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Smith's California-Bound and Ready for NHL Debut

Wednesday, 11.16.2011 / 2:06 AM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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Brendan Smith is anxious to make his NHL debut. But will it come this week in California? That's the $64,000 question. (Photo by Rena Laverty)
After Tuesday’s morning skate at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, defenseman Brendan Smith characterized the last two days with the Red Wings as an audition.

“Kind of like training camp, show what I got,” Smith said before the Wings’ 2-1 loss to the Blues.

With the injury to defenseman Ian White (fractured cheekbone) last weekend, Smith was recalled from Grand Rapids, which was an ideal time for him to serve the last of an eight-game NHL suspension, which he did Tuesday night.

The question before the Wings set-off on a seven-day trip Monday afternoon was would Smith stay with the team for the duration, or would he be returned at some point to the Griffins?

The question was answered Tuesday night, well, sort of.

Without knowing how Niklas Kronwall will fare from a first-period hit-from-behind that he took from the Blues’ Chris Stewart, Smith’s presence is insurance should Kronwall not be able to play Thursday in San Jose.

Coach Mike Babcock told the media immediately following Tuesday’s game that he “had a few minutes to think” about Smith’s travel itinerary.

Well moments later, Smith boarded Red Bird III and was California-bound with the rest of the Wings. Detroit also plays Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, and Sunday evening in Anaheim.
 
It’s no guarantee that Smith will make his NHL debut in the next three games, nor is it assured that he will be with the team for the rest of the seven-day trip. But at least the suspension is over, he said, and he can begin concentrating on making his debut.

“Finally, to get this out of the way, I can get my sights set to maybe playing an NHL game, my first game,” Smith said. “But we'll see how that goes.

“I'm excited that I'm still coming up and seeing some of the boys. It's been a long time, just bag skating here after the stuff and doing the fundamental stuff instead of getting my sights set on playing my first NHL game.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
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12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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