SUN Hockey Pool

Smid still looking for first goal

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

PHOENIX -- Ladislav Smid has no comeback when his teammates start in on him being the only regular without a goal.

All the Edmonton Oilers rookie defenceman can do is shrug his shoulders and hope one eventually goes in for him.

''I want to score, but when it happens, it happens," Smid said yesterday prior to the Oilers game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

''I try not to think about it. If I was thinking about that I would be a little more nervous. I want to score, but I will wait until it happens."

When the season began, odds were on that Smid would have a goal by now, or at the very least, would have scored before some of the Oilers other offensively-challenged players found the net.

Yet Matt Greene scored a beauty against the Minnesota Wild last week.

Jason Smith, Steve Staios and Daniel Tjarnqvist also have goals.

And when Toby Petersen banked one in off Colorado Avalanche centre Brett McLean on Tuesday, Smid, 20, was left as the only regular without a goal.

''There is no pressure on him to score," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. ''Obviously any offence you can get from the back end is welcome offence.

''But you just have to start with a solid foundation of playing good defence and worry about keeping the puck out of your own net."

So far the opportunities have not come his way.

He doesn't shoot the puck very often and he doesn't log a ton of time on the power play.

But it's the rookie's other attributes that have made him so valuable to the Oilers.

And despite not chipping in offensively, Smid has been impressive this season.

''He hasn't had a lot of chances to score, but that's not part of his game right now," MacTavish said.

''Maybe he'll develop into a guy that can score a little bit."


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