Doesn't it look like Brendan is continuing to significantly grow more and more during these playoff games? He is now almost always joining the rush whenever the opportunity presents, and his stickhandling and speed make him look pretty darn good in hauling it out of the defensive zone, dishing it off or shooting himself, or simply giving the offense another look that they typically don't have from a defenseman. Babs must have given him the green light to do this whenever possible, as they certainly haven't reeled him in, and must be encouraging this big time. Krug does this same stuff consistently for the Bruins. Smith's defense also looks a world better, even though he still gambles big time on occasion, but has made some genuinely high level def. plays that he hadn't done much of previously. A dose of Kronwall sure does wonders! (Now if only Kronner could be cloned, and then paired with Kindl, Quincy, and Lashoff!)
Honestly, he's been looking like a leader out there. When the Wings are hemmed in their own zone, on several occasions Smith has been taking the puck and skating away from trouble himself, instead of passing to someone else and hoping they have a better chance at getting the puck out (which seems to be a problem with our defense as a whole this postseason). On the breakout, as you said, Smith has been joining the rush and looking to make plays, and he's been contributing to our chances in the offensive zone. He's taken a step in his development for sure based on his play, and I love that hockey smarts are starting to work along with his confidence, and he has some experience to steer him to the right play now. I still think his potential is very high, and I'm excited to see how he progresses over the next two, three years.
- NYC Wings Fanatic likes this