The Athletic’s Craig Custance penned a lengthy article regarding Michael Rasmussen this morning, discussing Rasmussen’s wrist surgery, the impact the incredibly serious, studious Rasmussen has made upon the Wings’ coaching staff and front office, and Rasmussen’s play in the WHL playoffs, where he’s posted 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points over the course of only 12 playoff games.
Custance reached out to Jason Smith, the coach of a team that Rasmussen’s Tri-City Americans defeated in the Kelowna Rockets, and Smith gave Rasmussen a thumbs-up:
“Whether you call it hockey IQ or game management, awareness and vision, the players who can transfer the quickest and give themselves the best opportunity to grow and become players at the next level quicker than the rest are the ones who have that knowledge of the game,” Smith told The Athletic.
Rasmussen showed Smith that hockey IQ with his adjustments on the fly, and his ability to be a factor in all aspects of the game. It was the little things, like having a good stick after a lengthy shift in the defensive zone to knock the puck down and get a clear, or creating offense off the rush with a smart pass in the offensive zone.
“You can look at vision with the puck,” Smith said. “Being able to process the next play at a pace where you don’t have to double clutch and stickhandle the puck three times to make the pass.”
For him, the turning point in his assessment of Rasmussen’s game was Game 2 of that first-round series. Every time Kelowna got a goal, it was Rasmussen and Geekie who seemed to answer.
“Whether it was 5-on-5 or the power play, they found a way,” Smith said. “He’s an elite player.”
Custance continues (paywall)…