Early in the third period of Wednesday night’s preseason game, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith was knocked out by a cheap shot to the head by Red Wings prospect Brendan Smith.
Detroit’s Smith received a major penalty for the hit, and was escorted from the ice. He was the Wings’ first round pick (27th overall) in 2007, and scored 32 points with 124 penalty minutes in 63 games with Grand Rapids of the AHL last year.
This is exactly the type of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate. Chicago’s Smith had tied the game earlier in the period, and the hit displayed intent to make contact with a skater’s head.
What makes the hit most disgusting is that Detroit’s Smith will likely be sent back to the AHL in a matter of hours, and won’t be heard from again this year. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks were expecting their Smith to be an important part of their bottom-six rotation this year after an impressive postseason.
If the league wants NHL regulars to skate during the preseason, idiot kids that don’t belong on the ice can’t take runs at them like Brendan Smith did on Wednesday night.
Joel Quenneville told the media after Wednesday night’s 4-3 win that forward Viktor Stalberg suffered a knee injury late in the first period.
“It’s probably not good either,” said Quenneville. “But we’ll have a better idea tomorrow.” (quote from CSN Chicago.)
Patrick Kane played center for the first time in a long time, and was very effective. He won eight of 12 faceoffs, scored a power-play goal and added an assist while skating a team-high 23 shifts. While his legs were never in doubt, skating over 20 minutes in his first preseason game is a good sign.
Later on Wednesday night, Kane joined Twitter.
Marian Hossa, also playing in his first preseason game, also looked good. He skated over 19 minutes and also scored a goal. Jonathan Toews registered two assists and won 11 of 16 faceoffs.
Duncan Keith was credited with an assist on each of the Blackhawks first three goals. Quietly, Sami Lepisto blocked six shots. Nick Leddy skated over 20 minutes again, and had an assist in the game.