Tag Archives: brendan smith

For a seventh year in a row the Wings select a forward … Evgeny Svechnikov

The Detroit Red Wings kept their trend of picking forwards with their first pick in the NHL Entry Draft, Friday.

Detroit took 6-foot-2 Evgeny Svechnikov, 18, with the 19th overall selection in the first round.

It’s the seventh year in a row the Wings have selected a forward with their first pick, the last three prior to this year were centers.

The last defenseman Detroit selected in the first round was Brendan Smith in 2007, getting him 27th overall.

A native of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, Svechnikov, has twice represented Russia at the Under-18 World Junior Championship.

Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting said of Svechnikov: “He proved to be a very skilled skater, strong on the puck and a player capable of doing a lot of things well. He plays a physical game, doesn’t back away, is aggressive on the forecheck and finishes checks.”

His point per game average of 0.95 was second-best among draft eligible QMJHL forwards, only Timo Meier (1.48) was better.

Svechnikov, whose final draft ranking was 17th, finished second among Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rookies with 78 points (32 goals, 46 assists) in 55 games.

Svechnikov, who was born on Halloween, is considered a power forward that can beat you physically. He also has enough skill and creativity offensively to beat defenders one-on-one.

His size, strength and skill allows him to compete against a variety of opponents.

His game has been compared by scouts to Max Pacioretty.

He’s the first Russian the Wings have taken in the first round since defenseman Max Kuznetsov was claimed 26th overall in 1995.

The final six rounds of the draft will take place Saturday.

The Wings don’t have a second round picks season, which they dealt away to Dallas for Erik Cole at the trade deadline last year.

The depth on the blue line in the organization is lacking with their top four prospects – Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul – will no longer be waiver-exempt after this season.

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Normally very talkative Smith very tight lipped about his status for Game 3 despite Babcock announcing he was on a local radio station

DETROIT >> Brendan Smith isn’t usually one to shy away from speaking his mind in the Wings’ locker room.

But that wasn’t the issue Monday afternoon.

After Wings coach Mike Babcock announced Monday morning on a local radio show that Smith would return to the lineup Tuesday, Smith was asked how he felt about getting back in.

Here’s how the exchange went.

Q: What’s it been like being out?

Smith: What’s it been like?

Q: Disappointing to be scratched?

Smith: Absolutely. Just be ready when called upon.

Q: What have you noticed watching the first two games of the series?

Smith: I think coach came up with a game plan and we’re going to try and stick with that. I think that’s the plan.

Q: Were you told this morning you were going in?

Smith: Nope. Like you guys are the ones telling me so I don’t know.

Q: Babcock mentioned that on the radio.

Smith: OK. Like I said I haven’t been told so I don’t know. I’m just going to be ready when they call me.

Q: What do you need to do to keep in lineup, no turnovers, playing with the puck more?

Smith: Our team likes playing with the puck. That’s kind of our emphasis. We don’t want to turn it over.

Smith: Anybody else?

Q: Been tough to watch games?

Smith: Everybody’s trying to get in. Anyone that’s a Black Ace is trying to get in, whoever’s a Black Ace is trying to play. I think that’s a big thing. All I do is listen to our systems and when I get the call I’ll be able to get in there and play as hard as I can.

Q: You haven’t heard until now, surprised?

Smith: I’m just going to wait until I actually find out. When I find out for sure I’m in the lineup and I’m out there then I’ll be happy and play as hard as I can.

Q: After giving up a lot of shots in Game 1 the team did a better job against that in Game 2, notice why?

Smith: I didn’t play. I think in any game we’re focusing on boxing out and playing hard in front of the net. If you want to ask those questions it would more evident with some of the guys that played the games. I thought there were sometimes when we lacked coverage, but so did their team. That’s just how the game goes, but like I said you should go ask some of the other guys. But what I saw we played well in different areas.

Q: How do you deal with being a healthy scratch?

Smith: Stay positive, that’s the biggest thing and just keep working hard. If you guys saw any of the practices I was working hard and bag skating myself or getting Tony (Granato) to help me out working on things. That was kind of the biggest thing.

Q: Excited to get in?

Smith: Like I said I’m not sure I am, people telling me that I am, but I’ve had that happen before. If I have the chance to play I’ll be happy and I’ll just answer the bell because that’s what I do.

