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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80