Found May 28, 2013 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
Detroit Red Wings
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Detroit -- It's not easy being a Red Wings defenseman the year after Nick Lidstrom retires because somehow people expect you to play like he did, which is just not possible.
The reason that Lidstrom was called "The Perfect Human" was because he made mistakes so rarely for two decades that people struggled to recall them.
When rookie Brendan Smith loses Chicago's Michal Handzus at the start of the third period of Game 6 and Handzus ties the game at 2, people get upset.
When Smith is on the ice as Bryan Bickell scores the go-ahead goal five minutes later, people start calling for his head.
There are also times when the Wings are in the offensive zone and the puck hops over Smith's stick into the neutral zone. Of course Lidstrom would have kept the puck in.
But everyone just needs to take a breath and calm down.
Smith is not and is not going to be Lidstrom.
That's no knock on Smith at all.
It's just that unlike the soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Lidstrom, Smith is going to have growing pains. He's going to make mistakes, sometimes glaring ones.
That doesn't mean he's not going to develop into a solid defenseman.
"What I like about him is that he knows that we think hes a good player," Wings coach Mike Babcock said before Game 6. "So when he makes mistakes and you talk to him about it, its not the end of the world. It doesnt just keep vibrating and then he makes another one. Hes been good that way. I really like him. Hes an ultra-competitive guy.
"Smitty, when he makes mistakes, theyre usually mistakes out of trying to make a play versus guys out there hiding and dont want the puck. Hes not one of them. I think hes going to get better and better. I think hes going to support the rush, I think hes going to score like that. I dont see him being a visionary on the blue-line and being the top guy on your power play, but only time will tell."
Babcock has also pointed out that when defenseman Jonathan Ericsson started playing with the Wings, he was in the third pair and was allowed to get better over time. Ericsson also wasn't going up against the other team's top players every game.
Because Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski retired and Brad Stuart returned to San Jose, Smith has been elevated to the second pair in his first full NHL season.
Smith also did not have a training camp because of the lockout.
In 34 regular-season games, Smith had eight assists and was a plus-1. In 13 playoff games, he has two goals, three assists and is a minus-3.
Just for comparison's sake, look at what Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has done this postseason. In 12 games, he has two goals and two assists and is a minus-1.
Not so different from Smith. The difference is that Doughty, despite being several months younger than Smith, has a lot more NHL experience. He's been in the league since he was 18 and won a Stanley Cup last season and an Olympic gold medal (with Babcock as coach) in 2010.
Plus, Doughty was the second overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Smith was selected 27th in the 2007 draft.
Smith's defense partner, Kyle Quincey, 27, understands how difficult it is to learn how to play in the NHL.
"Hes got all of the tools," Quincey said. "Its just the little things that Ive learned over the years that I didnt learn in my first year. It took me six, seven years to learn."
The best teacher is experience.
You can practice all you want and play in playoff games at lower levels but the only way to get better is to play in every situation in the regular season and then in every situation in the grind that is the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"Hes a good skater and likes to carry the puck up the ice and I like to watch him," Quincey said. "Babs gave me the role from Day 1 in training camp to kind of help him come along and its just been fun to watch him develop as a player, and hes going to get better and better.
"I dont think hes anywhere near where he can be."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
As noted in the game-day update thread, Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith didn't make the brightest comments about the liberties the Blackhawks have been taking while speaking to MLive's Ansar Khan after today's morning skate, but Smith has slowly but surely settled down in terms of his on-ice demeanor, playing more consistently and making fewer mistakes while skating...
I agree with Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji's suggestion that Wings fans need not deem Brendan Smith to be the next Jonathan "*******" Ericsson (who, as it turns out, has developed into a pretty solid defenseman, even if it was three or four years later than people like you and me had hoped), but Kyle Quincey's mentee has been on the ice for...Well, the Detroit...
Many of us thought that theyd never make it this far.
In all honesty, most of us believed they wouldnt even make the playoffs, but here they were - one shot, one goal away from making the Western Conference final. It wasnt meant to be.
