Smyth will stay away during lockout

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Even if the NHL season is cancelled, you won't find Ryan Smyth in Edmonton Road Runners silks on game night. In a luxury box? Yes.

In the line-up? Not likely.

"Nothing against them, but probably not," Smyth said yesterday when asked if he'd consider an AHL stint. "We're a union and I believe strongly we have to stick together."

Smyth, who has a suite at Rexall Place and has been a regular at Road Runners games this season, wants to get back playing as much as any member of the locked out NHLPA, but not if it means playing for the Oilers AHL affiliate.

Cheering for the team, like tonight when the Syracuse Crunch come calling, is one thing. Playing with a team owned by the Oilers and putting fans in the stands and money in the pockets of a team ownership that's locked him out is another.

"They're affiliated," Smyth said. "I believe the AHL is a good league, but they're affiliated with a team we're sort of going against. It's a unique situation here.

"I can understand the younger guys, but we're doing this for the younger guys, too. We're a union, and we're doing this for the future. I guess everybody had their own opinion."

Smyth declined comment on the decision by Raffi Torres, who falls outside the bounds of an NHL player on an entry-level contract, to sign an AHL deal. He'll only speak for himself.

"I don't think the NHLPA would say it's OK to play in the AHL," Smyth said of a scenario in which the NHL season was cancelled. "We're trying to stick together as a union.

"If the season is ended, I've got some options. I'd probably wait, though. I'd be up for charity games and stuff like that. I think that would be a great idea."

AROUND THE RINK: Torres will skate again today but isn't expected in the lineup tonight.


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