Ex-Shark sings new tune

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

SAN JOSE -- Mark Smith is kind of like a chameleon.

Well, minus his trademark multi-coloured hair, usually spruced up in some toned-down form of a mohawk.

While the newest member of the Calgary Flames blended in with any linemates in any role during a half-dozen seasons in San Jose, his unique hairstyles always made him stand out in the Sharks dressing room.

"He shows up with the wackiest hair," former teammate Kyle McLaren said yesterday before the Sharks and Flames squared off in their pre-season finale at the HP Pavilion late last night. "Any colour, any day.

"I don't know who did his hair here, but almost every two weeks, it was something different.

"The towels in the shower got his colour pretty quick."

You name the shade, it's probably been part of Smith's 'do at some point. Often at the same time. After his signing was announced yesterday, Flames Red might make its way to his lid in the near future.

But the versatile forward -- who moonlights as a musician with his band, The Vinyl Trees -- showed up at the Shark Tank yesterday with only one pigmentation on his head. His natural dark brown hair.

"I was just kind of surprised when I saw him today that his hair was all one colour," said the Flames' Wayne Primeau, who also played with Smith in San Jose.

"I don't know, we'll see. I like to keep people guessing," Smith said with a smile after taking the morning skate with just a handful of the visitors yesterday. "I might just shave my head this year and be done with it."

The natural centre -- turned loose by the Sharks over the summer and cut by the New York Rangers earlier this week after a free-agent tryout led only to the offer of a two-way contract -- can play all three forward positions. He has made his living in third- and fourth-line roles, causing havoc and providing energy, but also filled in on scoring lines at times.

He's played alongside Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo and ground it out with checkers Mike Grier and Curtis Brown.

On the road, teammates are occasionally treated to acoustic solos from the talented musician who has mastered the didgeridoo among other interesting instruments heard on his album, Pura Vida.

"He's a rock star," said Grier with a laugh. "No, he's good, he's a laid back guy. I think people kind of get the misconception of him that he doesn't take hockey serious, but he does."


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