February 15, 2013
Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth hopes to be back in lineup for Staurday

Ryan Smyth has been racking up a bunch of minor penalties in recent games but head coach Ralph Krueger sees it as a team issue. (PERRY NELSON/QMI Agency

It’s ironic that on Valentine’s Day we can use a variation of the oldest break-up line in the book to help digest Ryan Smyth’s recent heartache.

It’s not you, it’s them.

OK, maybe some of the reason Smyth got healthy scratched for the first time since 1999 is on him and those three minors he took against Columbus, but it’s also on a few other guys.

Like Ben Eager, Teemu Hartikainen, Lennart Petrell and even Magnus Paajarvi.

They’re the ones giving Ralph Krueger the kind of options previous Oilers coaches never had.

“The work of our depth wingers, our penalty killers has been outstanding,” Krueger said after practice Thursday at Rexall Place. “That was one of the positives of the Dallas game, it was one of our better contact games. We were hitting, we were a physical presence in the game.

“And also Chris VandeVelde looks as mature as he’s looked up here. When he came into the game in Detroit he had a certain aura about him we hadn’t seen yet.”