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Principe's Blog: Super Smytty

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Smyth celebrates his second-period goal vs. St. Louis with thrilled teammate Ryan Jones on Oct. 30, 2011 (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club).

It's Halloween night and a night for kids to get dressed up. In Edmonton youngsters will be safely roaming the streets in their favorite costumes. I'll be out with my own three (zombie, smurf and Luigi) but I'm guessing I'll run into some kids dressed up as hockey players. If I do there might be a Taylor Hall or a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; kids loves the NHL 'kids' but I suggest there may be a few that dress up as Ryan Smyth.

Why not considering the kind of start he's had with Edmonton? You'll need a straight stick, a mullet, maybe attach a net to yourself and be the first one out Halloweening and the last one to go in just like Smyth does when he's practicing.

It's been quite a return for Ryan Smyth to Edmonton. I don't think anyone could have imagined it would go so well so fast for him and the team. The Oilers are looking down at way more teams than up and Smyth is a big reason for that.

I knew he would provide work ethic, experience and leadership but I didn't know he would provide so many goals and points so early into the season. Nugent-Hopkins is tops on the team with 11 points, followed by Smyth and Jordan Eberle at 10 then Taylor Hall with 9 points. Let's see which one of these doesn't fit.

18-year-old,19-year-old, 21-year-old and 35-year-old atop the Oilers leaderboard.

Ryan Smyth's return really is a nice story for Edmonton. Who can forget his departure? February 27, 2007: the night was dedicated to Mark Messier, the day to Ryan Smyth. Negotiations were ongoing that day and it seemed like the deal was going to get done. It didn't. A game of contract chicken resulted in Smyth being dealt to the New York Islanders.

Being dealt was difficult but saying goodbye brought tears that flowed freely. Smyth wasn't trying to be tough or act tough that would have been too difficult for a man who couldn't believe what had just happened to him.

Whenever I would run into Ryan it was always like seeing an old friend. You could see that little extra sparkle in his eye when the topic turned to Edmonton. The city, the people, the players. He always wanted to find out who was doing what and there was never a disparaging word. Instead he often would say, as Edmonton struggled through difficult times, that they would get through it and that things would get better. It was almost his way of showing that while he was no longer an Oiler he was still a fan of the Oilers.

Thanks to this past summer's trade with LA now once again he can be both. There aren't many stories of players spending there entire careers with the same team like, for example, Steve Yzerman did with Detroit. However, Ryan Smyth still has a chance to do something very special for him and the fans and that's end his career in the same place it started.


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