time on the Oilers' list of games played (864) and fifth in goals (285), has two points in 12 games, and has 22 penalty minutes in his past four, including three minor penalties Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His ice time also has gone down; he's played fewer than 15 minutes in three of the past four, including 11:25 on Sunday.
The 36-year-old, who has spent 14 of his 18 NHL seasons with the Oilers, chose not to talk to reporters after the team's morning skate.
Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said sitting Smyth out was an "extremely difficult" decision, but one he feels is best for the team ahead of Tuesday's game.
"The decisions I need to make, that are my responsibility, are the ones I believe are best for the team on a given day," he said. "Whether people are going to like it or not, or whether I'm popular or not is not the driving force."