Smyth takes a puck on jockstrap

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:53 PM ET

PHOENIX -- Ryan Smyth was all smiles yesterday after a noteworthy night in San Jose Thursday.

Smyth's shootout goal stood up as the winner in the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 decision over the Sharks, but that was just the capper.

First, Smyth started the night by stumbling and falling through an open gate during the warm-up. He avoided any damage with that bit of business, but didn't emerge as unscathed during the game when he took a slapshot from Marc-Andre Bergeron in the, ahem, groin.

"It was a weird game," laughed Smyth. "I was waiting to take a shot in the warm-up. I leaned up against the boards and the door opened. I tried to hold myself, but all off a sudden I'm on my ..."

Smyth shook off the puck in the jockstrap, plus having what appeared to be the 3-1 goal waved off by ref Dennis LaRue because of a high stick, to tuck a deft backhand under the crossbar on Vesa Toskala.

"All in a day's work. It was pretty interesting," Smyth mused.

Because he doesn't get credit for the shootout goal, Smyth is sitting with 19 goals. He's been stuck there for five games. He had what he thought was his 20th credited to Bergeron in last Saturday's 5-3 loss to Ottawa at Rexall Place, then had LaRue wave him off.

"The 20th would be nice, but I think things are going pretty good," said Smyth, who has reached or surpassed 20 goals six times already in his career.

LINEN LIFTED: The Coyotes will retire Thomas Steen's No. 25 jersey in a pre-game ceremony tonight, despite the fact the silky Swede never played a single game in the desert.

Then again, that doesn't matter to the Coyotes, who moved from Winnipeg and opened up shop here for the 1996-97 season. Steen played for the Jets, as did Bobby Hull, who has his No. 9 hanging in Glendale Arena.

AROUND THE RINK ... Cory Cross drew some smiles before practice yesterday when he took a quick twirl in full equipment with a figure skating club that was on one of the sheets of ice at the Alltel Ice Den.

A quick pirouette prompted one young lady to ask Cross, "Are you joining our club?"

VROOM: The Barrett-Jackson auto auction, held annually adjacent to the Ice Den, is on right now. The mega-buck collector car showcase, which is telecast on the Speed Channel, attracted at least two Oilers for a look-see. Igor Ulanov and Mike Morrison took it in after practice.


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