It was February 28, 2017. What appeared to be a normal day ended up playing a big role in my New York Rangers fandom. You see, this was the day Smitty got traded to the Rangers. At that time the only thing I really knew about Smitty was that he wore number 2 and that he pretended he wanted to fight Zdeno Chara at center ice in the playoffs only to wait around until the refs put an end to that. I remember Hal chirping him endlessly, but I also remember thinking that every single one of us would’ve done the exact same thing. There’s no shot I’m going to fight a monster of a man butttt I can maybe make it look like I want to. Unreal street cred.
Smitty joined the Rangers and played a hell of a playoff only to get beat by the mismanagement of our defense in a pairing of Nick fucking Holden and Marc the donkey Staal, thanks to AV. After a stellar playoffs the Rangers signed him to a 4 years, 17.4 million dollar contract, well deserved. The problem was that this might have initially went to his head. Smitty came back to camp a bit out of shape and ended up being sent down to the minors where he broke his hand punching Vinni fucking Lettieri in the head. Here’s the blog I wrote about it at that time.
It was nut up or shut up time for Brendan Smith. His career was at a cross roads. Either cry and hang ‘em up or battle, and the dog inside Smitty boy wanted a fight. The next year Smitty came back, ON THE FOURTH LINE, to help out the boys in blue. The rest was history. Think about how challenging it is for a player to play both National League level defense, and offense. Absurd. After playing as a 4th liner for a bit, Smitty ended up working his way back up into the top 6 for defenseman and became the fan favorite we all knew and loved. The thing about Smitty is that he’s endearing- he’s human. There’s not a person on the Rangers I think would be more fun to have a beer with than Smitty. He makes mistakes but always busted his ass to get back afterwards. Blue collar worker from a guy with elite level hair. He always tried throwing giant hits and every once in a while, he’d connect. And he would always stick up for the boys.
Never forget the Smitty Superman Punch.
He would show up to the golf course with 5 different suits. Why? My only explanation was to teach the kids what its like to be a pro’s pro.
And when there was no one around to stick up for the boys in Blue, Smitty would, knowing that there was a good chance he’d take a beating.
I’m not lying, I’ve probably watched that Tom Wilson fight over 100 times. Not because Smitty beat the shit out of him but because the amount of balls that took is something none of us will be capable of understanding. Also, might have buckled his knees there with that last punch. Brendan Smith is a TRUE New York Ranger. The guy bleeds red, white and the home blues. He’ll be deeply missed by me and I just wanted to take a second and say thank you to number 42. The moment I press publish on this blog, I’m going to buy a Smitty jersey. He earned that. Don’t be sad that it’s over. Smile because it happened.