Craig Smith sent to Milwaukee on a conditioning stint…

Craig Smith (Sarah Fuqua)

Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith is headed to the Milwaukee Admirals on a conditioning assignment.

Smith has struggled with consistency this season. He has nine points in 30 games, was recently benched (and then scratched in the following game) after failing to clear the puck in the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and has a team worst minus-11 rating.

The Madison, Wisconsin, native is supremely talented. That was evident when he started off the 2011-12 season with 24 points in his first 31 NHL games. If he can embrace the conditioning assignment the same way that Matt Halischuk did a couple weeks back, he could regain his confidence and become an integral part of the Nashville offense during the stretch run.

Halischuk had one point in 16 games before his conditioning stint. Once in Milwaukee, he posted three points in two games and earned an immediate recall. His first three games back at the NHL level? Three points.

Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck explains HERE what all goes into a “conditioning assignment.”

Smith will wear number 16 with the Admirals.

The official press release is below.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 22, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has assigned forward Craig Smith to Milwaukee (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. Smith remains on Nashville’s active roster during the conditioning stint.

Smith, 23 (9/5/89), has nine points (3g-6a) in 30 games this season for Nashville, with all but one of those points (an assist) coming in his last 15 games. The Madison, Wis., native has played in 102 career NHL contests, but has yet to appear in an American Hockey League game.

After defeating the Calgary Flames last night 5-3 in front of a sold out Bridgestone Arena crowd, the Predators are back in action tomorrow, taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. (FSTN, 1675 HD, 28 SD and 102.5 FM The Game) for a Hockey Fights Cancer matchup. There will be several opportunities throughout the night for fans to donate to pediatric cancer research.  Fans can also text CHILDREN to 27722 to donate $10. One hundred percent of the money collected at the game will benefit the Nashville Predators Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Limited tickets are still available and may be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena box office, through all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com, nashvillepredators.com and (615) 770-7800.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)