SUN Hockey Pool

Smid can't escape

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

DALLAS -- Ladislav Smid thought he'd escaped the curse of the Oilers defencemen - a contagious infirmity that's taken down Matt Greene, Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios, Joni Pitkanen and Mathieu Roy.

Think again.

"I hurt my knee a little bit, but I don't think it's going to be the biggest problem, my ankle is worse," Smid said yesterday, after hobbling out of the Oilers dressing room on crutches. "I think it's sprained. We'll see. It's just too early to say how long."

A fresh new twist on the injury front, Smid hurt himself in practice, slamming into end boards after getting tied up with Ethan Moreau, who escaped any damage.

"I just lost my balance a little bit and fell down," said Smid, who was writhing on the ice in severe pain.

"It was full speed against the boards and I left my leg behind me. Ethan came in behind me and pushed me a little bit. It looks bad, but we'll see."

"We got tangled up," said Moreau. "I don't know what happened. It didn't look good. We kind of fell right at the wrong spot."

Head coach Craig MacTavish says they'll take a look at things this morning and see where they stand.

"Kenny said the knee was still tight and so was the ankle - that's generally a good sign," said MacTavish. "But there's a lot of pain in the ankle and some pain in the knee, too. We just have to pack it in some ice and see how it responds."

Roy, who'd been out with a sore sternum, is back at practice and ready to go.

PISANI COMING ON:

After a 15-game scoreless drought Fernando Pisani has four goals in his last seven games and three goals in his last four.

"It's confidence, you can see it in his game," said MacTavish. "A week and a half ago it was quite the opposite, he was having a difficult time making any plays. He got a couple of goals and now he's really confident. When you're struggling the game is the toughest thing in the world to figure out.

"Then, when you get out of (the funk), the game just flows."

Pisani admits it feels like a switch has been flicked somewhere.

"It's hard to say why, but you get one and everything seems to kind of fall into place," he said.

"The puck just seems to come off your stick better. You're moving the puck. Your feet feel good. Everything feels good when you have confidence."

STARS STRUCK:

After a win in San Jose to start the trip, the Oilers found themselves right back in the playoff mix. They were six points out of a playoff spot with 23 games to go. A win over the Canucks would have pulled them to within three points of ninth place Vancouver.

But back-to-back back-breaking losses in Nashville and Vancouver sucked a lot of the energy out of the dressing room.

"Yeah we started out on the road well and we expected more," said MacTavish.

"We played well enough in both those games to get a split. It's painful at this point when you don't get what you deserve. It's tough to swallow when you played pretty well and get nothing to show for it. It's tough, but that's hockey."

All they can do is reload and try to win the next one.

"Our mindset here is we get the game Friday and we look at the schedule," said MacTavish.

"We've been down this road before.

"We win Friday and all of a sudden we've got the focus on the five game home stand to get us back. The schedule is really in our favour after Friday."


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