Flames G Smith returns to practice; no timetable for return


Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith practiced Tuesday for the first time since being sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered Feb. 11, though there is still no timetable for his return to game action.

Smith didn't travel with the team on its trip to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins on Monday night because of the flu, but he joined Calgary in Buffalo on Tuesday to take part in optional skate.

The Flames play the Sabres on Wednesday night.

"It was nice to get back with the guys," Smith told reporters. "Obviously it's been a while since I practiced. I've been working with [goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet] a little bit and felt it was time to test it with live shooters and some different situations. It was good.

"There's still some soreness involved, but I think with any injury there's going to be that when you push it a little harder. It's taking it day by day and hopefully get a little bit better here and get back in the lineup soon."

Smith, who turns 36 later this month, is 23-16-6 this season with a 2.53 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. In his absence, rookies David Rittich and Jon Gillies have split the starting job.

The Flames are 3-6-2 since Smith was injured and 32-25-10 overall, good for fifth in the Pacific Division (74 points). They sit three points out of the West's final playoff spot.

Smith didn't offer a prediction for when he could return.

"I'm the first one to tell you I want to be back in there tomorrow," he said. "But I think I need some time to get with the team, practicing, up to speed here. I'll know when the time is right."

--Field Level Media

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