Ryan Smyth’s emotional and final NHL game
The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks last night by a score of 5-2. It had little bearing on the NHL season; it was the season finale for both squads, each of whom had long since been eliminated from playoff contention. However, there was one player for whom this night was ever so meaningful.
Oilers forward Ryan Smyth, who had played 19 NHL seasons, 15 with Edmonton, was retiring at the end of the 2013-14 season, making last night’s game his final in the NHL. Though defenseman Andrew Ference has worn the captain’s “C” this year, for the season finale it was given to Smyth (aka Captain Canada). He played over 23 minutes, a season-high for the 38-year-old, and was given a memorable standing ovation from the fans at Rexall Place.
After the game was over, and Smyth named the match’s first star, he gave a final goodbye to the fans- check out the video below for it.
Smyth was selected by Edmonton with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1994 NHL entry draft. His first 51 games, played over two season, were less than memorable, as he only picked up two goals and 11 points in that span. But his first full NHL season, in 1996-97, Smyth broke out, playing all 82 games while notching 39 goals and 61 points. He stayed with Edmonton until the 2006-07 season, when he was dealt to the New York Islanders at the trade deadline. From there he’d bounce around to the Los Angeles Kings, to the Colorado Avalanche, and then finally back to Edmonton in 2011, four years after leaving.
He finished his NHL career with 386 goals and 842 points in 1,270 games played, and tied for the Oilers’ franchise lead with 126 career power-play goals.