Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff provides some pre-game reading via this notebook article regarding Givani Smith’s promotion to the Red Wings’ second line of Robby Fabbri and Pius Suter:
“We’ll continue to make clear to him that we’d like to see him be a physical presence, which he has been at times last couple of games,” Blashill said of Smith. “But there’s a lot more to it with him. Him and I have talked lots about being real good in our zone, being real good with the puck moving up through the ice.
“He should be a real simple player with the puck moving up through the ice, get it out at our blue line, get it in at their blue line and play in the O-zone, because that’s where he can separate himself.
“He’s got a unique skill-set when he’s in the O-zone, so let’s get there.”
It’s that unique skill set that the Red Wings are hoping the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Smith will be utilizing. What they’re seeking from him is getting more pucks in the O-zone for Suter and Fabbri. Then upon gaining puck possession, the creatiion of havoc at the net front.
“If we did it with Smitty it would be a net presence, big-body guy, a playmaking center (Suter) with a shooter with Fabbri,” Blashill said. “That line has gotten chances but they’re a little bit, all a little slight, so you got a big body up there as well.
“I’m not sure we’re going to stay with it and certainly don’t know if we’ll stay with it within the game but it’s something we wanted to look at.”