CALGARY, Alberta — Ben Smith had a big smile across his face when the media cornered him in the Blackhawks locker room at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Must feel good to be back in the NHL, right?
“Yes, it feels very good,” Smith said after rejoining the Hawks for their morning skate Friday.
With Michael Frolik out with a should injury, Smith will be slotted on the third line with center Dave Bolland and winger Bryan Bickell. Smith had six goals and 10 points in nine games with the Rockford IceHogs before being recalled Thursday after Rostislav Olesz cleared waivers and was sent down.
It’s believed Smith, one of the Hawks’ playoff heroes last year, would have made the Hawks out of training camp if he didn’t suffer a concussion against the Detroit Red Wings in a late preseason game.
“It is what it is, and it’s obviously how I didn’t envision things going,” said Smith, who scored three goals in the Hawks’ first-round series against the Canucks last year. “You take everything in stride and work hard everyday. I did everything I could to try and get back. It worked out today, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow and the day after that.”
As far as his concussion, Smith said he’s “feeling great.” Smith was checked in his head by Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith, who was suspended eight games for the hit.
“It’s been seven or eight weeks now since the injury, and I’m definitely feeling ready to go,” Smith said. “I went down there, worked hard and I’m just excited to be here today.”
Defenseman Brent Seabrook, as expected, won’t play against the Flames Friday. He’s also doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Oilers. He didn’t participate in the Hawks’ morning skate at the Saddledome.
Coach Joel Quenneville said the hope is that he can return during the California portion of the circus trip next week.