By Ben Meyer-Abbott email@example.com
Ben Smith practiced Monday for the first time since last Wednesday as he continued in his recovery from a concussion suffered Sept. 28.
“Felt pretty good,” Smith said about getting back on the ice with his teammates. “It’s as it’s been all along, kind of seeing day-in, day-out how it’s going and it’s just one more step to getting back with the guys.”
Smith wasn’t cleared for contact Monday and sat out some drills as he and the Blackhawks remained cautious about the pace of pushing his return to the lineup.
Smith missed the first two games of the regular season after missing the final two exhibition contests of the Hawks’ preseason schedule following a hit to the head by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith, who was suspended for eight games.
“It’s tough watching games,” Smith said. “In college I never missed a game, so that was kind of something I took pride in. But you can’t really mess with your head. Injuries to your arms or legs, it’s different. It’s frustrating, but at the same time you want to be 100 percent when you come back. That’s my goal and that’s what I’ve been working toward, whether I’m here or back home I’m doing everything I can to be back to 100 percent.”
Joel Quenneville said there was no timetable for when Smith could be cleared for full contact.
“He’s progressing real well,” Quenneville said. “Things have been better the last few days and a couple more days in a row here and maybe we get an indication of exactly when he can play.”
Smith did not travel to Dallas with the team for the season opener. He remained in Chicago along with Dave Bolland, who Smith said spoke with about how to handle his injury.
Bolland missed the final 14 games of the regular season and first three postseason games last year with a concussion.
“We talked a bit about it and he just said, ‘Hey take your time. Make sure you’re 100 percent,’ ” Smith said. “You’ve seen the way he’s comeback from these types of things, especially last year and obviously he’s been doing the right things to be back. So he’s definitely someone I listen to.”