Red Wings veterans keep calm atmosphere for rookies

Red Wings veterans keep calm atmosphere for rookies

May 20, 2013, 1:45 pm
Share This Post


There is no data to display.

Game Date Location Time/Result
1 Wed., May 15 United Center (W) 4-1
2 Sat., May 18 United Center (L) 4-1
3 Mon., May 20 Joe Louis Arena (L) 3-1
4 Thurs., May 23 Joe Louis Arena L 1-0
5 Sat., May 25 United Center W 4-1
6* Mon., May 27 Joe Louis Arena TBD
7* Wed., May 29 United Center TBD
* If necessary | All times Central

DETROIT – There are always growing pains when you’re new to the job: adjusting to how things are done, knowing your role and trying to execute it to what the superiors expect from you.

The Detroit Red Wings have their share of young players dotting the lineup this season. But thanks to their solid play and tutelage from some seasoned teammates who have been down this road many times, they’re adjusting just fine.

Rookies Brendan Smith and Damien Brunner are among the Red Wings’ youngsters who have fared well this postseason. Smith, who had a tough turnover early in Game 2, came back to score the game-winner off a Henrik Zetterberg pass. The Red Wings’ captain said Smith is getting there.

“He creates a lot of stuff, sometimes for both teams,” Zetterberg said after Game 2. But it’s nice to see he can put it away when he gets the chance. He’s young, he’s still learning and he’s learning every game. He had a bounce-back game from Game 1.”

[MORE: Red Wings credit strong leadership for success vs. Blackhawks]

Smith said he’s got plenty of ears to bend among the Wings, whose veterans have several long playoff runs, and a few Cups, on the resume. That kind of advice pipeline is valuable.

“They’re always giving me words of wisdom and advice. As a young guy, that’s what I need to get to the next level,” Smith said. “There are things I haven’t seen that they have, and they can give me that little advice here and there. I’m just trying to be a sponge and take it all in.”

Brunner is having a very good postseason, as his seven playoff points (four goals, three assists) has him tied with Pavel Datsyuk for second among the Wings. Brunner said the veterans give the Wings’ young players the right balance of help and hands-off.

“They help a lot by saying the right things at the right time,” he said. “They don’t talk too much. They let you play your game, but they push you in the right direction. They never put you under too much pressure; they kind of let you go. And that’s a really good thing.”

The Wings’ youth are playing like there’s very little pressure on them. They’re playing with seasoned players who keep them calm in the stress-filled postseason, and the up-and-coming Wings appreciate that.

“It’s just the presence they have,” Smith said. “Even in last series when we played Anaheim and lost the first one here, it was how calm they were and the words they gave our team. Everybody realizes you don’t get too high or low. We’ve had so many guys who have been on late runs. It helps us younger guys understand what the atmosphere is like.”