Tom Wilson is usually the guy who delivers devastating hits. But Friday against the Hurricanes, he got dropped by a perfect Brendan Smith counter hit.
The Hurricanes defenseman, making his grand return this week from a scary injury, caught Wilson with his shoulder as the enforcer went for a huge hit along the boards. Wilson crumpled to the ice in stunning fashion as the PNC Arena crowd roared.
The hit came with 3:15 remaining in the first period.
Tom Wilson thought he had Brendan Smith lined up.
#7 stands his ground. pic.twitter.com/wPcxWlJ7uo
— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) March 18, 2022
Wilson returned to the bench bleeding from the nose (still not as bad as this) and motioned to officials that Smith came up with his stick, thinking the play was deserving of a high-sticking penalty. Smith’s arms and stick may have clipped Wilson the follow-through of the hit.
Smith and Wilson have a history. Formerly with the Rangers, Smith fought Wilson two nights after The Horrifying Act of Violence game, where Wilson started a line brawl with the Rangers.
“To be honest, once my career is over, there’ll be more info that will come to fruition about the whole incident,” Smith said after the season. “All I can say at the moment is that I personally wish the league handled it a little bit differently. I think that we had to take care of our superstars 100 percent and then it wouldn’t have hit the fan like it did.”
Smith also knocked Nic Dowd briefly out of the game in the first period via another counter hit. Dowd tried to catch Smith in the Canes’ defensive zone and instead absorbed the brunt of the hit, doubling over in pain.
In the third period, he sent Evgeny Kuznetsov hard into the boards with another big check.
More big hits from Smith! pic.twitter.com/TG2O7DB3uX
— Bally Sports: Canes (@CanesOnBally) March 19, 2022
Smith was credited with fives hits through early in the third period.
Brendan Smith is back! pic.twitter.com/FRqZRiBDEt
— Bally Sports: Canes (@CanesOnBally) March 18, 2022
Friday’s game against the Capitals marked Smith’s second since missing a month of time due to a fractured skull. Smith blocked a shot with his head against the Penguins on February 20 and still has not fully regained hearing in his left ear.
#Canes defenseman Brendan Smith, who also skated today, shared post-practice that he is medically cleared.
Although he suffered a fracture in his skull and his hearing in his one ear has not yet fully returned, he says that he feels very fortunate that his injury was not worse.
— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) March 15, 2022
“I’m lucky to be here today,” Smith said pregame. “Very scary incident and I’m very fortunate.”
— Bally Sports: Canes (@CanesOnBally) March 17, 2022
Screenshots: NBC Sports Washington
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