Detroits season came to an abrupt end Wednesday night in Chicago, as the Wings dropped a 21 overtime decision to the Blackhawks in their winner...
Chicago -- The Red Wings' quest to advance to the Western Conference Finals got a lot more difficult early in the first period of Game 7.
Valtteri Filppula, coming off the ice for a line change at 3:43, was knocked to the ice by Chicago's Andrew Shaw.
Filppula appeared to go off the ice gingerly and headed straight to the dressing room.
CSN's Pat Boyle reported that...
Well this is crappy news with a significant silver lining, per the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Losing Game 5 Saturday was bad enough, but forward Justin Abdelkader received more bad news afterward. His parents' house in Norton Shores, Mich., the house Abdelkader grew up in, suffered damage in an electrical fire Saturday night.
The damage was contained to the detached...
The Detroit Red Wings lost Valtteri Filppula — a clutch Game 7 performer throughout his career — early on Wednesday night against the Blackhawks after he was injured sometime during a first-period shift. Whether or not he tweaked something prior to a confrontation with Chicago’s Andrew Shaw, a slewfoot from the Blackhawks’ forward certainly did not help matters.
The Detroit Red Wings caught an absolutely huge break with under two minutes remaining in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
After Henrik Zetterberg was tripped up leaving the Wings zone by Brandon Saad, Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey went over to Saad and shoved him into the bench. Blackhawks forward Andrew Shawk picked up the puck and passed it to Niklas Hjalmarsson and...
The Detroit Red Wings held a 2-1 lead entering the third period of game six against the Chicago Blackhawks and when they started the third period the wheels fell off the wagon. The Red Wings were down 3-2 when Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik found himself on a breakaway. Red Wings defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo backchecked and took a one-handed swing at Frolik, hitting his stick...
From the NHL's PR department:
BLACKHAWKS, RED WINGS MEET IN GAME 7 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1965
NEW YORK (May 28, 2013) -- For the first time in nearly half a century and just the third time in their 87-year rivalry, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings will contest a Game 7 when the clubsdecide their Western Conference Semifinal Wednesday night in Chicago (8 p...
The Detroit Red Wings will get a second chance to close out the Chicago Blackhawks after a sluggish performance in game five leading to a 4-1 loss and tightening up the series at 3-2 in favor of the Red Wings.
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Matchup: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings
Venue: Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI
Time: 8:00 PM EST...
The Detroit Red Wings face a near-must-win situation as they hope to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks tonight (8 PM EDT, NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, post-game on FSD) and avoid a winner-take-all Game 7 situation on Wednesday evening.
If we are to believe what the Blackhawks' players and coach claimed on Sunday afternoon, the Blackhawks may have "their backs against the wall,"...
1) You have to think the Detroit Red Wings would represent an easy road to the Stanley Cup Finals for the Los Angeles Kings. After the war Detroit's been through, they won't have much to withstand the physicality the Kings bring every night.
That was a clutch performance last night for LA, and of course, a clutch player--one who struggled infinitely in the series--delivered...
From the NHL (and pardon me for saying this, but the Red Wings blogger is posting this in his *#$%@& Red Wings blog):
2013 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE SCENARIOS
NEW YORK (May 28, 2013) – The National Hockey League today announced the schedule scenarios, including the dates, starting times and broadcast information, for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs...
s/t to Jack who posted this gif in the comments of another post. So, do you think that the refs are not calling the obstruction in this series? This is pre-lockout officiating in the NHL. The calls the officials have let go have been pretty obvious. Zetterberg has been in Toews hockey pants all series long.
The Detroit Red Wings don't necessarily have to win Game 6 tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks (8 PM EDT, NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, post-game on Fox Sports Detroit), but between dropping Game 5 in rather dreadful fashion and the fact that the Wings taught the Anaheim Ducks a stiff lesson about the fact that a "winner-take-all Game 7" situation is dangerous (never mind the...