EL SEGUNDO, Calif.
|Smith made his debut Thursday, skating more than 19-minutes in the Wings 5-2 loss to the Sharks. (Getty Images) |
– Looks like rookie defenseman Brendan Smith
will play in the second game of his career, while veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi
hopes to get back into the lineup when the Red Wings face the Los Angeles Kings Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.
“Smith's playing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I liked him a lot, what I don't want him to do is be careful. He knows he belongs. He's just got to eliminate some mistakes. But he's like all kids, he's going to make some mistakes.”
Smith had a solid performance in making his NHL debut Thursday – a 5-2 loss to San Jose. He logged more than 19-minutes of ice-time, including two-minutes on the power play. The one mistake he made was on a giveaway deep in the Wings’ zone that led to the Sharks’ third goal of the game.
Still, Thursday’s game provided a look into Smith’s bright NHL future as a dominant two-way defenseman.
“I thought he played well, skated well,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom
. “He's got that good shot. Played well with the puck, too.”
Shortly after the Wings’ practice here Friday at the Toyota Sports Center, Smith alerted his 6,300-followers on Twitter, writing, “As of right now looks like I will get another kick at the can in tomorrow's game. Excited to try to get my first NHL win/point.”
As for Bertuzzi, his status for Saturday’s game isn’t as cut and dried. He was placed on short-term injured reserved last Sunday, and has missed the last six games with vertigo-like symptoms which began as a sinus infection.
Babcock said that Bertuzzi will be a game-time decision Saturday. However, if Bertuzzi has anything to say about it, he’ll either play Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening at Anaheim.
“I felt a lot better today. We'll see how it is tonight,” he said. “I didn't come all the way here without thinking there was a chance (to play). Got to see how I feel in the morning.”