New York Rangers Brendan Smith will sit for the sixth consecutive game when the team visits the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night.
Brendan Smith is in a tough spot these days, to say the least. After only seeing two shifts in the third period of the New York Rangers’ win over the Golden Knights on Halloween night, he hasn’t dressed for a game since.
Five straight games he has watched the Rangers battle. Five straight wins have occurred in that time.
Brendan Smith called his benching while #NYR are winning "a double-edged sword." Added, "I want to be playing at the end of the year in the playoffs," and, "I think I'm capable of helping this team win." More NOTES: https://t.co/xZ3PxaEJna
— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) November 14, 2017
”It’s a double-edged sword”, Smith told Brett Crygalis of the New York Post. Smith continued, “I’m happy we’re winning. I want to be playing at the end of the year in the playoffs, so these wins are huge for us. Sometimes it’s just how the cookie crumbles. When I get a chance to get back in, I just have to make the best of it.”
Smith was set to become a free agent last July, but he and the Rangers worked out a four-year contract and Smith believed he was ready to be an everyday top-four defenseman with the team. Some shaky play early in the season put him on the outside looking in as Alain Vigneault has used Steven Kampfer and Nick Holden more consistently.
Vigneault never intended to sit Smith this long, but with the Rangers riding a six-game win streak, he has been hesitant to change the lineup right now.
“Sometimes the circumstances make it that it’s not just the wins right now, but it’s also the way our ‘D’ group is playing,” Vigneault said. “We’re going to get him back in, but for now, the next game, I’m going to stick with the same group of D’s that we had.”
Smith will continue to practice hard and wait for his opportunity. If the team continues to play this well, Smith knows the team will be heading for another playoff appearance and he certainly wants to be a part of that.