While Reilly Smith is getting lots of attention after his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars, it was the other Smith in the prospect system that moved one step closer to college hockey's highest honor.
Austin Smith, who recently made his debut with the AHL's Texas Stars, was named one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award on Thursday. He was joined by Minnesota-Duluth senior Jack Connolly and Maine's Spencer Abbott as top-three finalists. Smith led the nation in goal scoring with 36 in his senior season for Colgate.
Reilly Smith, who had been part of the top 10 finalists, did not make the cut.
Austin Smith was also named the College Hockey News' player of the year on Thursday. Here's what the publication had to say about the Dallas native.
Ultimately, Smith's season was most compelling, though splitting hairs among numerous outstanding players. Smith had the most goals of any ECAC player since Clarkson's Todd White had 37 in 1996-97. He's not a power forward in that sense, but instead a great two-way player with sniper's instincts. He is the first ECAC player to be honored this way by CHN, and would be the first ECAC Hobey winner since Harvard's Lane MacDonald in 1989.
- Michael Ryder is doing a lot to dispel the myth that just because a player might be easy-going on and off the ice, that doesn't mean his game can't do the talking for him. [DallasNews.com]
- What's that? Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game. [ESPN Dallas]
- I knew Reilly Smith had a brother in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings forward Brendan Smith. But I did not know his other brother plays in the National Lacrosse League. Remind me to find out their neighbors growing up and ask how much they dominated street hockey. [DallasStars.com]
- So, about that Ryder character. A career high in goals and most of them at even strength. What's not to love? [CBS Sports]
- Mac Engel knows it's a tough road from here on out, but his is optimistic. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Todd over at the Thursday Morning Cupcheck is optimistic too, and he predicts doom for the other aquatic animal in the division that isn't already eliminated. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- This is a great article on why the hockey classic Slap Shot may be the only movie that really, truly understands sports. [Deadspin]
- The Montreal Canadiens put a wrap on their failure-plagued season by firing general manager Pierre Gauthier. They also announced Bob Gainey will not return as a consultant. [Canadiens.com]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: There are a lot of things to be positive about in the world of the Vancouver Canucks. [Vancouver Sun]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Our friends over at Nucks Misconduct stack up the performances of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. [Nucks Misconduct]
- Around the Pacific Division, the game: In the game someone had to lose, it was the San Jose Sharks that came up on the short end of a 2-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, making the last four of their must-win games even more epic. If you have a moment, watch the YouTube video where Drew Remenda refuses to criticize a team that isn't showing up at a critical time of year. [San Jose Mercury News/YouTube]
- Around the Pacific Division, the injury update: The apparent key to the Los Angeles Kings offense, Jeff Carter, is "probably unlikely" to play the next game and the one after that with an ankle injury. [LA Kings Insider]
- Our friends over at Matchsticks and Gasoline had some commenters with eagle eyes. Who needs to use the monitors to watch the hockey game when you're actually at the hockey game? [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
- Joining their friends in Calgary by not being very happy, the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs are actually rooting for baseball season. [Backhand Shelf]
- The Flames basically had their playoff hopes squashed by their loss to the Kings on Wednesday, and one fan in particular was not very happy with the showing. Tom Kostopoulos is the player who is first on the scene, and he takes it rather well, all things considered.