Smith-Pelly failed to meet certain conditioning standards at Caps training camp, a person with knowledge of the situation told Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.
Capitals head coach Todd Reirden wouldn't confirm this, but hinted towards such last week.
"He’s still trying to get to the level where he was at last year, and until he does, it doesn’t do us any good as a team or for him to be playing in games," Reirden said.
When asked if Smith-Pelly would be ready for the season opener on Oct. 3, Reirden said it's "day to day in terms of how he's progressing."
This isn't the first time Smith-Pelly has dealt with conditioning issues. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said heading into last year's training camp that Smith-Pelly's conditioning level and work ethic was "a little inconsistent." Former Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien also publicly called him out for the same issues during his tenure in Montreal, according to The Athletic's Arpon Basu.
Smith-Pelly doesn't seem to think his absence from preseason action will be an issue once the games count.
"It was a short summer," Smith-Pelly said last week, according to Khurshudyan. "I'm not going to make any excuse or anything, but a short summer, a little different. … I don't think it's really a story. I don’t think it's really a thing. I think Todd would probably tell you the same thing. It's not really a big deal. I'm doing what I have to do to be ready for when it really matters."
Smith-Pelly was sensational during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup last spring, potting seven goals in 24 postseason games, including a remarkable game-tying tally in the Game 5 clincher.
The 26-year-old signed a one-year, $1-million contract with the Capitals this summer.
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