Serving suspension with a smile
Smith is anxious for Tuesday's AHL season debut
“It should be a little more frustrating, but it’s not, just because I keep getting called up,” said Smith, referring to his five-game NHL suspension. “I want to get these games out of the way. I don’t want to have them be a liability as to why I can’t get called up (to play).”
Smith was suspended for his illegal hit to the head of Chicago forward Ben Smith (no relation) during a Sept. 28 exhibition game.
The NHL handed Smith an eight-game suspension, which included the final three games of the preseason. A few days after the NHL came down on him, the AHL too issued its own justice, ruling that Smith is ineligible to play for the Griffins through Oct. 17.
He is scheduled to rejoin his minor-league teammates in Rochester (N.Y.), where the Griffins will play the Americans Sunday night. Smith can make his season debut Tuesday in Hamilton.
It some ways, Smith said, the unexpected AHL ruling was like being punished twice for the same crime.
“It kind of feels like a double jeopardy thing, but it’s not obviously,” he said. “I have to serve it, and I’ll try to do it with a smile on my face. It’s a little upsetting that I’m not playing here or in the AHL, but the best part is that I know that I’m getting (the suspensions) out of the way.”
The Wings recalled Smith Wednesday. He sat out the first game of his NHL suspension last Saturday’s game at Colorado. He’ll sit Thursday’s Vancouver game, as well as Saturday’s game at Minnesota. That will leave him with two games left to serve.
“I don’t want to be a problem if someone goes down and they need to call me up, but they can’t because I’m suspended,” Smith said. “I’ll still have two more games, but it’s close. … At least I now know that I’ll be up for the next two games, which is good.”
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