SUN Hockey Pool

Smyth's elbow a major surprise

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:36 PM ET

EDMONTON - It wasn’t the way Ryan Smyth envisioned his first game back with the Edmonton Oilers.

A five-minute elbowing penalty with four and-a-half minutes left in the game forced Smyth to watch in agony as his team tried to hang on to earn at least a point Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Oilers did one better, killing off the major, which extended into overtime, then winning the game in a shootout.

“I didn’t think I was going to get a penalty, I was trying to get out of the way,” said Smyth, who caught Chris Kunitz in the head with his elbow. “I thought he was charging at me and I tried to sneak out of the way and I guess my arm was up. The initial cut, was that my stick came down and hit him when he was on the ice. By no means it was intentional.

“I thought it would have been two. Or maybe four because they thought he was cut. But I didn’t think it would be five. I don’t know if I’ve ever taking a five-minute elbowing major.”

Smyth was assessed the major when he got his arm up as Kunitz was coming in to finish a check.

As the Pittsburgh Penguins forward went down, Smyth then whacked Kunitz in the face with his stick trying to step over him.

Despite the major and the consequent game misconduct that came with it, Smyth doesn’t expect a call from league disciplinary boss Brendan Shanahan.

“I wouldn’t think so,” Smyth said. “I saw the replay and it didn’t look too severe. I was trying to get out of the way. It was unintentional, I was just trying to slip by and carry on with the play.”

Regardless, the night would have had a very different feel to it had the Penguins been able to capitalize on the power play opportunity.

“I thought out PK was excellent, just doing the little things, reading off everybody,” Smyth said. “Killing that big one sure relieved me, that’s for sure when I was sitting back in here watching it. That’s a big boost for our hockey club.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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