|Brendan Smith is happy to finally serve the last of his eight-games suspension, which he will do Tuesday in St. Louis. (Photo by Bill Roose)|
“It feels like I’m getting out of prison, finally,” Smith told reporters following Monday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings’ defensive prospect hasn’t played a single second of regular-season hockey in the NHL, but he was recalled from Grand Rapids Monday after Ian White suffered a fractured cheekbone last Saturday evening.
Smith traveled with the Wings to St. Louis where they will face the Blues at Scottrade Center Tuesday night. However, Smith will sit out the game – the last of his league sentence.
“I’m glad to get this last one out of the way, it’s seems forever,” said Smith, who leads the Griffins’ defensemen with five assists in 11 games. “It’s good to get this last one done. I thought it might be until after Christmas, so this is good to get it out of the way.”
Besides White, the Wings also practiced without defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who is expected to play against the Blues.
Without White, who is expected to miss between 3-7 games, Jonathan Ericsson has been moved up to the top defensive pairing where he will play on the right side of Nicklas Lidstrom. The two have played sparingly together on special teams, but not a lot at even-strength.
“I feel a little bit more comfortable on the left side because I have more forehand inside, but I've been playing right side with Nick on the penalty kill the first 15 games,” said Ericsson, who has an assist and a plus-3 rating. “I'm a little used to it in the defensive zone. I'm sure I'm going to get used to it.”