DETROIT -- Two inches lower and they'd have been scraping Jason Smith off the ice.
Instead, all he has to show for Montreal defenceman Mark Streit's erratic slap shot is a crack in the foam of his helmet and a mouse on his forehead.
"I saw it at just the last second and I got my head down a little bit,'' said Smith, who crumpled to the Bell Centre ice when Streit misfired the rubber bullet at his noggin Tuesday. "It hit me pretty hard, stunned me, I guess. The puck was really moving. I was just happy it hit me in the helmet. It was going for my face.''
His lid saved him from a world of hurt. "I put my hand up there, and there was no blood, so I figured I was OK.''
Smith says he's lucky he wasn't wearing one of those flimsy old Jofas that Wayne Gretzky used to wear, or he might still be lying on the ice. "I probably wouldn't have survived,'' he chuckled. "I'd be a carcass at the Bell Centre.''
The ironic part is that Smith wasn't even really in front of the net when he got dinged. He was way off to the side, but Streit ripped a puck that wasn't sitting flat and lost control.
"It was probably going four or five feet wide of the net,'' said Smith. "That's what happens when you one-time it.'' - TYCHKOWSKI
IT'S RETRO TIME
The Oilers will wear retro jerseys, featuring the blue with orange and white trim of the 1980s teams, for three dates at Rexall Place this season. Fans will get a glance at the old school look Feb. 9 against Chicago, Feb. 27 against Phoenix and March 17 against St. Louis.
MOREAU STARTS REHAB: It's just one week today since Ethan Moreau had surgery to repair his dislocated right shoulder, but he's already started the initial stages of his rehab with Dr. Dave Magee at the University of Alberta. "It feels great," Moreau said yesterday. "I'm getting the arm moving a bit and doing some light resistance stuff. It actually feels very good compared to the other times I've done this."
Moreau expects to be out of the lineup until late March.