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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Across North America, Islanders earn raves for bringing Ryan Smyth to Long Island

The backpage of Newsday and a piece of the front was just the start.

The Islanders' acquisition of Ryan Smyth from Edmonton was the talk of hockey in both countries. Here's what the hockey world was saying about Ryan Smyth becoming a New York Islander.

ALLAN MUIR, Sports Illustrated: "The consensus heading into the deadline was that if the Isles were going to be active today, it would have involved the sale of impending UFA Jason Blake. But to add Smyth to their lineup instead? Wow. This easily qualifies as the most stunning deal of the day. Smyth ranks as the most significant addition in the East and gives the Islanders a much better shot of grabbing one of the final playoff spots."

GREG LOGAN, Newsday: "The headline on The Sports Network Web site from Canada said: 'The Unspeakable Happens.' But from the Islanders' side of the border, the headline announcing their trade yesterday with Edmonton for All-Star forward Ryan Smyth could have been: 'The Unimaginable Happens.'"

KARA YORIO, The Sporting News: "This deal is Snow's way of saying, 'Here you go, boys; it's in your hands now. I give you a player who can help get you there and take you somewhere once you get there.' That somewhere is, of course, the playoffs. This deadline-beating trade is a real winner for the Islanders and pure agony for the Oilers. Smyth is a veteran, a leader and a playoff-tested producer. He couldn't get a contract done with Edmonton, so the Oilers cut their losses on at the deadline. It's an excellent first trade deadline for Snow, a last-minute splash that hit like a cannonball."

PETER BOTTE, NY Daily News: "There's no 'I' in team, and there's never been one in Ryan Smyth. That's the type of impact player the Islanders sought at yesterday's trade deadline, and that's the one bold rookie GM Garth Snow acquired in a last-minute deal before the Isles continued rolling with a 6-5 OT victory over Philadelphia."

AL STRACHAN, Toronto Sun: "It is a move than no one in the hockey world anticipated. Smyth was a full-blooded Oiler. His first appearance in the public eye came during the training camp for the 1984 Canada Cup when Glenn Anderson, then of the Oilers, backing out of the arena parking lot in Smyth's home town of Banff, Alberta, ran over Smyth and broke his leg. He was drafted by the Oilers, had played for them for 12 years and was widely considered to be the heart and soul of the team. But his acquisition by the Islanders gives them the kind of gritty forward that they will need if they are to progress in the playoffs."

MARK HERRMANN, Newsday: "The Islanders proved they are smart and mature enough to hang with the big boys. The Islanders will take their chances at competing for a playoff spot, making a run in the postseason and signing Smyth, the All-Star forward they acquired yesterday from the Edmonton Oilers. It was a gutsy deal, and worth it. These Islanders earned it. Coach Ted Nolan earned it by making a lot out of a little, the players earned it by convincing management to add rather than subtract¦Garth Snow earned it by pulling off the trade, not all that long after he was a punchline in a summer of burlesque. It seems like decades ago when Smith was dumped after 40 days by owner Charles Wang and Snow made the big leap from backup goalie to general manager. Give that man a diploma."

DAMIEN COX, Toronto Star: "After months of gradually building a competitive team with a series of smaller moves, it was Snow, the most inexperienced member of the league's GM fraternity, who completed a Hail Mary pass on NHL trade deadline day¦In the end a greenhorn GM with a masters degree in administration from the University of Maine made the biggest splash and turned the Islanders into a team to watch again."

KEN WARREN, Ottawa Citizen: "It remains to be seen if the addition of Smyth will be enough to lift the Islanders into the playoffs, but there's no question they made the boldest move among Eastern Conference teams on trade deadline day. Smyth is a 12-year veteran, a front-line player with no shortage of experience in the playoffs and on the international stage, and the type of player who can make the difference in the playoffs -- or in leading a team into the postseason."

WES GOLDSTEIN, CBS Sportsline: "The Islanders have been charging toward a playoff berth of late, and are in a much better spot now that Smyth is board. Rookie GM Garth Snow has made a couple of other deals in the run-up to the deadline getting Marc-Andre Bergeron, a defenseman with a big shot from the point, and Richard Zednik, a veteran forward with scoring skills, but Smyth is a coup. Few players get to the net like he does, and even less have his kind of hands from that area. It's going to make a big difference for an Islanders power play that is 26th in the league."

KEVIN DUPONT, Boston Globe: "Smyth won't bring a Cup parade back to the Nassau Coliseum parking lot, but his acquisition will be enough for the Isles to nose their way back into the playoffs. For a club that has failed to make the postseason in eight of the previous 11 seasons, that may be enough for some fans of the faded Islander dynasty to dust off their old Drive For Five' bumper stickers and pull their Battlin' Billy Smith sweaters out of the trunk."

WAYNE GRETZKY, Coyotes coach: "Ryan plays the game the way it's supposed to be played -- with a great deal of class. Not the best or most talented player in the game ... not the hardest shot or the best skater, kind of like I was in a way, but Ryan finds ways to get things done because of his work ethic. That's what I admire most about him."


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