Nobody on the Red Wings played particularly well in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Blackhawks, but few seemed to take the abuse on social media and network airwaves like defenseman Brendan Smith. The Red Wings' defense struggled all game Wednesday, but it was Smith whose mistakes were rerun and analyzed on the national game broadcast and radio and web forums the next day. Seems like some within the Red Wings' organization remarked about Smith, too. "Interesting, I heard all the stuff, the emotion from our staff, too, and I didn't see it like that," coach Mike Babcock said. "I saw a young guy trying to make a bunch of plays and nobody there to accept the pass at the end of it. "What I did today was I showed him making a bunch of good plays and I said, 'Let me decide and you decide and nobody else decide.'" Smith heard of the rumblings the day before and didn't feel it was particularly fair. "I don't think so, actually," said Smith, who was credited with one giveaway in the game in 18 minutes, 56 seconds. "I talked to coach (Babcock) about it, and there's a thing where my speed will get me back to the puck first so I have to make better plays, obviously. That's one thing I want to do better at. "But that's not a fair assessment. There are a lot of good plays I felt I made and those are things I will build on. "Coach and I met this morning and went over things and it didn't come off like that. He said, 'I watched the game without the announcers and it's a totally different thing. Just build on the good things you did.'" Babcock was mystified as to why Smith took the brunt of the criticism from analysts when the Red Wings as a whole struggled against the Chicago forecheck. In Babcock's view, Smith was hardly alone. "If you're the defense, who would you pass the puck to?" Babcock said. "I heard about this defenseman and this defenseman turned it over, but who do you pass it to? "There was nobody there to pass it to. That's my point. After I watch Game 2, I'll have a better handle of what's going on.
Criticism of Red Wings' Brendan Smith puzzles player, coach
Detroit News | May 18