When Nashville Predators rookie center Craig Smith made the decision to forgo his final two seasons at the University of Wisconsin to turn pro, he was in for a big transformation.
College hockey teams generally practice all week in preparation for Friday and Saturday night games before repeating the cycle again the next week. Well, that and carrying a full load of classes that appropriately puts the student first in student-athlete.
After reaching the national championship game in his freshman year and serving as an assistant captain as a sophomore, Smith felt the time was right to leave his hometown of Madison to join the Predators, who selected him 98th overall in the 2009 NHL draft. Smith made the team in training camp and has appeared in each of Nashville's first five games this season.
Smith had two goals and two assists in his first two games and is having little difficulty with the transition from college to the pros. A series of early road games helped facilitate the ...