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Reilly and Brendan Smith’s offseason skates together had a different feel this summer.
Younger brother Reilly Smith of the Golden Knights had to show older brother Brendan of the New York Rangers some new tricks. That’s because Brendan Smith, who spent his first eight seasons in the NHL playing defenseman, has switched to forward this season. So he and Reilly participated in forward drills to get him ready for a new chapter in his career.
Brendan Smith is now playing on the Rangers’ fourth line while transitioning back to defense on the penalty kill. It’s an unorthodox role, but it’s helped him become a consistent contributor. And Reilly Smith will get to see his brother’s new responsibilities in person again when the Knights host the Rangers at 4 p.m. Sunday at T-Mobile Arena.
“I think he’s done a really good job. Obviously, it’s not an easy situation,” Reilly Smith said. “He’s enjoying it. He’s a big part of their team.”
Brendan Smith has six points (three goals, three assists) in his new role. He had an unassisted goal Monday against the Montreal Canadiens, stealing a loose puck and beating goaltender Carey Price with a backhand move.
That kind of skill is impressive from a player still getting adjusted to a new position. It’s better than Reilly Smith could do if the brothers’ positions were reversed, because he said he couldn’t learn to play defenseman.
“I can’t skate backward,” Reilly Smith said.
Stephenson gets adjusted
New Knights forward Chandler Stephenson earned a prime spot in the City National Arena locker room: The stall between talkative forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Ryan Reaves.
It’s one of many ways the team is trying to integrate Stephenson into the group after he was traded from the Washington Capitals on Monday. Saturday was his first practice with the Knights at City National Arena, and Sunday will be his first game as a member of the home team at T-Mobile.
It will be his second game in the rink since Game 5 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, when he got to carry the Cup around the ice as a member of the victorious Capitals.
“Obviously, what happened is something that will last a lifetime,” Stephenson said. “(I’m) looking forward to being on the good side now.”
Glass sees NYC
The Knights’ recent three-game trip was rookie Cody Glass’ first visit to New York City. The center took full advantage.
He said he visited Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
“It was really cool,” Glass said. “I’m from Winnipeg, so I don’t see that much stuff.”