National Hockey League

Chicago Blackhawks' Smith knows how tough it is to get so close


Of all the goals Blackhawks forward Zack Smith has scored, assisted on or seen in person, there's one that will stick in his craw for all eternity.


While the home crowd erupted and the Penguins mobbed Kunitz, a shellshocked Smith sat in disbelief with his Senators teammates.


"Your heart sinks to the bottom of your stomach," said Smith, who Tuesday faced his former team for the first time since being traded to the Hawks for Artem Anisimov.


Although Ottawa won both contests, Smith said things weren't the same -- and the results showed as the Sens went 1-10-2 in its next 13 games en route to a 28-43-11 season.


Coach Jeremy Colliton, though, appreciates that Smith can play all three forward positions, that he's a part of the Hawks' 10th-ranked penalty kill, and that "he has a leadership role with the group."


"Looking back now, you're like, 'OK, maybe it wasn't the wrong decision by the coaches,' " said Smith, who won 7 of 10 faceoffs and had 2 takeaways during the Hawks' 3-2 OT victory over Ottawa.






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