Tag Archives: Preseason

Hossa and Kane Return, But ‘Hawks May Have Lost Stalberg and Smith

photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

By Jon Fromi

Two guys having a pretty decent training camp for the Chicago Blackhawks were knocked out of the team’s return engagement with Detroit Wednesday night. The Hawks prevailed at the United Center, parlaying a host of power play chances into a 4-3 comeback win. However, the availability of Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith for the start of the regular season is now up in the air.

Smith, who tied the score in the third period with an opportunistic goal, was knocked senseless by a shoulder to head hit by Detroit’s Brendan Smith. The check left Smith face down on the ice for several minutes before he was helped to the dressing room. [Video and more here]

The Blackhawks opened the scoring when Cory Emmerton was called for hooking midway through the first period. Less than a minute into the man advantage, Jonathan Toews dug the puck out of the corner, skated to the right side of the net and flipped the puck back to a streaking Patrick Kane. Kaner’s aim was true, and Chicago led 1-0. Read more »

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Detroit’s Brendan Smith Puts Ben Smith to Sleep

Sun-Times Adam Jahns has quotes from Joel Quenneville and Mike Babcock.

As you’d imagine, Quenneville is a controlled irate and angling for major disciplinary action on the Wings’ Brendan Smith, a prospect who may not make Detroit’s opening night roster.  On the other hand, Babcock is doing his best to defend his player while not coming off as a blind fool.  Most won’t like what Babcock has to say, but I’d hold judgement until something like this again happens to one of his players.

While its impossible to say for sure considering this is the NHL, there should be some degree of supplementary discipline stemming from this hit.

As you can see, Brendan Smith makes only a veiled attempt at a pokecheck before launching himself into the drifting Hawks’ forward.  Aside from the reckless endangerment of Ben Smith, the Wings’ Brendan Smith makes the porous all-or-nothing defensive decision (in the 3rd period of a 3-3 hockey game moments after losing the lead) in the event he missed his shoulder block attempt, would have allowed the Hawks’ rookie in unabated to Detroit’s goal.

While the league heedlessly focuses their sole attention and new regulation on head shots (while very important its missing the larger triggering issue) the cause of most of these unfortunate collisions are players ignoring the puck to take a run at their opponent. Whether the head becomes a point of contact or not shouldn’t make the play any less of a punishable offense. When two players come together – one who is playing the puck, the other is not – bad things can happen. The one who is (the one playing hockey) is at the complete mercy of the player who has disregarded his defensive responsibility for the sake of the highlight film check or worse, and you’re a fool if you don’t believe this goes on, injuring his opposing player.  Any part of the body is at risk, the head, neck, back, knees.

Ben Smith missed a month of last year’s AHL season (Jan 8 – Feb 8th) with a concussion, one that coincidentally occurred against Grand Rapids, the Red Wings’ affiliate.  Brendan Smith missed that contest with a knee injury.  Ben Smith was set for a possible return a of couple weeks later when he was struck in the face with a puck during a practice, injuring him and re-aggravating the concussion.  So, depending on how you want to look at it, this is either Ben Smith’s second, or third concussion in the past nine months.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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