The moment we've all been waiting for is finally upon us.
Way back in the 2007 NHL entry draft the Red Wings decided to spend the 27th overall pick on a young defensemen from the St. Micheals Buzzers of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League. That young defenseman was Brendan Smith. The Mimico, Ontario native would go on to spend three seasons at the University of Wisconsin compiling 26 goals and 87 points in 95 games. He led his team to the 2010 Frozen Four in Detroit, MI (fitting, eh?) and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's best player.
A few months after the Frozen Four that year, I debuted the Brendan Smithsonian Institution. A Red Wings' blog that followed the Smith and his rookie season in the AHL. I've interviewed Smith, attempted to start a campaign to get him into the AHL all-star game (which he was selected for by the way), and even wear #2 in my currently playing days. So yeah, you could say I'm a little excited for tonight.
Some people might not think Smith is ready for the big leagues yet, but the kid has the opportunity to make an impact right now. It appears the Mike Babcock and the coaching staff will give Smith the chance to succeed with big time talent around him and against some big time competition. He practiced five-on-five yesterday with Niklas Kronwall and was on the top power play unit with Nicklas Lidstrom. After Tuesday's disastrous power play effort, maybe Smith's youthful enthusiasm and skill could give a boost or some new life into the specialty teams unit.
It's his time to shine. And I, for one, sure as hell hope Smith succeeds with flying colors. Tonight is just the beginning of what us Wings fans hope will be a long, long career for Smith in a Red Wings' sweater. Hopefully he has a great showing tonight and on the California road trip and he makes his home debut next Wednesday. It's the only Wings game I get to attend all season and the Joe better start selling #2 Smith jerseys when I get there.
Get your popcorn ready, ladies and gentlemen. The Brendan Smith Era is about the begin.
Puck drup is just after 10:30p ET.
The Expected Lineup -- UPDATED
Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Justin Abdelkader
Danny Cleary -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Valtteri Filppula
Jiri Hudler -- Darren Helm -- Fabian Brunnstrom
Drew Miller -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom -- Jonathan Ericsson
Niklas Kronwall -- Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl -- Brad Stuart
Jimmy Howard (starting)
Scratches: Patrick Eaves, Mike Commodore
IR: Jan Mursak (ankle), Todd Bertuzzi (ill)
|RED WINGS||HOW THEY MATCH UP||SHARKS|
|2.69 (18th)||Goals Per Game||2.80 (12th)|
|2.19 (5th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.60 (13th)|
|14.3% (T-21st)||Power Play %||21.4% (4th)|
|77.4% (25th)||Penalty Kill %||75.5% (28th)|
|Johan Franzen (9 goals)||Goal Leader||Joe Pavelski (9 goals)|
|Johan Franzen (16 points)||Points Leader||Joe Pavelski (17 points)|
- The Red Wings are 49-22-4-1 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Sharks.
- San Jose is 13-5-0 against Detroit in their last 18 meetings and have outscored the Wings 55-50.
- Detroit was 0-6 on the power play Tuesday and has gone 0-16 in their last three games. Considering the Sharks don't have the best PK unit, it would be nice to take advantage of that and score a few PP goals. With that said, stay out of the box too. Our PK unit isn't that great either and the Sharks power play is pretty, pretty good.
- The Wings are 2-4-0 on the road this season. Meanwhile, San Jose is only 4-3-1 at home and has a better road record at 5-2-0.
- Brendan Smith makes his debut tonight. Did you know that?
Prediction: Red Wings win 4-2. Brendan Smith is your player of the game too. A power play goal and an assist or two.
Let's Go Red Wings.