The much-anticipated debut of brothers Givani and Gemel Smith as Detroit Red Wings teammates has been put on hold. And it could remain in limbo for a couple of weeks.
Saturday saw the Red Wings assigning center Gemel Smith to a conditioning stint with their top farm club, the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. Under terms of the NHL-NHLPA CBA, a conditioning loan of a player to the minor leagues can last up to 14 days before that player would need to clear waivers.
UPDATE: The #RedWings today assigned center Gemel Smith to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins for conditioning.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 22, 2022
Gemel Smith was acquired on waivers by Detroit from the Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He skated with the Red Wings during their morning skate prior to Friday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena.
Gemel Smith hasn’t seen any game action so far during the regular season. He underwent surgery for an abdominal injury he suffered during preseason play. The Lightning were placing him on waivers to assign him to their Syracuse Crunch AHL farm club when the Wings put in their claim for him.
Gemel Smith Hasn’t Played This Season
At the time, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill wondered whether Smith would be ready to step directly into NHL game action.
“He had an abdominal injury, so we wanted to make sure … our sports science people have a screening process that every player goes through,” Blashill said. “They want to see where his strengths and weaknesses and balances and imbalances are so that we make sure we design a program that’s proper for him, just to make sure our doctors take a look and get a clean bill of health from our status.”
Brothers Givani and Gemel Smith at their first morning skate as teammates in Detroit pic.twitter.com/c782HwlTzt
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 21, 2022
The Red Wings haven’t suited up a brother act in the same game since March 30, 1969 when Frank and Peter Mahovlich played in a 9-5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Grand Rapids is playing host to the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday. When Smith makes his Griffins debut, it will mark the fifth set of brothers to play for Grand Rapids, as his brother Givani skated with the Griffins from 2018-21.
Four other sets of brothers have suited up for the Griffins: Sheldon (2001-03) and Wade (2001-02) Brookbank; Valtteri (2005-07) and Ilari (2010-11) Filppula; Kevin (1999-00; 03-04) and Kip (2000-02; 04-05; 06-07) Miller, along with cousin Drew (2016-17); and Todd (1996-98; 99-00; 01-02) and Jeff (1996-97; 03-04; 05-06) Nelson.
The Red Wings are in Nashville Saturday night to face the Predators.