GDB 20: Smid wings it

You will see another new wrinkle tonight for the Oilers. For the first time in his NHL career, Ladislav Smid will suit up on offence. He will play with Brodziak and Pouliot on the fourth line.

Smid always plays with emotion. Does he make the right decision all of the time? No. But his effort is always there. His robust style is what the Oilers need on their fourth line, and Smid is a good enough skater that in theory he should be able to be effective on the forecheck.

But the other areas of the job will be difficult for him. I sat down with Smid after he fielded questions from the largest scrum of reporters he had seen in his young career.

Gregor: Sniper Smid, is that your name now that you are a forward?

Smid: Yeah, pretty much… the guys will have to get used to the new name.

Gregor: Do you remember the last time you scored a goal?

Smid: No… Ahhh no… Well, well. No, it’s been too long. (Laughs)

Gregor: Do you remember the last time you played forward?

Smid: Third grade. I was about seven. That’s pretty impressive, eh!

Gregor: Were you centre or winger?

Smid: I was centre, top goal scorer on my team actually. Then they put me on defence, because my Dad played defence for the Czech Republic national team. Maybe if I was still a centreman, I would be a top scorer. You never know. (Laughs again).

Gregor: You seem excited, but what is going to be the biggest challenge?

Smid: I am excited, but still I’m very nervous like usual. Defensively there are lots of new things. I’m used to being in the corners and in front of the net. Now I have to cover their D, and they are the best in the league, so it will be different, but I have to deal with it and hopefully I will do well.

Gregor: Your coach talked about players to compete every shift. You have shown that willingness as a D-man. Is your plan to just dump and chase and hopefully dish out some hits?

Smid: Yes, that’s the idea that MacT had. I have to pressure their D and see what happens.

Gregor: Did you practice tipping pucks or deflecting pucks in practice today?

Smid: I’m really bad at that. I’m just going to stand in front of the net and hope it goes in. I don’t know how guys do it. It is a miracle to me if I can tip it. If it happens it is a miracle.

You have to like Smid’s honesty. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face today. He just wants to play. He was asked if he thought about saying no to the idea when MacTavish approached him, “Are you crazy? This is the NHL, I just want to play.”

Later on when everyone was gone, Smid admitted to me that Detroit might not be the best team to get used to playing forward against. They are the best in the league and it will be a challenge.

Then I asked him, “When you go out, do you try and talk to the best looking girl or just an average one? Testing yourself against the best is always more rewarding.” He laughed in agreement. “That is very true. Hopefully I don’t get shot down tonight.”

Smid is one of the funnier guys to talk with. He doesn’t shy away from most questions, and he seems like he really enjoys being in the NHL. It will be interesting to see if he still enjoys it after going up against Lidstrom, Rafalski and the rest of the Detroit D tonight.

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.

  • Clarkenstein

    With all due respect to Smid because he goes flat out every shift what the hell does this say about the depth in our organization OR the insanity behind this three goalie bullshit that's costing us a roster spot.

  • Bülent

    Why not? Not like the 4th line sees ice time anyway, and maybe Smid's energy will really do something, and best case scenario, EDM has their own version of Byfuglen.

    I say, BRING IT.

    I'm tired of watching Stortini basically die during "fights" or watching him make the worst turn over you saw since your mom tried that Rachel Ray recepie.

  • shakey

    Are the guys on the farm so bad that they wouldn't bring someone up? Gregor, is there a reason we can't bring someone up or is this Mac T's gut telling him he should do this. I'm not knocking Smid and I hope tomorrow we're talking about how great he was but what does this say about our depth? Sitting Huggy bear against the Wings is not a bad call though.

  • 1011011

    If you are Brule or Schremp, it must be nice to know that once the Oilers are unhappy with their current F roster AND the D can't be moved to the wing AND the 15 goalies can't find non-goalie skates AND that McDonalds Junior Oiler of the game can't be signed to a one game contact

    THEN

    you might get a shot with the big club.

  • hunter1909

    I always liked Smid. Still do. Might still turn out to be a really good defenceman.

    He's no Pronger but…

    Of course MacTavish is barking mad.

    Come to think of it, MacTavish is starting to get really entertaining lately.

  • hunter1909

    "If you are Brule or Schremp, it must be nice to know that once the Oilers are unhappy with their current F roster AND the D can’t be moved to the wing AND the 15 goalies can’t find non-goalie skates AND that McDonalds Junior Oiler of the game can’t be signed to a one game contact
    THEN
    you might get a shot with the big club."

    My current over/under for MacT being sacked is January 1. The way he's currently "coaching", Brule and Schremp are better off in Springfield.

  • Jason – Any idea what's going on between Lowe/Tambellini/MacTavish? The only reason I can see for putting Smid in a forward spot over Boulerice/Stortini (to crash and bang yet, which is supposed to be their game) is that he basically has no confidence in those other two players, which would suggest that the coaching staff and the GM aren't close to being on the same page. Any insight to offer?

  • Cole

    This is a great idea, Smid at least plays with an edge and can skate as good as anyone. All he has to do is forecheck, hit and create energy, its not like they expect him to score a ton of goals.

  • swany

    Smid 4 Detroit 2, I hope this works out for him and the Oilers. It would be nice if he came in and had the same inpact that Glenx did. Smid can skate, hit mix it up and fight as good as Glenx so maybe there is something to this. Good luck kid.

  • OregonStateFan

    Well, it's nice to know there's a little less insanity on this article's comments compared to the last one. As for moving from D to 4th-line winger, you don't lose very much. D are traditionally responsible defensively (because the position tells what they do) and you're not really expecting a lot of offense out of them on a checking line. It's not an uncommon move either, as both Strudwick and Staios have played forward positions in their careers, and even I can remember being moved back and forth from D to wing back in the juniors.

    The last thing Smid is going to worry about is scoring goals tonight. Let's see if he gets under the skin of Lidstrom or Rafalski.

  • Fiveandagame

    In regards to Shremp and Brule, their style of game is not fitting for a fourth line role. They are not bangers and crashers (Brule is a banger but at 180lbs he's not going to bowl over a 225lbs d-man). They are offensive guys that need to be played in offensive roles to make an impact. Shremp and Brule on the fourth line playing 6mins is not good development.

    Smid offers a defensively sound game, a big body in the corners and he plays with a lot of JAM.

    To TOP it off he's EXCITED! Enthusiasm is infectious like that growth on Wayne's little Dave Semenko. He will be a spark no matter what.

    You never know what someone is capable of until you challenge them. Tonight is a challenge.

  • milli

    Ya, I think he's gonna be fine…I mean come on it's our 4th line. But, what does this say about the other 2 guys? Total lack of confidence? I don't remember any games last quarter of last season when A) storts didn't play and B) that that line wasn't a factor. I dunno, I guess I'll have to wait and see.

  • Cole

    Hey, this may work, or it may not, but than again not much has worked this year. Id like to see him with Boulerice and Stortini as a crash and bang line. Mac T might have made some mistakes in playing players in the wrong position and situation, but you have to give him credit at least he is trying to get this straightened out.
    One more thing …. "Lets go Alouettes"

  • Cam

    all this does is give more flexibility to the coach in the game.

    If Smid is outclassed then they have a seventh D and someone else will play some shifts with the grinders.

    If Smid is effective then MacT looks like a genius.

  • Gord

    I am happy that Smid is so happy to play, but I can't believe the circus this team is turning into. What's next? Penner is big so put him in goalie equipment because he'll cover most of the net? You can't say MacTavish is feeling the heat and we can all see it now as he makes moves like this one.
    Based on results people can say he is a genius or a mad man, but the fact remains it is a desperation move.