Some players crumble wilt when the bright lights come on and some players shine brighter when the bright lights come on. The playoffs are Ben Smith’s time to shine. Smith made his NHL playoff debut in 2011 with the Blackhawks; he scored two goals in Game 2 and the Game 6 winner against the Vancouver Canucks. Smith has been clutch; the Blackhawks had so much faith in Smith that he filled in for an injured Marian Hossa in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Smith played well in Hossa’s absence.
These playoffs Smith has been once again called upon to play a big role with the Blackhawks. Smith has been moved off the fourth line at times to play with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on the second line. Smith is a versatile player that can play any forward position and drives the puck hard to the net. Coach Quenneville has trusted Smith so much that at one point during the season that he centered for Patrick Kane.
Before joining the Blackhawks, Smith enjoyed collegiate success. Smith and his Boston College Eagles made the frozen four three times in his tenure and won the national championship twice.
Despite all this success in college and his early playoff success with the Blackhawks, Smith was not assured a roster spot this season. Smith worked hard and earned his way on the roster. During the regular season, Smith scored 14 goals, 12 assists, and a plus 2 rating in 75 games.
Smith has been a try hard guy all season long; he has done the little things well and rewarded the Blackhawks for their faith in him. That is why I have a man crush on Ben Smith. He is not a star, but can excel when called upon. Smith could be moved off the fourth line and could be centering the second line more often than not in Game 4 for the Blackhawks.
Blackhawks fans should expect big things from Smith in the games to come. The Blackhawks will take on the St. Louis Blues at 8:30pm Central Time on Thursday April 23rd.
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