Former Oilers star Ryan Smyth recovering after vicious elbow in senior men's game

Former Oilers star Ryan Smyth recovering after vicious elbow in senior men's game

Ryan Smyth is recovering at home after he was elbowed in the head in a blindside hit during a senior men's hockey game on Saturday.

The former Edmonton Oilers star plays for the Stony Plain Eagles; which are competing in the provincial finals leading to the Allan Cup.

During the first period of Game 1 against the Lacombe Generals, Smyth was coming down on the left wing when he cut across across the slot and released a backhand shot, said Eagles coach Mike Tavaroli.

As the shot went into the net, an opposing player blindsided Smyth, smashing him in the face with a late elbow, Tavaroli said.

"He hurt him. [Smyth] went down. He was on the ice for several minutes and, with the help of the training staff, was able to get up and get off the ice."

Smyth was taken to hospital after the game for tests and to make sure he hadn't suffered a skull fracture, Tavaroli said.

"He received a lot of stitches in his mouth area and was able to go with his family some time in the early morning," he said.

Smyth will be reassessed by doctors Monday and over next few days. But Tavaroli said the prognosis looks good.

"It didn't look good at the time, but that's often the case with head shots," he said.

The opposing player was ejected from the game, he said. 

"My personal feeling, and I know our hockey club's, is that he was targeted by this player and it was a dirty hit and we're hoping and pretty confident the league will do the right thing suspension-wise."

As for playing without Smyth for the rest of the series, Tavaroli said his team will focus their anger on winning the seven-game series.

"He's our captain, our leader. The team will rally around it and pick up the slack."