SUN Hockey Pool

Smyth looking for scoring consistency

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:25 AM ET

EDMONTON - This isn’t Ryan Smyth’s first rodeo.

Despite having a storied career, the Edmonton Oilers winger has gone through his share of slumps in the past and figures it’s only a matter of time before he works out of his most recent one.

“If you can pinpoint what is going wrong, it would be a lot easier to rectify,” said Smyth. “When it’s not going in, you have to help out in other ways so that we can find ways to win hockey games.

“As a guy that’s been through these types of situation before, you just have to go out, keep practicing and hopefully things will come around. You have to keep working through that. That’s one thing you control is your work ethic.”

Things have dried up for Smyth after getting off to a hot start this season. He hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games and has just three assists in that span.

Those numbers are in sharp contrast to the 12 goals and 12 assists Smyth collected in his first 22 games of the season.

“This game is all about confidence and trying to be consistent,” Smyth said. “That’s the nature of the game, there are some games that are really good and some games that are not good at all. You have to find ways to keep everything on an even keel.”

Smyth’s play was one of the reasons for the Oilers’ success early on this season. Now that he’s struggling, the club is as well.

The veteran, much like his team, does not appear to be getting the bounces and breaks they were during the opening month of the year when they were at the top of the Western Conference standings.

“You have to make your own breaks in this game,” Smyth said. “You have to earn them and get yourself in those positions to give yourself every opportunity to overcome a difficult stretch.”

Having come over by request in a trade for the Los Angeles Kings this summer, few expected to Smyth to put up the same type of offensive numbers he did prior to his teary departure five years ago.

Yet just as it appeared as though he was defying father time at the beginning of the season, it now looks as though Smyth’s age is catching up to him.

“There are times through this last little stretch the I’ve felt really good playing and am just not getting rewarded,” Smyth said. “On the other hand, there have been games where I haven’t felt very good, but you’re chipping in a few goals here and there. It balances itself out at the end of the year. But saying that, we have to find a way to start winning.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


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