<
>

Oilers' Smyth removes coin from center ice

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Hours before Wednesday's Game 5, a do-or-die game for the Edmonton Oilers, there was a bit of intrigue after the team's morning skate.

Forward Ryan Smyth started chipping away at center ice and removed something from the ice.

"I don't know what it was, obviously it was a coin," Smyth told reporters after practice. "I guess it was an American loonie or an American dollar. I don't know if it was good luck for them or what, but it wasn't in very deep so I was scared the boys were going to trip over it. So … got it out."

It was not immediately known what kind of coin it was. It is also unknown whether the coin had been under the ice since the start of the Stanley Cup finals or whether it had been placed there in between the series appearances in Raleigh.

But when word got out that the coin was removed from the ice, RBC equipment workers went out to center ice, drilled a hole and placed the coin back into the ice.

The Hurricanes players and coaches were not available for comment as they practiced first Wednesday since they are the home team. The Canes lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1, and could win their first Cup tonight.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish didn't offer up much on Smyth and the coin.

"I don't know, I am not going to get into that right now," MacTavish said. "As Ryan is prone to do, he doesn't miss a lot out there. He surveys every inch of the ice and he did that today.

"Whether he found a nickel or a loonie or whatever, I don't know."

The coin karma began at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, where Canadian icemaker Trent Evans planted a one-dollar coin at center ice of the E-Center. Both the men's and women's Canadian hockey teams went on to win the gold medal. The loonie is now displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

The Tampa Bay Lightning created their own version of the good luck charm as then-Zamboni operator Ryan Welty took a miniature pewter Zamboni key chain charm and buried it at center ice in the St. Pete Times Forum in January 2004. The Lightning went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Whether or not the charm was placed there for luck or not, Smyth was asked if he thought he was trying to get luck back on the Oilers' side.

"That would be nice," Smyth said. "We want to get ourselves back in the series and the only way we can do that is if we win tonight and go on from there."