Now that the game against the Blue Jackets is complete, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before – an Instant Analysis! I’ve decided to review the play of Brendan Smith. Since he seems to be the number one prospect in the Wings system, I think we should pay some attention to him. Let’s see how did tonight, shall we?
A few notes before we begin (also known as me writing this at 6:36pm, a half hour before the game starts) – Smith has played in 3 NHL games, all near the beginning of the season. He played in the AHL all of last season and most of last season. Babcock loves him and wanted him to be in the NHL all season. Enough of the fluff. How did Mr. Smith perform? See below for my (notes that I managed to turn into sentences somehow) details…and maybe a few other tidbits I feel like mentioning!
First Period: Smith’s first shift is playing the right side along side Kindl. Short shift as Columbus takes a slashing penalty. Hmm..no significant power play time. Hudler, Kindl, Kronwall, and White received the majority of the time on the point. Let’s see if that continues. (FRANZEN GOT A GOAL!!) Nice play by Smith to use his speed and draw a penalty. However, he still has not has any regular power play time. I do not agree with this. Oh well. Good overall period by our boy Smith. Seems calm with the puck and is making good decisions in both zones. He’s been paired with Kindl and they’re doing pretty well together. Only 7 seconds of special teams time at the end of the power play. We’ll see at the beginning of the second if he gets out there for some PK action.
Second Period: Nope. Kronwall/Stuart/White/Janik looks to be the main PK guys on defense tonight. Okay, now White is in the box…and nope. Kindl is out there on the PK. Pretty solid in the second. No huge mistakes or turnovers that I see. Whoa, what a shift by Smith along with Kronwall, Fil, and Bertuzzi on the 4 on 4. Smith had a chance to shoot from around the hash marks but didn’t pull the trigger. Next time. And that brings us to the end on the second. Once again, pretty solid outing so far from Mr. Smith. Almost 10 minutes of ice through two. Let’s get on to the third!
Third Period: Hmm. Two shorthanded breakaways (one goal) and Hudler, not Smith, was playing the point on both. For any new readers of this blog since I started writing, my feelings on playing a forward on the point during a power play is this: DON’T EFFING DO IT. Okay, back to Smith, who hasn’t played a shift yet in the 7 or so minutes we’ve played in the third. He finally gets his first shift about 9 minutes into the third. (eleventy billion Red Wings goals later) Smith is now getting some regular ice time now that the game is out of reach. He looks fine out there. He’s been steady and has done what the Wings probably have asked of him – play it safe and just clear the puck. Yay it’s over! 5-2 Wings final.
Overall: 13:15 of ice time, which includes some 24 seconds of power play time (he came on with a few seconds left a couple of times). Like I said earlier, he played pretty conservatively tonight. He did not hurt the Wings out there and he looked like he belonged. Granted, Columbus isn’t much better than an AHL team, so it was a good transition in case he needs to play more games in the NHL before the playoffs. I would have liked to see him on the power play, since Hudler is a joke on the point (NOT Hudler’s fault – I blame Babcock for this). Smith has a cannon of a shot, and given time to use it, that could make the angels sing. Maybe next time.