Smyth ready to lace 'em up

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Captain Canada is in.

Ryan Smyth dropped off a big batch of baby pictures for development at the photo finishers yesterday afternoon, then delivered the news Team Canada GM Steve Tambellini has been waiting for.

After putting his desire to fly the flag again on hold while awaiting the birth of his second child, the Edmonton Oilers' left winger has committed to yet another stint with Team Canada, this time at the World Championships in Austria.

With wife Stacey and daughter Elizabeth, born April 4, back at home and doing well, Smyth dropped off his film and then put in a call to Tambellini, confirming his intention to fill the roster spot the team put aside for him.

"I'm in," Smyth said yesterday before getting on the telephone to Tambellini and making it official. "I'm going to let him know, but I've still got to spend some time at home first. We haven't nailed down a time when I'm going to join the team, but we'll get that figured out."

Smyth, 29, isn't sure if he'll be ready for the start of training camp in Calgary Wednesday, but said he'll definitely be ready by the time the team plays pre-tournament games in Halifax April 20 and Quebec City April 22.

While it's no surprise Smyth wanted to play - he captained the gold-medal Canadians last year, the sixth consecutive year he's answered the call - his participation this time around was a family decision. Stacey, oldest daughter Isabella and Elizabeth will make the trip to Austria.

"Stacey and I talked about it again (Wednesday) and decided," Smyth said. "There's a lot of things to think about when a new baby comes and I didn't want my desire to play to be a burden on her."

Smyth, who earned a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake and also played at the 1995 World Junior Championship in Red Deer, says there's some added incentive to play this time in the wake of the cancellation of the NHL season.

"I've been going pretty strong the last month or so," Smyth said of his conditioning regimen. "With the way things have worked out with the lockout and that, it's been a long year for everybody.

"It's a chance to play for something and to go and blow off some steam, so to speak, with everything that's gone on with the season."


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