Thanks to @rinkside for this interview with Predators rookie forward Craig Smith after his 5 point night (4g, 1a) against the Tampa Bay Lightning rookie team this evening in Florida.
@rinkside: A four-goal, one assist night. That’s pretty impressive for your first rookie game.
Craig Smith: “I was just having fun out there with my teammates, Beck and Bourque. They were both playing well. Everybody was playing well. We were just making plays, having fun out there and things were working out in the end.”
@RS: The chemistry you guys have out there, is it something that developed off the ice? On the ice?
CS: “I think it is our style of play. All three of us are run-and-gun [players]. We want to get the puck, we want to move it well, we all kind of think the game the same. Our mentality is to get the puck and go, try to make plays and get it to the net as much as possible.
@RS: You decided to forego the rest of college to play pro. Some saw you as a possible Hobey Baker candidate. Are you disappointed about not getting the chance to try for that?
CS: “That’s a pretty big honor. That’s pretty cool that somebody thought of me as a possible Hobey Baker [candidate]. Or even a Hobey Baker finalist, that would have been great, too. It kind of boiled down to that it was time to leave and I was ready to move on. I had a great experience at Wisconsin.
@RS: And your experience at the World Championship? It is a pretty rare feat for a college hockey player to make the roster.
CS: “It was great. Going over there I was a nervous guy. I knew a lot of guys who were playing on that team, [Florida Panthers winger] Jack Skille, [Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman] Jake Gardiner, [New York Rangers center] Derek Stepan. I kind of felt comfortable when I got there in the locker room, everyone was really helpful. We had a really big group over there. It made it a pretty special event for me.”
@RS: Looking forward, you’re pretty excited about trying to suit up for the Predators this season?
CS: “Everybody is trying to do it. [Laughs] I’m fighting for a spot too, and if it works out, it will be great.”
I really like Smith’s second quote about how himself, Beck, and Bourque all seem to be on the same page, playing style. Most teams like to possess lines of players that offer different playing styles so they can maximize each others talents: A sniper, a playmaker, a power forward, a two-way player, etc.. However, could this be the missing link for what the Predators need? 3 players with an EXACT same playing style?
Only time will really tell, but with three “run-and-gun” players all playing together with that “get the puck and go” mentality? That could ultimately be extremely productive for an annually offensively-challenged Predators team.
Again, all the credit for this goes to @rinkside for providing this to us here at The Predatorial this evening. Follow him for all updates on the Florida Panthers!