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Brendan Smith’s NHL career will start with a suspension

Whoops... still learning

Much had been made this summer about Brendan Smith potentially making the Detroit Red Wings’ NHL roster after only one (injury-shortened) season in the AHL. He’s as highly touted a prospect the Wings have had in nearly a decade; coupled with the fact that there was a bit of turnover on the blue line, there might be a place for him in the bigs.

Things haven’t gone quite according to plan for young Mr. Smith — appearing to be over-thinking and underplaying. He’s seemed out-matched on most nights, and — despite the clear promise he’s shown — he’s not quite ready to make that jump and another season in Grand Rapids should do wonders for his game. Rest assured, he’ll be a Red Wing.  Just not in October.

Things went from bad to worse on Wednesday night. At the 5:26 mark of the third period, with the game recently tied at three by Chicago’s Ben Smith, Brendan Smith laid an absolutely vicious hit to the head of his aforementioned Smith counterpart. Ben Smith laid on the ice for a few moments, and needed help getting to his feet and walking down the tunnel.

Smith, the Red Wing, was give a five minute major and a game misconduct for a hit that certainly caught the attention of new discipline czar Brendan Shanahan. Even though Shanahan is doing a fantastic job and has been as transparent as possible, it’s difficult to predict what kind of suspension Brendan Smith is in for — but one thing is for certain: there’s no way he’ll play for the Red Wings again anytime soon.

There are three exhibition games left, and nearly all of the suspensions handed out so far have been for the remainder of the pre-season (and a few egregious ones have earned a few regulation games in addition). Smith hadn’t played well enough to even be considered for a roster spot — and, frankly, may have played his way out of being the top call-up this season — and it’s fair to assume that the Wings would rather he stay in Grand Rapids, play big minutes, and prepare for a chance to be a regular a year from now. No sense in calling up a guy to be the 7th defenseman when a veteran like Doug Janik can fill that role.

So, Brendan Smith’s NHL career starts with a whimper — instead of the roar many of us were expecting. He’ll certainly be suspended for his hit and will be forced to serve supplemental discipline before even dressing for a regular season game in the big leagues.

Stay tuned for details.

Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images

12 thoughts on “Brendan Smith’s NHL career will start with a suspension”

  1. supplemental discipline such as having to sit in the locker room while Nick Lidstrom gives him a disappointed look complete with head shakes and sighs for 5 minutes?  That would set anyone straight…

    1. Can you imagine? Brendan Shanahan says “I’ve decided he’ll receive no punishment… aside from getting a firm talking-to by Nick Lidstrom, who will require the youngster to come to the Lidstrom house so that it can continue all night, concluding with a ‘I thought you were better than that, Brendan.'”

    1. Sorry, boss. I know you had high hopes for him this season, but he’s just not there yet. No shame in that — he’s a young’n and he’ll have his chance. And hopefully he keeps his arms down for that. 

  2. how can you say his nhl career starts with a whimper?   it still hasn’t even started yet…there’s still a chance that he starts his NHL career with a roar next year, or even down the road sometime with injuries like Ericsson did a few years back….just a setback

    1. I say that because the very first thing that will happen to him that involves the National Hockey League regular season is a suspension handed down. That’s not at all how he wanted it to go, I’m sure. Hence, whimper. 

  3. Looked like Brendan would have had him clean shoulder-to-shoulder if Ben hadn’t changed trajectory. That’s not to give Brendan a pass—he had time to adjust. Just speaks to Brendan’s youthful carelessneess. He seems to play less than thoughtfully a lot. Still has a lot of maturing to do.

    How does his suspension, if any, get handled? Can the Wings hold on to him to start the season and get it out of the way then or will it have to be counted during a future call-up or when he’s really made the team?

    1. I was going to spend some time today researching that. Because, if memory serves correctly, the AHL honors NHL suspensions — holding players out for an equal number of games. However, that can’t be the end of the story, because NHL teams would demote their suspended players for two or three or four games (or whatever) just to have them serve their suspensions there instead of in the NHL.

      However, that WOULD have the same effect on an NHL-caliber player: they’re not in the NHL team’s lineup. So I doubt it’s that easy, but I’ll look into it. 

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