The heart and soul has returned to Edmonton. The city is full of excitement to welcome home one of its hockey heroes. Or is it? There seems to be mixed reviews of the recent trade which see's Ryan Smyth return to the Edmonton Oilers from L.A. Although the majority of Oiler fans are showcasing positive feedback about Smyth coming back, there is still a few Oiler fanatics that do not see the purpose or point of this transaction. Where does Smyth fit in? I thought we were rebuilding? Wont he just take away a roster spot from a youngster looking to crack the team? Some say Smyth's game is decreasing year to year, that he doesnt have any jump left in his skates, or that its only a matter of time before injuries are a problem for him. At the crisp age of 35 it is no secret that Ryan Smyth's best days are most likely behind him. We also have to remember that Ryan Smyth never was the fastest skater, the biggest body, or the most talented player on the ice. But. One thing Ryan Smyth did have and will continue to have is the passion for the game. The passion for the city of Edmonton and the passion to leave it all out on the ice. Even though the Oilers will not be getting younger by the Smyth trade, they will be getting a whole bunch of experience in which they are lacking at the moment. With young stars in the making like Hall, Eberle, Omark, Paajarvi and now Nugent-Hopkins the Oilers need to surround their young players with veterans like Smyth. Veterans who showcase the heart that it takes to win games down the stretch. Ryan Smyth was known as the heart and soul during his time in Edmonton, this was not just a nickname. This player got down and dirty in front of the opposing net, he took pucks to the face and got right back out on the ice, he helped the Edmonton Oilers reach game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2006. So before some of the Oiler fans out there are quick to criticize Tambellini and the Oilers for bringing in Ryan Smyth they need to think not only what Ryan Smyth did for the Edmonton Oilers but what he still can do for them. Yes, we know Smyth is not going to come in here and score 40 goals, and single handedly help the oilers win the cup next year but just the novelty of having one of most loved players in the history of the Edmonton Oilers organization back in the Blue and Orange is enough of a reason to bring him home. Just imagine now, game one of next seasons home opener....With his first goal of the season...number 94, RYAN SMYTH!!!! The reaction of the crowd alone will make this deal worth it in the end. It is still a mystery where Smyth will be placed in the Oilers lineup, possibly reuniting with the likes of Horcoff and Hemsky, or maybe be placed with a some of the young guys. Its safe to say he will probably be on the 3rd line, but who knows... Whereever he ends up lets all just be happy its in an Oilers uniform.
Until next time,
Vintage Vic Micheals