Smith has been a healthy scratch since he gloved the puck intentionally while on the bench against Montreal in the second to last regular season game.

“Smitty can really skate and competes,” said Babcock, who didn’t want to get into the reasoning behind Smith being a healthy scratch. “I don’t think we’re skating good enough and I don’t think we’re competing hard enough. So there are two things.”

Smith will be paired with Marek Zidlicky.

“Yeah for sure,” Justin Abdelkader said when asked if Smith was bothered by sitting out. “I mean this time of year everyone wants to be in the lineup and everyone in here is competitive and fighting for not only a spot in the lineup but ice time.

“You could tell it was getting at him, but he stayed positive and worked hard,” Abdelkader continued. “He’s going to be ready. He’s going to provide some physicality for us. He’s a big defenseman who takes the body, makes it hard for opponents to get to the front of the net. I think he’ll be a big boost, he’s going to come out ready to go.”

Abdelkader, Smith in Game 3; Babcock: “We have a lot more to give.”

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena.

There will be two changes made to the Wings’ lineup for Game 3, Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Smith will both make their series debuts.

“I just felt (Ryan) Callahan, (Alex) Killorn and (Steven) Stamkos to me got a free ride in their building just for the fact that (Tyler) Johnson was playing against Pav or we had Glennie against them and they were trying hard to keep Glennie away from guys so Stamkos played against Sheahan and to me that didn’t work out very good for us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It was too much free ice.”

Abdelkader, who injured his right hand when he blocked the shot of Minnesota’s Marco Scandella on April 4, will skate with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist.

“I think my game’s really suited for the playoffs and hopefully I can help the team out,” Abdelkader said. “Be physical, be on the forecheck, be around the net and just watching the last two games it’s been tough. I’m itching to get out there and I’m excited.”

Abdelkader had a career-high 23 goals and 44 points this season.

“Putting Z back in the middle and giving him a winger, a guy that can skate and work for them helps,” Babcock said. “Abby’s a big body. He’s an everydayer. He competes hard like (Darren) Helm.

“The think I would say when you evaluate our team, we have a lot more to give,” Babcock continued. “We’re two games in and we’re 1-1, we have a lot more to give. We need everyone on deck. We can’t be one on or one off. We need everyone onboard. Abby’s a competitor. He’s a guy that’s good at the net. He plays hard. He competes hard. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.”

Pavel Datsyuk will center Helm and Tomas Tatar.

As for Smith, who has been a healthy scratch ever since he gloved the puck intentionally from the bench against Montreal, he gives the team more speed.

“Smitty can really skate and competes,” said Babcock, who didn’t want to get into the reasoning behind Smith being a healthy scratch. “I don’t think we’re skating good enough and I don’t think we’re competing hard enough. So there are two things.”

Alexey Marchenko, Stephen Weiss, Teemu Pulkkinen and Daniel Cleary will be healthy scratches.

Wings aren’t working on a deal to obtain Phaneuf, but that could change as deadline approaches

DETROIT >> As Ken Holland said Sunday, “If there’s a player that can upgrade us, whether it’s up front or on defense we’ll do something.”

That someone could be Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf.

A source said that they’re not in on a deal to bring Phaneuf to Detroit.

But that could all change as the 3 p.m. trade deadline approaches when teams may decide at the last minute to meet demands on deals.

The main sticking point is his salary.

Phaneuf, who would be that impact defenseman the Wings would make a move to obtain, has six years remaining on a $49 million contract that he signed in the middle of last season.

If the Wings can’t get Toronto to eat $2 million annual on his deal, they could possibly part with a pair of Toronto natives – Brendan Smith and Stephen Weiss – and a first round pick.

Weiss however has a no-movement clause in his deal. He’s got three more years left on a deal with an average salary cap hit of $4.9 million.

Smith, who makes close $1.3 million this season, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Phaneuf, 29, has three goals, 20 assists and has a minus-eight rating in 51 games this season with Toronto.

He’s a left-handed shot and would provide another physical element along the blue line.

Another option, who could cost less, is New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky. He’s a power-play specialist and more importantly a right-handed shot.

Zidlicky is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Ouellet only change to Wings lineup tonight against Florida

DETROIT >> Quick update from the Red Wings’ morning skate prior to the hosting the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena.

