BostonBruins.com - Reilly Smith is in a much different place than he was in early September, when the 22-year-old first reported to Boston's training camp.
Just as easy-going and excited as when he arrived, one of the newer and youngest Bruins now ranks third on the team with five points off a goal and four assists through his first seven games in the spoked-B.
Starting the season off with Chris Kelly as his centerman after making the opening night roster, the versatile, speedy winger has shown Head Coach Claude Julien his long-term top six potential since being moved to Patrice Bergeron's line with former Dallas teammate Loui Eriksson.
The 6'0" 185-pound winger is easily on pace to surpass his nine points he recorded in 37 NHL games with Dallas in 2012-13 off three goals and six assists. He also put up 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 45 games with the AHL's Texas Stars after making the jump from Miami University (Ohio).
His nine NHL points weren't the output the winger would have liked; he's proven that in his first impression with the Black & Gold.
"I have high expectations for myself," Smith had said in August before coming to Boston for camp. "I want to be a player where the team looks at me as someone who can contribute on an everyday basis and someone who’s not a liability on defense."
"I just want to be able to be firing on all cylinders by the time I get there and hopefully I can impress enough to stay with the club."
Now that we've gotten to know his play on the ice, I recently sat down with the Bruins winger in South Florida for an off-ice Q&A. Enjoy….
We'll start with the obvious. Who did he idolize growing up?
"Brendan Shanahan. He was kind of a little bit of a home town hero – he grew up I think a few blocks away from my house," said the Toronto area native. "He was one guy that me and both my brothers always looked up to and tried to follow our games after."
Reilly's brother, Brendan, is a defenseman in the Red Wings' organization.
"Yeah so that kind of worked out. We were both #14 when I was growing up so I guess once you get older the numbers aren’t as available, but he’s one person that we’ve kind of always tried to model our games after."
Shanahan also wore No. 18 at points throughout his career; hence, Smith's number with the B's (and Dallas before arriving).
If he could switch lives with one person for the day, who would it be?
Smith gave the same answer Jarome Iginla did to this question: Tiger Woods.
"Well, maybe now, as opposed to a couple of years ago," cautioned Smith, with a smirk. "I just think it would be great having your profession being able to play golf every day and he’s so good at it so I think that would be a pretty fun day."
He may need a few lessons from Shawn Thornton and co. first, though.
"Nah, my game's not that good. It'd be good if I had a little bit of an upgrade."
What's the favorite item he owns, that he can't live without?
"I think it would have to be my phone. It’s kind of cliché but it’s tough to live without it these days. I feel like whenever I’m going anywhere it’s the first thing I’m checking the whole time so I definitely wouldn’t be able to go too many days without it."
Unless, it's the offseason, and he's trying to find down time.
"If it’s not the summertime; the summertime it’s good to get away and kind of go a couple weeks without your phone on you. It’s a nice feeling."
Expect if you're answering a call in early July…
"Yeah I found I was traded on Twitter, so I was checking my phone for that."
Reilly was actually with his brother Brendan, as they were deciding on lunch and glancing through Twitter.
"I’m like, 'imagine if I was traded'?" he had joked to his brother at the time, as they saw the Boston and Dallas trade rumors swirling.
Well, you know what happened next.
If you could hang out with a celebrity, who would it be?
"I’d say either Dane Cook or Daniel Tosh."
"If you’re going to hang out with someone, you might as well have a good time. I think they’d be two pretty funny guys to hang out with; I watch their shows all the time so it’d be pretty funny."
Cook is a huge Bruins fan. When I interviewed the comedian during the playoffs, he relayed to me how nervous he was to go up to Johnny Boychuk at a Red Sox game to meet the defenseman. After he worked up the courage, the pair showed mutual admiration, especially for each others' postseason beards.
"Really??" Smith laughed. He's seen enough of JB55 by now to know. "I can believe it."
"I like comedies so Step Brothers is a great one. That, and Old School. I’m a big Will Ferrell fan."
While he may be quieter around the locker room and on the ice (just ask Chris Kelly, who once joked postgame that he didn't hear Reilly say a word on the ice), I wouldn't be surprised to see him quoting comedies like that on a daily basis.
"You would if you had the camera following me around for a day," he laughed.
"[Comedy is] probably one of the easiest things to quote so I know, especially in my family, they kind of get a little sick and tired because everything that’s coming out of my mouth is a movie quote."
Last, but certainly not least. The pressing question. Who does the grocery shopping?
"No I don’t," was the quick and swift response. "Last year, usually my roommates did the grocery shopping. If I do go along, I’m kind of just staring at the lights and the ceiling."
"I don’t cook that much so I usually rely on my roommates to do that kind of stuff. I am more of the apartment morale, I like to keep that high; keep movies on. So I’m not really a cook or a cleaner but if you can find a good roommate that can do that for you, it’s perfect."
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