Edmonton ice declining?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

Moments after his colossal whiff on Thursday - failing to score on an empty net breakaway from two feet out - Patrik Stefan and a handful of his Dallas Stars teammates were complaining about the ice.

Now, players from Dallas complaining about your ice is like polar bears complaining about your weather, but they're not the first ones to suggest the surface at Rexall has been declining for years.

It doesn't let Stefan off the hook - from two feet out you should be able to score on a gravel road with a curling broom, but even the Oilers will tell you that the once-legendary ice is nowhere near as good as it used to be.

"Not even close,'' said Shawn Horcoff. "I hate saying that, but it's not very good at all. It's been like that for a few years now. There's a lot of better ice surfaces in the league, definitely."

They're not sure why, but it doesn't hold up at all.

"We talk all the time, but they can't get it (right),'' said Horcoff. "It's actually been pretty poor. Every year it just seems to get (worse)."

Ryan Smyth doesn't care much for it, either.

"The ice isn't very good,"he said. "It was usually the best ice in the league. I was really shocked. A lot of snow, a lot of ruts. I guess it's not cold enough in Edmonton."

The miracle finish almost didn't happen, though, because Smyth, who set up Ales Hemsky for the winner, was about to smash his stick in disgust when Stefan missed the net and the puck came sailing his way.

"It crossed my mind to break my stick because it was weak anyway. Thank God I didn't."

The wild ending had the divisional rival Canucks choking in disbelief.

"I went from being pretty excited to see them losing to a little disappointed that they got a point," said Brendan Morrison.

"It was crazy,'' added Robert Luongo. "Things like that don't happen very often, but when they do you kind of scratch your head for a while.

"The only thing you can really do is laugh it off."


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