Trevor Smith had some adjustment problems as a young Islanders prospect under Jack Capuano, his coach with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers five years ago. “It was just a tough transition for me, coming out of college (University of New Hampshire),” Smith said Tuesday night. “It was me, not him. Just so much emphasis on systems that (he struggled as a first-year pro).” Reluctantly, Capuano would have to say Smith has come far since then, bouncing around the NHL and AHL to a valued role with the centre-shortened Maple Leafs. Capuano watched as Smith had a three-point night in the 5-2 loss. Watching from the Toronto bench was Isles alumnist Scott Gordon, who was coaching New Year’s Eve 2008 when Smith played his first NHL game. His linemate was Doug Weight, now Capuano’s assistant. Speaking of high profile help, Smith is playing between Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson, at least until Nazem Kadri is activated Wednesday. The Marlie captain was summoned after injuries to Dave Bolland, Tyler Bozak and the Kadri suspension. “I’m just doing what I can, trying to help the guys win and be good defensively,” Smith said. “This was a lot of fun tonight, getting pucks deep, doing things we’ve been talking about.” What slump? When a reporter asked James van Riemsdyk Tuesday morning about Phil Kessel having one goal his past seven games, the forward was quick to point out Kessel had 10 in 20 games overall. Then he was in perfect position to see Kessel snap in two against the Isles. “Sometimes it comes in streaks ... it’s a long year,” van Riemsdyk reminded. “He had two pretty sweet releases out there tonight. He doesn’t need many chances to score. Twelve goals in 21 games now? I think that’s pretty good.” In addition to his 400th NHL point, the second goal tied Doug Gilmour and Nick Metz with 131 for 29th in team history.
Trevor Smith comes up big in Maple Leafs 5-2 win over Islanders
Toronto Sun | Nov 20