SUN Hockey Pool

Knee-jerk reaction

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

According to Ryan Smyth, one knee-jerk reaction doesn't deserve another.

So he won't be out for revenge tonight when the Oilers play Colorado.

The last time the teams met, of course, Smyth scored both goals in a 2-1 win and had to be carted off the ice following an ill-fated attempt at a hat trick.

But the Oilers winger, who was lucky to escape with a charley horse after Avs defenceman John-Michael Liles stuck out his knee in the final moments of the Nov. 13 game, says there are no hard feelings.

"I don't hold any grudges,'' said Smyth, who didn't miss a game because of the incident. "He's not that type of player.''

With the Avs net empty, Smyth chipped the puck past Liles at the Oilers line and was trying to step around him to cash in on the empty net goal. Liles, desperate to break up the play, stuck a leg out to trip him up.

Liles apologized in a text message that he sent to former Michigan State teammate Shawn Horcoff, who then relayed it Smyth.

That was good enough for 94.

"Even when Rick Tocchet hit my knee (tearing his MCL eight years ago), I don't believe guys intend on going out there and taking guys knees out,'' said Smyth, who probably didn't sustain a more serious injury because of the brace he wears from the Tocchet hit. "I think it was just a reaction thing. Especially with that type of player.''

POULIOT GETS THE CALL: With Hemsky on the shelf for the near future, the Oilers called up centre Marc-Antoine Pouliot from Wilkes-Barre of the AHL.

Pouliot, Edmonton's first round pick (22nd overall) in 2003, very nearly made the Oilers in training camp and after a brief letdown following his demotion (one point in his first five games), he has 17 points in his last 13 starts.

"He's been playing really well,'' said Craig MacTavish, who is a firm believer in letting rookies learn how to be pros in the minors before they get a chance up here. "This proves over and over again that it's important they develop at that level and they start to excel at that level.

"You have to be patient with the young players. You can't force-feed a player ice time and expect him to be an NHL player. He has to go down there and has to deal with the disappointment, he has to get his game together and start playing well and Pouliot has done that.

"He's playing consistently well, racking up points and it's time for him to get a look at this level.''

Pouliot might step in between Toby Petersen and Petr Sykora, but MacTavish hasn't decided on his lines yet.

GREAT ... BUT: Oilers defenceman Jason Smith had a career high 11 blocked shots against Anaheim, which is a pretty nice stat.

Kind of.

"It's great that Jason had 11 blocks,'' said head coach Craig MacTavish. "But it's unfortunate we spent all that time in our end.''


Photos