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Red Wings Prospect Brendan Smith Also Suspended by the AHL (Updated with Opinions)

AHL Press release:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced the following disciplinary actions:

• Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Zach Sill has been suspended for one preseason game (already served) and one regular-season game as a consequence of a match penalty for an illegal check to the head (AHL Rule 48) in a preseason game at Hershey on Oct. 1.

Sill will miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s game Oct. 8 vs. Hershey.

• Adirondack Phantoms forward Ben Holmstrom has been suspended for two regular-season games as a consequence of his penalty for an illegal check to the head (AHL Rule 48) in a preseason game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Oct. 2.

Holmstrom will miss Adirondack’s games on Oct. 8 vs. Connecticut and Oct. 14 vs. Bridgeport.

• Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith has been ruled ineligible to play in the AHL until Oct. 18, 2011. Smith was suspended by the National Hockey League for the remainder of the preseason plus five regular-season games for an illegal check to the head of an opponent during a game vs. Chicago on Sept. 28. According to the AHL’s by-laws, a player who is under suspension in another league or organization who seeks to play in the AHL while under that suspension will have the relevant disciplinary matter independently reviewed by the President of the American Hockey League, who may in his discretion deem the player ineligible.

Smith’s AHL eligibility does not affect the terms of his NHL suspension.

[Editor's note: looking at the AHL Schedule, this equates to a three-game suspension for Smith.]

Keep reading for my take.

So the AHL's suspension of Brendan Smith means he's ineligible to play until Oct. 18th. It's a distinction that this is not a true three-game ban for Smith. What it does mean is that the Red Wings could call Smith up to start the season and start burning off his five-game suspension now while he's not eligible to be playing in the AHL either. The Red Wings play their 5th NHL game on October 21st against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

I believe this is what the Wings should do. He's going to miss the Griffins' first three games of the season no matter what. Even if you call him up to sit right up until the 18th, you'll have burned off four of the five NHL games he has to sit. If you want to send him back down to start playing at the AHL-level when he's first eligible, then you only have a one-game suspension left when it comes time to use Smith.

I think the organization would be wasting an opportunity to get this out of the way if they were to allow Smith to serve a double-suspension without being able to burn them off at the same pace, like the wording of this ban would let them do.