Smitty VS. Shanny

smittyvsshanny

Both photos: Mike Ashmore

Facing the Ryan Garlock’s, Josh Aspenlind’s and Brock Hooton’s of the world on a nightly basis is certainly a challenge in its own right.

Imagine then, being thrown into a scenario where you’ve got a lock for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame skating in on you.

For some of you, this might require a change of hockey pants.

So, Jason Smith…nervous facing Brendan Shanahan?

“No, not really,” said the friendly Canadian netminder, matter of factly.

“It’s a good challenge, and I think I did really good.  He did good also (laughs).  It was just fun to be there, it’s not really nerve racking, it was just really exciting.”

Smith and fellow Trenton Devils teammate Kevin Cormier got the experience of a lifetime in Newark on Monday, skating with the 40-year-old Shanahan, who recently signed a contract with the Devils after last playing with the Rangers last season.

“It was unbelievable,” said Smith of facing the man who ranks 11th all-time on the NHL’s all-time goal scoring list.

“It was a great experience, he’s an unbelievable guy.  Not too many people have the opportunity to skate with him.  It was a good one.”

The experience of Smitty and Corms was the talk of the locker room after the game, with many players approaching the two to ask about their respective experiences.  One of the questions that many of them asked was what Shanny had left in the tank.

“He’s still one of the best players, I think,” Smith told me.

“He’s got an unbelievable hockey background, great leadership, and I think it’s a good thing they picked him up.  It was just fun being around him.”

And for Smith, the Devils sixth-round pick in 2003 who hasn’t played since a December 20th shootout win against Reading, it was just nice facing some shots, whether they were coming off the tape of a hockey legend or not.

“Yeah, it definitely was,” Smith said.

“Cormier was there too, and we worked really hard.  There were a lot of shooting drills and a lot of skating, so it keeps us in shape and keeps things running.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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