Jason LaBarbera, Craig Smith

Preds’ Smith signs with Finnish team owned by Hartnell, Timonen

Nashville forward Craig Smith has agreed to terms with KalPa of the SM-liiga, a deal that will reportedly keep him in Finland until the Christmas break.

The move puts the 23-year-old in a unique situation — aside from being locked in until December (though he does have an out clause), his bosses for the next couple of months will be fellow NHLers Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.

The two Flyers own minority shares of the team along with ex-Philly Sami Kapanen, who recently returned to playing after serving as KalPa’s CEO.

(Kapanen, 39, is the team captain and scored 25 points in 35 games last year.)

Prior to signing with KalPa, Smith was one of the benefactors of Sept. 15th’s “quick, let’s sign as many contracts as we can before the CBA expires” extravaganza, scoring a two-year, $4 million deal from the Preds.

It was a significant raise from his entry level deal, one Nashville GM David Poile recognized as a gamble.

“This is a leap of faith, obviously we’re taking his salary up to a significant level after the season. We’re betting that he’s going to be one of our best offensive players,” Poile told The Tennessean. “He has only played one year in the league, but he and Colin Wilson, two young forwards represent for us an area in offense to turn it up a notch”

Smith scored 14G-22A-36PTS in 72 games as a rookie for the Preds last season and participated in the NHL All Star weekend skills competition in Ottawa.

PHT Morning Skate: 10 years of Ovechkin; 10,000 days with Lamoriello

Leave a comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Looking back at 10 years of Alex Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals, in case the above video made you want more. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

David Conte spent 10,000 days with Lou Lamoriello and lived to tell about it. (TSN)

Want to spot some contract year guys? Here are 32 pending restricted free agents. (Sportsnet)

NHL GMs are starting to sniff around with the 2015-16 season about to kick off. (Ottawa Sun)

Some backstory on Zack Kassian that was passed around on Twitter last evening. (Canucks website)

Hey, you can’t say Raffi Torres hasn’t literally paid for his ways:

This is some quality chirping between Jaromir Jagr and Matthew Barnaby:

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild

Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”


Daly said that he’d be surprised  “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”

As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.

For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.

The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?

At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”

Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.