You sent in the questions and now Ryan Smyth provides the answers. The veteran left wing recently sat down and tackled your questions in the latest edition of “Ask an Av.”What is it like to make a living in the front of the net in today's NHL, and exactly how has it changed from the NHL of a few years ago?
-Joseph from San Jose, Calif.
“Good question Joseph. I don’t want to say it’s not as physical, but it’s not as wrenching on your back as it used to be. You still compete for your territory, but you don’t take as many cross checks to the back as before.”What kind of music do you listen to when you are preparing for a game? And what kind of music do you like in general? Any favorites?
-Tamara from Thornton, Colo.
“I like a mixture of everything. I listen to country and some rock, but as far as getting up for a game, it doesn’t really matter. It’s usually nothing in particular, but I do enjoy the band, Third Day.”
As a long-time Avalanche fan, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having the chance to watch you play every game. I have a lot of respect for your skills and “hockey courage.” Have you ever been part of a team that has had as many long-term injuries to key players as the Avs have had in your two seasons with the team?
-Bill from Littleton, Colo.
“No, I really haven’t. Every team goes through injuries during the season, but as far as losing guys like Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny
or Wojtek Wolski last year in the playoffs, I’ve never seen it. But that’s part of what having depth in your organization is all about. You want to build up your young guys so they can step in when injuries happen.”If you could play with any player from the past, who would it be and why?
-Barb from Denver, Colo.
“That would have to be Wayne Gretzky. Growing up, I obviously realized how good he was and really looked up to him. It would be a treat to play on his line.”Hey Ryan. With all the injuries that have happened to the club, especially the veterans who bring a great amount of leadership, how does your game change and what responsibilities do you have off and on the ice? Thanks!
-Nate from Denver, Colo.
“No one guy can step up and take all the responsibility when you have guys like Joe and Paul out of the lineup. It really takes a committee of guys. Being around as long as I have, you just have to bide time until those guys get back and compete at a high level on a nightly basis. You need to show your work ethic, and hopefully it rubs off on your teammates.”Hi Ryan. If you weren't playing hockey, what would you be doing instead?
-Anna from Broomfield, Colo.
“I’d like to say professional golfer! It’s not as hard on the body!” Why do you give pucks to kids after warm ups at games? We got one last year and were very excited. Thank you!
-Douglas and Michael from Littleton, Colo.
“When I was a kid in Calgary, I watched a guy named Nick Fotiu throw some pucks to some of the kids. I thought if he could do that, why can’t I someday if I make it to the NHL? I take three pucks, because that was my number when I played minor hockey.”Hello Ryan. I always wondered why do you wear #94?
-Jim from Edmonton, Alberta
“1994 was both the year I was drafted and the year that I graduated from high school. I thought it was a nice tribute and stuck with it.”What is your most memorable on-ice moment as an Avalanche player?
-Ashley from Center, Colo.
“That’s a tough one, because there have been some great moments in my time here. Probably scoring the game-winner against Minnesota to go up 2-1 last year in Game 6 of the playoffs. That goal helped to close the series out.”As a winger in the NHL your job is to score goals. Your blade is very straight, which is uncommon among wingers. Why didn't you opt for a more curved blade for wrist shots and slap shots?
-Charles from Barrie, Ontario
“It started with playing street hockey when I was young and then obviously watching Gretzky, who played with a pretty straight stick. I just carried it on from there and never really felt like I needed a curve.”