Babcock defends Smith; young defenseman won’t let critics faze him

CHICAGO – Wings defenseman Brendan Smith isn’t going to let his critics faze him one bit.

All of social media was a buzz after Detroit’s loss in Game 1 to the Chicago Blackhawks and much of the finger pointing was directed the rookie blue liner.

“I think a few buddies told me it was all over Twitter,” Smith said Friday. “It’s somebodies opinion about it. I just put that behind myself and come out and play.”

His coach was quick to defend his young player.

“I heard all the stuff, I heard the emotion from some of our staff, too,” Mike Babcock said. “I didn’t see it like that. I saw a young guy trying to make a bunch of plays and no one there to accept the pass at the other end. So what I did today with Smitty, I showed him a bunch of good plays and I said, ‘Let me decide and you decide, nobody else decides.’”

TV analysts began piling on Smith during the game.

“I don’t think so, actually,” Smith said when asked if that was fair. “I talked to coach about it where there’s a thing where my speed will get me back to the puck. So I have to make better plays, obviously. It’s one of the things I want to do better at. But I don’t think that’s a fair assessment.

“There were a lot of good plays I felt that I made and there are some things that I have to build on,” Smith added. “Coach and I went over some things this morning and it didn’t come off like that. Coach said, ‘I watched the game without the announcers and it was a totally different thing. Just take it for how you play and build from the good things that you did.’”

Statistic wise Smith’s numbers were good, finishing a plus-1 with three blocked shots, two hits and two shots on goal.

“I thought Smitty fit in perfect,” Babcock said. “This is kind of the way I look at this situation. Smitty’s played 48 games in the NHL in the two-pair. So the number 3-4 pair, the two-pair. So I look at (Jonathan Ericsson). Big E played in the 5-hole for the Red Wings for seven or six years. I don’t even know why we’re talking about.”

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