SUN Hockey Pool

Ryan Smyth turns 38, but remains focused on staying competitive

Ryan Smyth leaves the ice following practice Friday morning. (David Bloom, QMI Agency)

Ryan Smyth leaves the ice following practice Friday morning. (David Bloom, QMI Agency)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:44 PM ET

Ryan Smyth is quick to point out that 38 is just a number.

He’s right, it just happens to be a very large number when we’re talking athletes and birthdays.

But for a guy who made his NHL debut when the Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers were around, and 19-year-old Darnell Nurse wasn’t yet, Smyth still has a little game left.

His role has changed, from central figure on the Edmonton vower play to third-line grinder, but 1,349 regular season and playoff games later, he’s running point-for-point with the likes of Nail Yakupov, who was one year old when Smyth crashed his first NHL crease, and 24-year-old Sam Gagner.

“I’m just thankful and blessed to be playing this long,” said the former Olympic gold medallist, who celebrated his birthday Friday with a Team Canada win over the United States. “I’ve experienced a lot in this game.”


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