Forget about the 20 goals Ryan Smyth could inject into the Edmonton Oilers lineup this season and let’s not think, for the moment, about which up and coming left-winger will lose some minutes here and there, so a 35-year-old on the downswing can finish his career in the place it began.
We can mullet over later.
Ryan Smyth coming back to Edmonton is about so much more than that for the Oilers.
You see, if you don’t live here you might not realize that Smyth is to Oilers fans what Doug Gilmour is to Leafs fans.
Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and all the greats whose numbers hang in the rafters here, have nearly all moved on to live somewhere else. But like Kevin Lowe, Smyth is the rare piece of Edmonton’s hockey past who appears to be happy to grow old here, the way so many of the old Canadiens have in Montreal. The way Daniel Alfredsson likely will in Ottawa and Stan Smyl in Vancouver.
Edmonton had more Hall of Fame players in the past 30 years than anyone else, and watched them all relocate. Smyth represents one, historic bone thrown at Oilers fans who know well the reasons the Lauren Prongers of the world prefer to be elsewhere.
I teach High School. Our school board is in financial trouble, and schools are having to make some tough budget choices. I received word on Friday that I was being surplussed (still under contract with the district, but most likely being transferred to another school). It’s based solely on seniority (I’m only in year 4), which means that it’s not personal, but I love my school and my students and I’m really sad to be leaving. I’ve told the kids I’m currently teaching, but most of the students in the school don’t know yet.
Today, the perfect situation arose. I was in the cafeteria at lunch, talking to a couple of my students and the principal. One of my (favourite) grade 12 boys said “Mr. [Principal], did you know that Ms. [Teacher] is the best teacher in the school? You have to promise that you’ll never get rid of her or let her leave.”