Danny DeKeyser Injury: Can Brendan Smith Pick Up Slack in DeKeyser's Absence?

Isaac SmithAnalyst INovember 19, 2013

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Brendan Smith #2 of the Detroit Red Wings and Nick Spaling #13 of the Nashville Predators battle for the puck during an NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on November 19, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Nashville defeated Detroit 2-0 (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings keep losing games, and on Tuesday night they also lost Danny DeKeyser to a shoulder injury.

Although initial reports were calling DeKeyser out for a week or two, the Red Wings GM Ken Holland placed DeKeyser on long-term injured reserve, meaning he will miss 10 games or 24 days before he's eligible to return.

Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily broke the news via his Twitter account.

DeKeyser was pounded into his own end boards on a hard hit by Patric Hornqvist in the first period of Tuesday night's contest and did not return.

Rotoworld called the injury a separated shoulder, but head coach Mike Babcock had no update on the injury per Red Wings' beat writer Bill Roose, saying only that DeKeyser would be out "for a bit."

The young Western Michigan alumnus had started to pick up the pace offensively, with nine points in 22 games. DeKeyser had four points in his last four games coming into tonight's game against the Nashville Predators.

DeKeyser played just 81 seconds of ice time on two shifts before leaving for the rest of the game after the Hornqvist hit.

The impact of the injury seems bad up front, and it is unfortunate that DeKeyser will be out "for a bit" of time. However at the same time, the Red Wings haven't exactly been winning games recently.

While some fans may argue that this is even more reason to be concerned about DeKeyser going down, his presence in the lineup over the past seven games leading up to tonight hadn't made any direct difference to the Red Wings winning or losing games.

The Red Wings did get some good news as Brendan Smith returned from injury after missing six games with his own version of a separated shoulder. The DeKeyser injury, needless to say, opens up a chance for Smith.

Smith might need this opportunity to show that he can still play more than anyone else on the team.

In short, he didn't waste any time, as he played a solid game tonight against Nashville.

While the Predators aren't exactly the most offensive team and likely aren't going to stretch Smith to his limits, it was good to see that he played a good game tonight. Smith had two hits, three blocked shots, only one giveaway, but most importantly no penalty minutes.

The young defenseman needed a solid performance tonight to get his confidence back, but more importantly to prove to coaching and management that he has learned a few things since sitting out prior to injury.

UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Danny DeKeyser #65 of the Detroit Red Wings in action against the New York Islanders  during their game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 16, 2013 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

If Smith can find a way to excel in the next week with DeKeyser injured, it would be a huge pick me up for the Red Wings as they await the fate of the severity of DeKeyser's injury.

While no Red Wings fan is expecting Brendan Smith to pick up all of the slack from Danny DeKeyser, anything that Smith can do well over the next week will go a long way in preparing him for success over the rest of the season.


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