Smyth is playing stupid, lazy hockey of late, the complete antithesis of what the industrious winger has typically brought to the copper-and-blue.
His on-ice value is diminishing, but it was his sudden propensity for picking up brain-dead penalties that brought the issue to a head. Though Willis took greater issue with a pair of slashing penalties that Smyth committed against the Jackets, I’d say the 10-minute misconduct he earned against Detroit was the real sin. Smyth was binned after yapping at the officials in the wake of a perfectly fine call.
I get it. He’s a frustrated player, but he’s not some high-strung kid. He’s a veteran with a very specific role: teach the young, promising future of the team not just how to win, but how to play the game the right way. In that light, his pointless, selfish outburst was a dereliction of duty.
“We had an open, honest conversation with everything on the table,” Krueger said after the benching was announced. “We expect a gritty reaction from him.”