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Smith goes back to school

Red Wings' defenseman will spend summer studying at University of Wisconsin

Thursday, 05.1.2014 / 6:14 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Smith goes back to school
Playing in his second Stanley Cup playoffs, Brendan Smith was held off the score sheet against the Boston Bruins, who won the series in five games. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Knowing that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, Brendan Smith has decided to go back to school during what will be a long offseason.

The Red Wings’ defenseman plans to return to the University of Wisconsin to continue working on his Bachelor’s degree in sociology.

“I have to finish my classes and I know my mom is really pushing for that,” Smith said. “It’s the best decision to chip away.”

Some credits in his major can be satisfied through online courses, but Smith has to finish a few prerequisites, which require classroom attendance, so he plans to stay on campus this summer.

“I’m not going to take a full course load but I’ll be taking courses this summer and that’s the biggest thing,” said Smith, who believes he's 37 credits shy of graduating. “Then I’ll be working out there and staying there with Reilly when he’s done.”

Reilly Smith’s Boston Bruins are getting ready for their Round 2 series against the Montreal Canadiens.

A former star for the Badgers and the Red Wings’ 2007 first-round draft pick, Brendan Smith left Madison, Wis., following his junior season to sign an NHL contract.

“It was three years ago. So it’s been quite some time (since he last attended classes),” Smith said. “Mom kind of got off my back about it because I was just starting to play in the NHL but once I got that under my belt she wanted me to get back at it.”

The desire to return to the classroom is fueled by Smith’s post-playing career ambition.

“Something that I would be good at is being a college coach and you need a degree for that, so that’s a big motivator for me,” Smith said. “There’s life after hockey and that’s something that everybody has to know. It would be nice to do something after your career. … We always want to stay in the hockey world and for me I think that that would be coaching at the university level.”

A very talented defenseman, Smith saw some growth in his game this season, especially when he was paired with Niklas Kronwall after Jonathan Ericsson underwent season-ending finger surgery in March.

In his first full NHL season, Smith produced five goals and 19 points with a minus-2 rating in 71 regular-season games with the Red Wings.

Brendan Smith
Defense  - DET
Goals: 5 | Assists: 14 | Pts: 19
Shots: 90 | +/-: -2
“I thought I played well,” Smith said. “Even last year I thought I played really well. I think I got a lot of criticism last year, I’m not sure the reason for all of it but I did. I thought I played really well and this year I also played well in the playoffs. I think I somehow have figured out a way to get a little more out of myself for playoff time. I think you have to because everybody bumps their game up and I think I was able to learn that quickly last year with the playoffs.

“I got so many players that I can watch and feed off of and I think I got a lot better like that.”

Smith feels that the experience of facing Stanley Cup contending Chicago and Boston in the last two postseasons will go a long way for him and the rest of the young Red Wings.

“I think it’s going to help us a lot,” Smith said. “We just played, I think, the best team. In my mind it’s Boston and Chicago. I’m not saying that they’re way better than everyone. That’s not want I’m saying. What I’m saying is they have found ways to win. I mean, you see Boston do it, they won the Presidents’ Trophy, they found ways to win. That’s something that we got to see, that we felt first hand, and I think that will help us for the time being for next year and getting ready. I think it’s really big for a lot of the young guys, for myself included. But to get the first taste of what playoff hockey is like and to play against a team that has made it to the playoffs for the last few years, and been to the finals and have been successful, I think that’s something that will be good for all of us.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89