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Former Oilers star Smyth, back in Edmonton with Colorado, gets standing ovation

NHL.com @NHL

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -Facing his former team for the first time since his trade eight months ago, former Edmonton Oilers star Ryan Smyth had a predictable reaction.

The left wing, now with the Colorado Avalanche, became teary-eyed as he lined up in pre-game ceremonies, watched a 1-minute video tribute of his 11 seasons with Edmonton and received a 30-second standing ovation from the 16,839 fans at Rexall Place.

Smyth kept his head down through most of the video tribute, but skated out to the middle of the rink twice to lift his stick and acknowledge the cheers.

Beside him, players on both benches banged their sticks against the boards in appreciation.

At a news conference Monday, Smyth was asked about the trade to the New York Islanders in February, his tearful goodbye to fans at Edmonton International Airport and how he might react Tuesday.

"I'm sure I'll break down," said Smyth, struggling to keep his emotions in check.

The 31-year-old Alberta native has three goals and three assists with the Avalanche this season after leaving the Islanders in the offseason and signing a five-year, $31.25 million free-agent deal with Colorado.

He had 549 points in 770 regular-season games with the Oilers. He is seventh on the Oilers' career scoring list.

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