If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that yesterday I mentioned Jerred Smithson owned the Team Silver session. He has been one of the stronger guys at Training Camp so far this year and a surprising standout when it comes to taking (and making) good shots. It should come as no surprise that I think players like Smithson don't get enough credit for the roles they play on the team. So to help his credit (or selfishly to make other people like him), here's a brief, exclusive Q&A with the 6'3" center from Vernon, B.C.
Q: Now that Radek Bonk is gone, have the coaches talked to you at all about possibly leading the way for faceoffs this season?
A: No, but you know that's something I've thought about too. We've lost some good face off guys with Vern Fiddler, Radek Bonk and Scott Nichol. It's going to be a big hole to fill but I think we're up for the challenge. It's something I take a lot of pride in and know I have to be better at and know I can be better at so I'm definitely up for the challenge this year.
Q: Have the coaches talked to you at all as far as your role in the penalty kill because again, you just named three guys we lost this year that were strong penalty killers. What was your focus in the off-season to prepare for that role?
A: I really didn't change too much, you know. Losing those guys, it's going to give other guys an opportunity to step in but we definitely need all four guys going at once. It's a unit thing, it's not just one guy so I think if we can get some good chemistry going on the penalty kill and feed off some guys and get comfortable, I think we'll be okay.
Q: Your shot has really been on target in the last three days of camp and you even got a shout out on John Glennon's blog about possibly being the next shoot out guy. Did you do anything over the off season to make your shot better or have you just come into your own now that you're under the spotlight a little bit?
A: It's something I've been kind of working on a little bit in the summer. That, and listening to my dad bark at me all the time that I don't shoot the puck enough. [Laughs] It's a big year for everyone here and everyone's gotta step up and I realized that this summer and I tried to work on a few things and hopefully I'll get a chance to do that.
Q: Would you welcome a shoot out position if they called you?
A: Oh, without a doubt! I think that'd be a ton of fun. We've got a lot of sharp shooters on our team though so they might have to go pretty deep before I go but if I ever got the call, yeah, I'd be excited.
Now, I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, this blog post had something to do with him thinking about taking a bigger role in the face off circle and working on his scoring. BUT I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. In any case, it's good to see that at least one of the veterans took some time over the summer to think about how to increase his performance and role on the team.
Just for the record, I think I would pass out if he ever got called on for a shoot out.
MAJOR props to Jeremy K. Gover of Section303.com for helping me with this. You freaking rock, Jeremy.