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Brendan Smith Goes From 4th Line Forward To 1st Pair Defenseman

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings have lost defenseman Jonathan Ericsson for at least the remainder of the regular season.

The club announced Wednesday that Ericsson will miss four-to-six weeks after undergoing successful surgery on his broken finger. It was needed to stabilize the fracture and repair a partially torn tendon....

Smith played forward for the first two periods in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Toronto before moving back to defense in the third, after Ericsson was injured.

“He’s just got to compete hard and make good decisions with the puck,” Babcock said. “Smitty’s got the competitive nature you need, he’s got the skating you need, the skill you need. His decision-making with the puck gets him in trouble at times and his decision-making being active, so those are things you grow with, you become a better player.

“Do more by doing less, make the simple play, don’t force things. Lots of shifts are 50-50, nothing happens.”

Babcock said he’ll keep the Danny DeKeyser-Kyle Quincey pairing intact.

The third pairing would be Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl.

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Comments

SYF's avatar

It was a less than one game experiment; it was a two-period experiment.  From what I’ve seen of him in the game last night (and admittedly only the second period), I thought he did fairly well and drew a boarding penalty against Gleason.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/19/14 at 04:16 PM ET

Paul's avatar

SYF, not pointing out Smith, headline reflects the crazy season it has been.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/19/14 at 04:18 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

A whipping post on every d-pair and two on the 3rd pair.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 03/19/14 at 04:28 PM ET

SYF's avatar

SYF, not pointing out Smith, headline reflects the crazy season it has been.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/19/14 at 05:18 PM ET


Aaah….

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/19/14 at 04:31 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

oh sh*t. the left side will be open now.poor jimmah.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 03/19/14 at 04:37 PM ET

Avatar

You know, if Detroit makes the playoffs in spite of all of this stuff… that would be one of the top 2 or 3 regular season team accomplishments I’ve ever seen, dating back to the early 80’s.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/19/14 at 04:54 PM ET

perfection's avatar

yeah, that’s how I’ve been trying to look at this…

with each injury, earning a playoff spot becomes all the more glorious (I try to ignore that the playoffs are all the less likely with each injury as well).

but it’s true, the fact that we are where we are even now, still with a shot is kind of remarkable. It’s just next man in, over and over and over. Babs is milking all he can from what he’s got. We are for the most part competing with every team we play. Even the Hawks game had moments where we looked like we could actually beat them. Guys keep dropping and yet we keep lingering by that wildcard spot. I don’t love our chances but I kind of like them. We definitely have a shot. Toronto has seemed just volatile enough all year that a collapse by them at the end wouldn’t be shocking.

Not only would making the playoffs be an incredible accomplishment, but we would then have a swell of pretty damn good players (who will be rusty but also fresh after not having to endure this final push for the playoffs… which has become essentially just MORE playoffs) coming in and injecting us with all sorts of options. I really think nobody would want to face us first round. We just have to get there first. Winning this next game, a game we probably should lose, would be a real nice start.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/19/14 at 05:33 PM ET

Avatar

We are for the most part competing with every team we play.

That’s something which could be repeated every day and I still don’t think it would be getting enough notice.

For all that some here like to rip Babcock and second-guess every single decision he makes, holy cow is what has gone on this year a gigantic testament to what an amazing coach he is.

Ottawa freaking quit.  Vancouver freaking quit.  Detroit has never quit.  The pile of twined-together detritus they cobble together for a lineup might get beat (a lot), but they are back and playing hard the next night.

Detroit shouldn’t be remotely close to in this.  Their roster the past two months has been just about indistinguishable from Buffalo’s, for crying out loud… but they are still hanging in.

Detroit looks like Rocky Balboa’s face in Rocky IV right now… beaten to a mush but still standing up.  Barely.

Let’s see how these last couple rounds go.  If you love the Wings because you love hockey you’re loving this.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/19/14 at 06:25 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Grab the cheese, Mr Smith. Sadly (or not) you may still be the DRW defenseman with the most potential.

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/19/14 at 07:27 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Brendan Smith: 1st pairing d-man.

Shoot me now.

Posted by Primis on 03/19/14 at 08:11 PM ET

Primis's avatar

But hey at least we got that depth at Center, right guys?

Posted by Primis on 03/19/14 at 08:11 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

Smith makes some pretty boneheaded passes and turnovers but I’m betting all of you said the same things at one time about Ericsson.

Defensemen take much longer than forwards to adapt and improve.  Just look at top draft picks like Hedman, Pietrangelo, etc..  Those guys were high picks and highly skilled.  Smith is a much bigger project.

His mistakes are magnified more because of how weak the Wings D is.  I think we all were hoping Smith would save us but he needs more time to learn and adjust.

If you look close there are flashes of great skill and once he puts it together he will be good for us.

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 03/19/14 at 08:40 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

For all that some here like to rip Babcock and second-guess every single decision he makes, holy cow is what has gone on this year a gigantic testament to what an amazing coach he is.

Ottawa freaking quit.  Vancouver freaking quit.  Detroit has never quit.  The pile of twined-together detritus they cobble together for a lineup might get beat (a lot), but they are back and playing hard the next night.

Detroit shouldn’t be remotely close to in this.  Their roster the past two months has been just about indistinguishable from Buffalo’s, for crying out loud… but they are still hanging in.

Detroit looks like Rocky Balboa’s face in Rocky IV right now… beaten to a mush but still standing up.  Barely.

Let’s see how these last couple rounds go.  If you love the Wings because you love hockey you’re loving this.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/19/14 at 07:25 PM ET

Glad to say I’m with you on this one. LGRW

Posted by EDJ on 03/19/14 at 11:14 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

The third pairing would be Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl.

So they go from 7 defensemen last game to 4 defensemen for 55 minutes of next game. Nice.

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/20/14 at 01:24 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Smith makes some pretty boneheaded passes and turnovers but I’m betting all of you said the same things at one time about Ericsson.

Yep, about every 2nd or 3rd game this season! Same with Kronwall, maybe more in his case.

But at $4mln a season for the Big Rig, you can’t complain with his production and/or play too much, frankly, its not his fault Hollad has not added a true #1/#2 dman to put him on the 2nd pairing where he belongs and would excel.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 03/20/14 at 08:21 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

So the question is…. who’s the newest Grand Rapids Griffin to make their NHL Debut tonight? .  Someone has to replace the forward spot Smith vacated.

Wings should start that promotion, every home game in March, we debut a new rookie, the 1st 10,000 fans get a rookie card.

What’s the deal with Samuelsuck and Cleary? As much as we all hated them being part of this roster, it would probably be nice to have one of them suit up tonight eh?

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 03/20/14 at 08:24 AM ET

Avatar

Someone has to replace the forward spot Smith vacated.

Pulkkinen.

it would probably be nice to have one of them suit up tonight eh?

Um, no.

Posted by Garth on 03/20/14 at 11:44 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.