Ben Smith has to return to Chicago at some point for the rest of his belongings.
Smith was so rushed after being traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to the San Jose Sharks on Monday that he only had time to throw a limited amount of possessions into his luggage before departing for the airport. He made sure to include his passport and a couple suits, but most things remained in Chicago.
Smith was just catching his breath Wednesday after a couple nonstop days. He learned of the trade following the Blackhawks’ morning skate Monday, quickly said his goodbyes, rushed home, rushed to the airport, flew into San Francisco, was given a police escort to San Jose, arrived to the arena, threw on his new uniform, played in the game and then scored. That was Monday. Tuesday, he and the Sharks played in Vancouver.
“It’s been a crazy 48 hours,” the 26-year-old Smith said on a conference call with Chicago reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve enjoyed it so far.”
Smith didn’t receive any indication he would be traded, but he didn't assume anything. He has welcomed the change of scenery. He was having a frustrating season with the Blackhawks. He had five goals and nine points in 61 games and was made a healthy scratch for one game. He was on a 28-game scoring drought when he was traded.
Smith snapped that slumps within seven minutes of his first game with the Sharks. He also added an assist on the day.
“It felt good,” Smith said. “Yeah, goals and points were tough to come by for me this year in Chicago. Hopefully a fresh start, a new team will change that. I can start putting some points up. The big thing is winning games, trying to do the small things that help the team win games. I’m going to stay committed to that. At the same, try to produce more now that I’m here in San Jose.”
Smith had spent his entire career with the Blackhawks. He was drafted by them in the sixth round in 2008, spent a majority of three seasons with their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, and finally earned himself a full-time NHL spot last season.
Smith had only positive things to say about his time with the Blackhawks.
“It’s a first-rate organization, a lot of great people, a lot of great memories,” Smith said. “The team had a lot of success. They’re a lot of great players there. I have nothing but great things to say about Chicago, the city of Chicago, the Chicago Blackhawks organization. I’m very grateful to be a part of that team in Rockford and Chicago for parts of five seasons.
“You have to understand the business side of it. It’s very rare for guys to spend their whole careers in one organization. When I heard the news that I was traded, it was one of those things you have to look ahead and try and make impact with the San Jose Sharks. I’m excited for the possibilities.”
Smith won’t have to wait too long to face his old teammates. The Blackhawks travel to play the Sharks on March 14.
“I saw that’s coming up,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to that game. I’ve talked to all the guys I played with in Chicago that have moved on, and it’s always exciting to play your former team, and it’ll be my first opportunity of that. That should be fun.
"I’m not looking too far ahead. We’ve got a few games before that, but that’s one day you circle on the calendar when you see what’s upcoming.”