SUN Hockey Pool

What's left to do?

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:35 AM ET

What now? That's the question rink rat Ryan Smyth is asking himself now that he's arrived back in Edmonton with a gold medal from the World Cup in his luggage.

If there's shinny to be played, the Edmonton Oilers forward will usually find it, but with the World Cup done, the NHL in full lockout mode and the hockey clock in Smyth's head telling him it's time to get ready for training camp, there isn't one.

"It's going to be weird," admits Smyth, who touched down at the airport last night. "At this time of year you're usually thinking about getting back at it.

"I've had four weeks of playing and being around the guys with the World Cup. You would think we'd be a step ahead of everybody being a part of that, but now we're out."

Smyth, 28, coming off a roll that's seen him win four straight gold medals as a member of team Canada - at the 2002 Olympics, the World Championship in 2003 and 2004 and in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Finland in Toronto - says he'll take a few days to consider his options now that he's back in town.

"I have no plans right now," Smyth said yesterday before jumping a flight home to Edmonton. "My main goal was to train hard for the World Cup and then be ready for the start of the season.

"The second part of that plan has been put on hold with the lockout, but I'll eventually look at other avenues."

There has been speculation Smyth will sign with the Original Stars Hockey League, but he hasn't even talked to the four-on-four circuit. He could opt to play in Europe, where teammates Mike York, Radek Dvorak, Alexei Semenov, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky will ply their trade until the lockout ends.

Smyth, always the first one on the ice and the last one off it with the Oilers, could simply grab some couch, bounce his daughter on his knee and take it easy at home. Yeah, right.

"I've obviously got a passion for the game," understated Smyth, who has represented Canada in every tournament or championship he's been invited to attend since he was a junior. I think it's going to hit me more and more the longer it goes, but I'll give it some thought and I'll probably find something."

Smyth was a rookie with the Oilers in 1994 the last time the NHL ground to a halt. Back then, he returned to Moose Jaw of the WHL and played 50 games. Suiting up for a few hundred bucks allowance a month in The Jaw instead of $3.55 million with the Oilers, obviously isn't an option this time around.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Smyth said. "I was lucky I could go back to junior. I at least got to play."

Captain Jason Smith, Cory Cross and a handful of other Oilers have been renting ice time around town, so that might have to do for the time being. The next session is this morning. What are the odds Smyth will be on the blades today?

"The problem is I don't have my equipment with me," laughed Smyth. "What time tomorrow?"


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