The Free Press’s Helene St. James took note of Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill’s comments regarding the impact of one Givani Smith, who only played in 2 minutes and 32 seconds of Detroit’s 6-2 win over San Jose:
Givani Smith made a favorable impression in less than three minutes of ice time. He’s seemingly earned himself a spot in the lineup again as the Detroit Red Wings head on the road, delivering a tone-setting shift early in Tuesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
Smith fought Sharks defenseman Jacob Middleton at 2:30. At 18:16 of the first period, he was tossed by officials after a high hit on Middleton in the corner. That left the Wings shorthanded for five minutes and with a short bench the rest of the game, but coach Jeff Blashill didn’t mind.
Asked what he’d tell Smith, Blashill replied: “Keep going.”
“He was good. He fought, he hit. It wasn’t something where I was, oh gee, what are you doing? Not at all. I actually thought in the little bit he played he played with poise, he played strong, he battled hard. I was happy with those couple minutes of ice time.”
Smith has two goals, two assists and 26 penalty minutes in 24 games. Originally drafted in the second round in 2016, the Wings thought enough of Smith this past summer to protect him in the expansion draft. He’s a 6-foot-2, 215 pound energy guy, and while he had a short night Tuesday, it was more like what the Wings need to see from him.