Ugh. I can't believe I'm about to defend Brendan Smith.
First, bottom pair defensemen (and bottom 6 forwards) are almost NEVER the reason for a bad season. The difference in quality between our bottom pair and that of...say...Washington, is marginal. If we don't make the playoffs this year it will be because none of our high end players (aside from Larkin) was comparably better than their counterparts on more successful teams. None of Dats, Z, Tatar, Nyquist, Kronwall, Green, etc. have been as good as they should be.
Secondly, Smith's handpass from the bench. I'm tired of hearing about it. For two years prior to that play, I'd been regularly pointing out that Smith just wasn't very good, and was almost UNIVERSALLY met with opposition. Smith could blow coverages, turn the puck over in the d-zone, make bad pinches, or take untimely penalties and the chorus was generally, "Smitty's good. He's dynamic because of his skating. He's the only guy that will drop the gloves". People loved that dope...inexplicably. Then the handpass happened and all the same people who loved him before, started s***ting on him. But that wasn't his low point. His low point was the previous two years when he regularly sucked and everybody said "Smith's playing pretty good right now, maybe our best defenseman".
Now Smith IS playing pretty good. He's rounding out his game in a way I NEVER thought he would. And people are still talking about that handpass. It was dumb. I agree. But it's far from the worst thing he's done on the ice (not that anybody had bothered to notice before). And he's far from the player he was when he did it. So can we all get back to bitching about Ericsson already?
I completely agree, he messed up when he was off the ice, yet it's brought up more than his plays on ice, which is getting to be annoying.
I'll also say this for smith, the past two years he has been our best if not one of our best defenseman.
I think it's because he always plays at that speed, and his screw ups always happen because he's always thinking&playing at that pace. Then when the playoffs roll around and everyone ramps up to that level, his mistakes happen less and are less costly because everyone else messes up getting used to the flow and our other players are in better positions/moving faster to cover for him.
He's a solid bottom pairing d man, the only thing is we might have better options...
Also, people bitching about Ericsson gets annoying too, we get it, he's not the ideal #2 dman, but he's still a solid top 4 guy...
People talk about him like he's a fringe NHL player just because his contract is a little too long.
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