Defenseman Xavier Ouellet will replace Danny DeKeyser in the lineup.

Ouellet made the two and a half hour trip from Grand Rapids to Detroit on Thursday.

“I think everybody’s been through this, especially in this organization, just like Nyquist, Sheahan, Mrazek, Tatar, even Smitty have been up and down, up and down for almost two years before being here for regular,” Ouellet said. “I’m just going through what everyone else has been through. I understand that. They support me.”

Ouellet has appeared in five games this season, recently filling in for an injured Brendan Smith, totaling a goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating.

“I felt good last time I was here, went down and had a couple good games,” Ouellet said. “I’m back here. I’ve got to be consistent and play the same game I did when I was here last time.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock said that Ouellet will be the only change from the lineup he used in Wednesday’s shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Abdelkader out Tuesday as Wings look to win a fifth in a row

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena.

Justin Abdelkader was the only player missing from practice. He injured his left shoulder in the second period of Detroit’s 5-3 win over Vancouver Sunday.

He’s out for Tuesday’s home game against the Florida Panthers and most likely out the rest of the week.

“He penalty kills, blocks shots, he plays hard on offense,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He understands you score goals by being at the net so he goes to the net. He’s an important player for us. He’s a guy that works hard every day in my opinion. He brings most every day, skates good, gets in on the forecheck so we need guys like that.”

The Wings take a season-high four-game winning streak against the Panthers.

“We’re scoring them in bunches, which I don’t think we normally do,” Brendan Smith said. “So when we do that, I think we’re pretty sound defensively. Once we put pucks in the net, we’re winning games. Other that and our power play scoring, we’re just playing well. Our leaders are playing well and we’re just following that so I think that’s why we’ve had this streak.”

Heading into play Monday Detroit was a point behind Tampa Bay and Montreal for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

“You’re always trying to get better,” Babcock said. “The object is to win the games and that’s what we’re doing. We want to be better defensively and offensively and way harder on both ends in front of both nets. We got a bunch of young guys that have a lot of growth opportunity in front of them if they really embrace it and work every day. That’s that challenge for us as a coaching staff and them as players.”

Brendan Smith not ready to return from hand infection after fight with Columbus’ Nick Foligno

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings aren’t known for having players that fight on their roster.

And after what happened to Brendan Smith, fighting may be forbidden from this point on for any player in that locker room.

Smith returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last six days with an infection in his left hand from a fight he had with Columbus’ Nick Foligno in the third period of a Wings’ 5-0 win.

“I think I hit Foligno in the mouth and apparently there’s a lot of bacteria in the mouth so I ended up getting infected that way,” Smith said. “It was just a fluke incident. Sometimes it can get cut open. A lot of times nothing will happen but it was just unlucky that time.”

The fight was the Wings’ only one of the season.

Smith had surgery to clean out the wound and is on antibiotics.

“It was pretty bad,” said Smith, who did finish the game. “It wasn’t until the morning. It kind of woke me up and it was swollen and throbbing a little bit.”
Detroit is behind Chicago, Florida and New Jersey for fewest fighting majors in the league. Each of those teams have three.

“You can’t really, it’s so split-second kind of thing but I think at the end of the day, you just play the game hard,” Smith said when asked if he will think twice before dropping the gloves again. “If something happens, you answer the bell. Obviously you want to be aware of what you’re doing; you want to make sure you’re not going to get yourself hurt. You make sure that you’re not at the end of your shift when you’re tired so there’s a chance you’ll get hurt. These are all things that you’ve got to take into effect. It’s never going to stop me from being physical or anything.”

Smith is eligible to come off short-term injured reserve Wednesday, but it’s more likely he’ll miss his fourth straight game.

“I think I’ve been playing pretty well and all of a sudden a fluke incident like that gets me hurt,” Smith said. “It’s frustrating. But the other thing is it could be a lot worse. If we didn’t catch it and I played another game and got more stuff from my glove, it could have been a lot worse. I could have been out for a month. You can look at it as a blessing in disguise that our docs figured it out quick. It was one of those things, instead of taking one step forward, two steps back, we did the opposite. I’m pretty happy with how everything’s gone and obviously it is frustrating but it looks like I’ll be back soon as possible.”