It’s a dream to play in the NHL—for those kids who join youth hockey, who watched and idolized the feats of Gretzky and Lemeiux, who worked their way up through club teams to high school. Some made it through to junior leagues and the college level. Even fewer make it to play professionally.
But to score a goal in a critical Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, in front of his parents who were in attendance? Well, that’s just something former Wisconsin Badgers standout Craig Smith said was “special.”
“I kind of had a blind spot but I knew [defenseman Ron] Hainsey was behind me, I didn’t know what kind of jump he had but I could see [left wing Chris] Kunitz,” Smith said on Tuesday of his early third period goal, “and I just tried to get away from him. But when you’re tight in like that and you got guys that—as I know Hainsey, he got close to me with his stick because he’s got a 10-foot stick basically—but you’re only going to have maybe a foot or foot-and-a-half to make your move left or right, and it’s going to be quick.
“But when I got down there, I just found a hole and pushed it outside and hit it.”