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Some of Ryan Smyth’s teammates and Head Coach Dallas Eakins took the time to reflect on 94’s career and presence in the dressing room, today after practice.
“Ryan has been excellent,” the Oilers head coach said. “He’s a pro, he’s somebody that you wish you could extract some of his DNA and inject it into every one of them. I can’t say enough about him as a player but more importantly, as a person.”
“I think it’s just his love of the game,” Hall said of what stuck out the most about Smyth. “He’s a guy that really loved coming to the rink everyday. That may not be a skill by any means but to have that kind of engrained in you, it’s special and it was fun to watch for the last three years.”
Hall says Smyth spoke with the team this morning and dropped some wisdom on the younger players around him.
“He’s brought a lot to our young group. Just him talking to our group this morning, really emphasizing the fact that it’s a privilege to play this game and he just reiterated that it is a lot of fun to play this game and to be a part of the group of guys that we have and day-after-day coming into the rink is truly something you should be grateful for. There’s a lot of things you can take from Smytty, a lot of things he did on the ice so well and in the room as well. He’s just a cheerful guy and a pleasure to be around.”
Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens hasn’t had as much time playing with Smyth as some others on the roster but the Spruce Grove, AB native knows all about the veteran from when he watched him growing up.
“Obviously, he’s a hard-nosed guy,” Scrivens said. “He’s a guy that maybe didn’t have the skill level that some of the other All Stars in the league had and some of the other guys who have played a thousand-plus games. I don’t know how many guys he’s going to toe-drag but he’s scored a heck of a lot more goals than a lot of guys with better skill than him and that’s a compliment to him, that’s not a knock on him.
“I think he embodies what the Edmonton fans like in a hockey player. He’s a never say, ‘quit’, right to the last minute, go to the tough areas, score a goal with your face if you have to type of player and I think that resonates with the people around here. I know for myself personally, when I was growing up with my family, he was a player that we watched as a catalyst. You almost liked watching him get the absolute crap get kicked out of him in front of the net and then watch him get rewarded by it by putting one home.”
Sam Gagner, much like Hall, spoke about Smyth’s passion for the game.
“Having a chance to play a few years with Smytty, you hear so much about him coming into the league and have an amazing amount of respect for him,” the Oilers centre said. “The way he’s kind of treated me as a young guy and taught me how to be a pro and you see the passion he has for the game even now after however many games he’s played. He’s always on the ice first, off last and working to get better and it’s something you can learn from as a teammate. You share in that passion that he has for the game and it’s really infections. He’s had an unbelievable career, he’s got a lot to be proud of an I think one of the biggest ones is the impact he’s had on his teammates and we’re obviously all very proud of him.”
Edmontonoilers.com will carry a press conference live beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Oklahoma City Barons defenceman Brad Hunt has been named a Second Team American Hockey League All Star.
Hunt has enjoyed a career-best season. Through 62 games, the defenceman has scored 49 points (11-38-49) for a franchise record for points by a defenceman. The previous best of 48 was set by Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz last season. Schultz was named the AHL’s Defenceman of the Year for that performance.
Hunt is currently fourth amongst AHL defencemen in scoring.
The blueliner earned his first NHL call up this season, playing three games for Edmonton.
Hunt was also a member of the 2011-12 Chicago Wolves, who were coached by Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish.
Read the Press Release
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned defenceman Darnell Nurse, the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
Nurse finished this season with 50 points (13-37-50) in 64 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. He tied for the team lead in scoring during the playoffs with eight points (3-5-8) in nine games.
Nurse joins the Barons in the thick of a tight AHL playoff race. OKC is currently 7th in the Western Conference with five games remaining in the regular season.
Edmonton Oilers goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit, 21, has been named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team. With the Bakersfield Condors, Brossoit has played in 36 games this season, posting a record of 24-9-2.
Brossoit is tied for first in the ECHL with his 24 wins, while standing at first in shutouts (8), second in goals-against average (2.05) and tied for second in save percentage (.924).
His eight shutouts are tied for an ECHL single-season record and he has been named ECHL Goaltender of the Week three times.
There is no Boyd Gordon on the ice for the start of practice.
The forward lines are as follows:
Ben Scrivens was shaken up after taking a hard shot to the collarbone area but he appears to be okay and has returned to practice.
Scrivens returns to the ice....looks like he'll be ok.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) April 9, 2014
It's just an off-ice workout for the Oilers this morning as the Rexall Place ice has been covered in preparation for a concert.
We'll have interviews with several Oilers shortly, including the NHL's first star of the week Taylor Hall.
A scrappy and heated second period provided a spark for the Edmonton Oilers while it may have doused any momentum the Ducks were trying to create. After Steve Pinizzotto grappled with Matt Beleskey, Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that the Ducks seemed rattled and they even took it out on him.
“I do know it certainly rattled their team,” Eakins said. “They’re a composed group, Anaheim. (Anaheim Head Coach Bruce Boudreau) has done a great job with that team. They’re so composed and then when the first one erupted, it seemed to set them off the tracks a little bit and I thought they got really distracted. I thought that worked in our favour. They were so upset they were even yelling at me which is always great when I didn’t even throw a punch.”
Eakins said it was some of the top players on the Ducks who were talking at the Oilers bench. He also says that second period was yet another bonding moment for the team as they continue to fight for each other.
“Their top guys. I think they thought I sent (Pinizzotto) out there to do that and I would just never do that, especially now. We’re out of it, they’re getting ready for the playoffs, I have nothing but the upmost respect for (Boudreau) and especially (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry those two are two of my favourite players to watch but they were certainly upset by that. So the answer to your question is I thought it worked great in our favour. Not only did I think it took their top guys out of their composed state, but then I thought it was another bonding experience for our guys. They knew they were in the fight together and they were supporting each other again.”
Anaheim defenceman Stephane Robidas also talked about a ‘loss of composure’ in the game.
Several Oilers also talked about the second period and how it helped the Oilers in the game.
“It’s good for us,” Taylor Hall said. “It gets everyone going and it seems to get the crowd going a lot, especially at home. Those guys (Steve Pinizzotto and Matt Hendricks etc.) play hard and they want to defend the teammates that they’re on the ice with and it’s great for us. If we can keep playing tough and keep playing with pride, that’s going to follow along.”