Found February 01, 2013 on
The Detroit Sports Site:
Recently I wrote that it is Niklas Kronwall’s time to shine now that Nick Lidstrom has hung up the skates, but a long with Kronwall, a younger Red Wings blue liner is coming into his own a little quicker than expected.
Brendan Smith, the highly touted Wisconsin Badger star, got his feet wet briefly last season with the Red Wings, but were not able to see a lot. Back in college, Smith was a high flying offensive defenseman that dominated the WCHA. He led all defensemen in the nation in scoring his junior season with 52 points in 42 games, while becoming a finalist for the Hobey Baker Trophy.
Last year, the Wings gave him a shot, but unfortunately he looked like a middle schoolers on the varsity squad at times. He was sent back down to the Griffins for more maturing and it looks like that time in the AHL paid off. He had a nice season last year with 34 points in 57 games, but was only a plus-two and that likely was the reason that he remained in the AHL for most of the season.
I don’t think there is a more difficult position to be in than as a fringe player on a professional sports team. The uneasiness of not knowing if you are going to dress the next game, if making a mistake and giving up a big play could cost you your job. Smith was in that spot last season and you saw how that changed his play. He now has the luxury and comfort of knowing he has a spot on the bench every single single night.
Which brings me to this season where the seas have parted for Smith. Though Nick Lidstrom’s retirement and Brad Stuart’s move west may not seem like the best thing for Detroit’s fan base, its certainly has given Smith an opportunity to step up and show what he can do.
In Sunday’s game at Chicago, Smith looked like he’d settled into his own and we started to see some of the great things he’s capable of doing. He has the speed to rush the puck and demonstrated it through a couple of nice end-to-end rushes in that game. From Sunday’s game, it looks like Smith has caught up with the pace of NHL play and the game has already slowed a bit for him, and it’s only going to get slower.
Right now, with the lack of top level defenseman on the Red Wings, it looks like players may have to be developed by throwing them into the fire – and for now it looks like that approach is working for Smith. He just needs to get more familiar with his role and having a coach with confidence in him is a huge step.
Smith has the skills to make him a 3-4 defenseman this year. His speed and puck control have gotten him to this point and are the same characteristics that will propel him to a top level defenseman in the NHL. Now it’s time to sit back and watch this talented young player blossom right in front of our eyes.
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St. Louis Blues center David Backes is known as a physical player across the league. A player that plays the game the right way with tenacity, grit and aggression. Backes, the Blues' captain and top-line centerman, played a physical game against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night in a 5-3 loss on the road. Unfortunately, the refs thought Backes may have been too physical...
Henrik Zetterberg scored three goals, and his second assist of the game set up Pavel Datsyuk's tiebreaking goal at 9:38 of third period to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the St. Louis 5-3 on Friday night.
The Blues' four-game winning streak was snapped.
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Chris note: Twig will likely have a reflection on the game as a whole tomorrow morning, but Franklin has another guest post for us on the #1 star of the night, Henrik Zetterberg.
By Franklin Steele:
Henrik Zetterberg was raised for this. At least since he became a Detroit Red Wing.
I can't speak as to what kind of childhood Z had, but I'd assume it was...
Homer! Demolition Man. The Angry Chipmunk. Whatever we use to describe him, it is out of pure admiration. How can you not love the guy who spent his entire career with one team being one of the biggest pains in the neck for opposing goalies/defensemen simply through the art of non-violent resistance? Which is the same art I managed growing up, playing the victim so my 3 older brothers...
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More after the jump:
The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will face off tonight (7 PM, FSD, FS Ohio, 97.1 FM) with the Red Wings hoping to sustain the momentum generated by their 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
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DETROIT (AP) -- Henrik Zetterberg scored three goals, and his second assist of the game set up Pavel Datsyuk's tiebreaking goal at 9:38 of third period to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the St. Louis 5-3 on Friday night.
The Blues' four-game winning streak was snapped.
Zetterberg scored the first two goals and set up Jonathan Ericsson's tying goal early in the third...
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Guest post by Franklin Steele:
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February 1st, 2013
St. Louis Blues (6-1-0, 12 pts) at Detroit Red Wings (3-2-1, 7 pts)
Where/Time: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI — 7:30 pm ET
TV/Radio: NHL Network-US, FS-Detroit / AM 1270 The Ticket
The Red Wings are out to prove that their 6-0 opening night spanking by the Blues was just a fluke. Detroit has a point in each of their last 3 games, going 2-0-1 over the past week...