Craig Smith has been watching Taylor Hall from afar for a while.
Getting to play on the same line as the 2018 Hart Trophy Winner has been a delight for the 10th-year pro.
Since Hall arrived to the Boston Bruins from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline, he and Smith have helped form a solid second line with David Krejci as their center. In eight games since arriving in Boston, Hall has three goals and as many assists, while Smith is slashing 2-3-5 and Krejci has posted 4-3-7 over that stretch.
So, has anything about playing with Hall been surprising for Smith?
“I would say definitely physicality,” Smith said over Zoom on Tuesday ahead of morning skate. “I think he’s got a good build to him. I always thought he was a fantastic skater, so getting to play with him is a lot of fun. He can create a lot of space out there. But yeah, it’s been good so far. He’s a nice kid, it’s been fun recently.”
Some of the criticism that has followed Hall throughout his career is his defensive ability, but that has been nary an issue with Boston. In fact, his backchecking prowess has proven to be a major asset for him and his line.
“Just with his skating ability I think he can create, but also defend great too,” Smith said. “He’s a special player, and I’m lucky to be playing with him.”
Hall, Smith and the Bruins are set to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Puck drop from PPG Paints Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET on NESN+, with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m.