Sakic grins 'n' bears it

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

What, me worry?

For the average player, a 10-game goal-less drought means a lot of anxious days and sleepless nights. So you'd think a Hall of Famer like Joe Sakic would be going out of his mind after his slump hit double digits. Think again. The Avs captain has been around long enough to know beating yourself up doesn't work, so he was grinning and bearing it as he brought one of the longest dry spells of his career to Rexall Place last night.

"It's always tough, but there's nothing you can do about it," he said. "It always bothers you when you're going through it, but when you've been through it before you know it's going to turn around. You just have to go out and play. Work hard, do your best."

Sakic is still a long way from his personal worst, 18 games, and head coach Joel Quenneville doesn't think he'll even get close to that mark.

"All scorers go through stretches where the puck isn't going in for them," he said. "But they know to keep being patient in their game, knowing it's going to come around. I think Joe has gone through stretches where the puck didn't go in for him. But he's not that far away."

WHAT'S IN A NUMBER?

Even though he started it with his hot streak, Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon doesn't want to get caught up the Edmonton's goalie controversy.

"It's not about being No.1 or No. 2," he said, adding these things can change in a hurry. "If someone is playing good, that's how it's going to be. He's going to play more. In a month or a week, you never know, Rolie is going to play more than me."

SMID SETTLING IN

From being cut in training camp to averaging 21 minutes a game, Ladislav Smid is slowly rediscovering his form.His ice time has been on the rise and his plus-minus was a respectable minus-1 going into last night.

"I feel more confident than when I came here,"he said. "I lost my confidence at the beginning of the season and now I'm getting it back a little."

Like so many players before him, he's discovering the sophomore jinx is for real.

"The second year is tougher, bigger expectations. It's tougher mentally, but now I feel a little better. I'm back on the team, trying to do my best."


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