SUN Hockey Pool

Smyth: 'I'm staying put'

New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (R) stops a shot by Edmonton Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth...

New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (R) stops a shot by Edmonton Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth in the second period of their NHL hockey game in Uniondale, New York Dec. 31, 2011. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:30 PM ET

EDMONTON - Ryan Smyth doesn't want to leave, and Steve Tambellini doesn't want to trade him, but in the fog of trade deadline rumour and paranoia, messages get crossed and nobody sleeps easy.

So Smyth and Tambellini eliminated all the middlemen Tuesday, sitting down to look each other in the eye and lock down his future.

"I'm staying put," said the 35-year-old winger, after the two parties agreed that he's not going to be leaving Edmonton on or before Feb. 27.

Each side actually said as much during separate media scrums Tuesday morning, but in answering a barrage of vague and hypothetical questions, their answers almost sounded like the exit door was open a crack.

It's not, and they sat down face to face to make sure of it.

"A lot of things were up in the air," said Smyth. "Then we got back here (Rexall Place from practice at Millennium) and he wanted to chat, clear the air, settle everything. I'm staying put, this is where my family and I call home.

"It's a nice feeling to hear that he wasn't interested in moving me. It's nice to know they're interested in keeping me around."

Smyth and Tambellini are now focused on working out a contract for next season.

"I've love to sign an extension at some point," said Smyth. "We'll see what happens."

The news that Smyth is staying is a body blow for a couple of contending teams that were very interested in adding him to their Cup run. The Detroit Red Wings, who love experienced players who go hard to the net, were said to be very interested.

"It's very flattering to hear my name floating around to teams that are making a push for it," said Smyth. "But this is home, this is where my family and I came back to and we feel blessed to be part of the organization and the community."

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


Photos