Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth focused on staying competitive despite his 38th birthday

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 power 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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