Defenseman Brendan Smith has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason and five regular season games after his hit to the head of Chicago’s Ben Smith. According to the Freep’s Helene St. James, he will be assigned to Grand Rapids, leaving his suspension to be served later.
On the suspension… I think it’s fair. I’d guessed it would be three and three but I don’t think three and five is too much. I’d rather see the NHL be overzealous than underprosecute.
That said, I’m very interested in seeing Brendan Shanahan‘s video explaining the suspension.
I was initially surprised to see that Smith will be sent to the Griffins to start the season but I don’t think I should have been.
Smith can’t play in the NHL until he serves the suspension. The Wings plan on carrying 14 forwards and 7 defensemen this season, so they have no room to let Smith ride out the suspension right now.
If they send Smith to GR today, he can’t be called up and play if an injury happens. But if an injury happens, they already have a seventh defenseman, they don’t need Smith to be ready to jump in. Instead if, say, Jakub Kindl gets hurt a month from now and goes on the IR, Mike Commodore steps into the lineup and Kindl’s roster spot is open. Smith gets called up with no intention of him playing as he burns off games from his suspension.
That’s how I see it, at least. We’ll see.