Zack Smith

Blackhawks' Zack Smith issues statement following death of George Floyd, protests

Blackhawks' Zack Smith issues statement following death of George Floyd, protests

On Monday, Blackhawks forward Zack Smith tweeted out a statement in the wake of George Floyd's death and the mass protests that ensued over the weekend.



Smith's full message read: 

"As a privileged white man playing in the NHL (a predominately white league) I feel it's as important now as ever to show support for the black community and encourage change. If you think the current way black people and other minorities are treated here today is ok.... you are a racist. If you don't have an opinion or are 'neutral' on this subject then you are ignorant and very misinformed. 

"I strongly disagree with rioting and looting of homes and small businesses but if you resent this movement because of the actions of a few vandals then you are missing the point entirely. As hockey players we sometimes come off as robots in our interviews and stay clear of opinions on most social issues and controversy. 

"Personally I don't like posting my opinions on social media these days for several reason(s). However with the amount of racist people (especially those in positions of power) being exposed during this movement I felt the need to show my support for the black community and the need for change. Please be safe and take care of each other out there."

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Blackhawks shut down Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith for rest of 2019-20 season

Blackhawks shut down Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith for rest of 2019-20 season

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Blackhawks announced Saturday forwards Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) and Zack Smith (back) will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season. 

Shaw recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 26 games this season and hasn't played since Nov. 30. A source told NBC Sports Chicago that Shaw has been feeling much better as of late, but with only 18 games left and the Blackhawks well outside the playoff picture, it's not surprising the organization made the official call to shut him down given his concussion history.

“He adds an element to our team, both on and off the ice that we wanted to add," head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Shaw's presence. "A lot of personality in the dressing room, holds guys accountable, pushes them, makes them uncomfortable, drags them into the fight, helps to prepare them to play. And on the ice, obviously, he plays all situations. He can get your team going on a Tuesday night in November. He can get the group engaged, and obviously we miss that.”

Smith has been out of the lineup since Feb. 12, but his original injury was to his left hand after he had it cut by a skate blade in Vancouver. He returned to practice one week later but has missed the last two games with a back injury. It's something Smith has been battling for a while now, which explains some of his maintenance days throughout the season.

Smith, who had a lower-back injury during training camp, is scheduled to have surgery on March 6 and the Blackhawks are hoping it's just routine. He had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 50 games this season and became a fixture on the fourth line.

In December, the Blackhawks placed Calvin de Haan (shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (hip/shoulder) on long-term injured reserve after undergoing season-ending surgeries. With Shaw and Smith being shut down, the Blackhawks have a combined $18.5 million in cap hits on the sidelines. That's 22.8 percent of the $81.5 million limit.

But the Blackhawks won't use that as an excuse or wonder what could have been if all four players stayed healthy during the season.

"Serves no purpose to do that," Colliton said. "All teams go through injuries and you're missing guys at certain times, and you've just got to find a way no matter what."

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Zack Smith facing Senators for first time since being traded

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USA Today

Zack Smith facing Senators for first time since being traded

Blackhawks forward Zack Smith will face his former team, the Ottawa Senators, for the first time on Tuesday night. Ottawa is the first of three stops (Montreal on Wednesday and Toronto on Saturday) for the Hawks' road trip in Eastern Canada.

Smith played 612 games for the Senators (193 points; 94 goals, 99 assists) from 2009-19 before being traded to Chicago for center Artem Anisimov on July 16. The 31-year-old was an alternate captain with the Senators for two seasons before joining the Blackhawks.

"I haven't thought about it too much," Smith said of the return. "When the trade happened this summer and you look at the schedule, I was like, 'Ah, it's not till January. I don't have to worry about that.' 

"Now, here we are. It'll be a little surreal. I'm excited to get back there and see some of the old teammates and staff I've worked with for a lot of years."

Smith, a native of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, has just nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 39 games with the Hawks this season, but has been a bottom-six forward the Hawks can count on in many situations.

"He’s done a great job killing penalties, he’s versatile, can play all three forward positions," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I think he’s had his stretches when he’s been great and his stretches when he hasn’t been as good. 

"The last couple of games, he’s been very good. That line was excellent last game (4-2 win on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks). Thought all three of them, very active, pressuring the puck, creating turnovers. They did a lot of good things. So hopefully they can continue that."

Colliton moved Smith to center two games ago after he mostly played on the wing with Chicago. He won nine of 15 faceoffs in those two games.

It always takes a little adjustment, moving from wing to center," Smith said. "But I've done that quite a bit, especially the last three years or so. Played the vast majority on the wing. I don't mind playing center. I played the first 25 years of my career there. 

"I like skating the middle; you feel a little more involved. But it's also a little more responsibility, especially in the defensive end, which has showed. I made a couple of mistakes that cost (us), especially last game too. Cost us one goal. For me it takes a couple games. Feeling a lot more comfortable and more involved in the game."

Smith believes the Hawks can capitalize on this week's road trip and the two remaining home games (Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, Jan. 19 and Joel Quenneville's Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Jan. 21) to put themselves in a good position before heading into All-Star break. 

Chicago is 20-20-6 and seven points out of a Wild Card spot five games after the halfway point. 

"I think the feeling within the team, we're playing with more confidence especially defensively," Smith said. "I think it's almost night and day probably the past four or five games how responsible we've been with the puck. 

"A lot less turnovers and just a lot more aggressive defensively. We've had some rough patches over those games a few minutes where we've maybe let up but I think we've made some great strides the last couple weeks. Just a little confidence in this room (on the) defensive side of the puck."

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