Not only did the Detroit Red Wings drop an important Central Division game to the Columbus Blue Jackets last Saturday, they also lost rookie defenseman Brendan Smith for three to four weeks due to a shoulder injury suffered during the game.
Smith becomes the latest casualty of the season for Detroit’s defense, as Carlo Colaiacovo, Jakub Kindl, Kent Huskins, Jonathan Ericsson and Ian White have all been injured at some point this season. White returned to the lineup Tuesday night, and logged over 18 minutes of ice time, a welcome sign for the team. With only Colaiacovo out long-term, Brian Lashoff and Kindl had been taking turns as healthy scratches, but with Smith and Huskins’ injuries they will both be seeing a lot of time in the coming weeks. Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey and Lashoff now remain as the only Red Wings defensemen to make it through nine games unscathed.
Smith was expected to have a big impact for the Wings this season, and while he only has one assist, he is also a team-best plus-4. He was the team’s first round pick in the 2007 draft, and had five goals and 20 points in 32 games for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins during the lockout.
The Red Wings injury list currently also includes Darren Helm, Joey MacDonald, Mikael Samuelsson and Jonas Gustavsson. Tonight’s match-up is another important one in the division, as the team will turn to rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek and try and earn a second consecutive win against the St. Louis Blues.