On March 14, Nate Schmidt scored a goal against his hometown Minnesota Wild. His 12 plus minutes of ice time would be all the shifty defenseman would see for the next three weeks, bumped from the Washington Capitals lineup for the newly acquired Kevin Shattenkirk. At the end of the regular season, Schmidt was able to dress for four games, picking up two points in place of the injured John Carlson. But for the playoffs, Schmidt was to be benched.
The 25-year-old always wears a smile on his face, but when I talked to him before Game One of Washington’s first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs he admitted being a health scratch tired him mentally.
“You have to prepare like you’re playing every night,” Schmidt said. “It’s tough.”