BERLIN - A very welcomed sight greeted the Blackhawks in Berlin on Friday afternoon as Kirby Dach emerged from the players' tunnel with the rest of his teammates to partake in his first full practice of Training Camp.
The No. 3 overall pick had missed the opening two weeks of on-ice sessions after being put into concussion protocol following Chicago's final game at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament on Sept. 10. While he's not expected to play on the Europe trip, Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman told reporters earlier this week it was a good step to get Dach on the ice again with the full squad.
"It was good. I missed a couple weeks there and I'm excited to get back out and get my legs under me and skate with the guys," Dach said. "I'm just trying to enjoy this trip. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and I'm just excited to be here."
"It's great," head coach Jeremy Colliton added. "The more time he spends around us, the easier it's going to get for him and he'll adjust with the speed and that's what having him part of the full group today was a good step for him."
The Blackhawks are in no rush to make a decision whether to make Dach a full-time NHLer this season or assign him back to the WHL's Saskatoon Blades for one more year. Despite the frustration of not being able to take part from the beginning of his first NHL Training Camp, Chicago's staff has assured the 18-year-old there's no need to rush back to action.
"Obviously it's a little bit frustrating getting set back by an injury right away but I know that I have to take my health serious and the coaching staff here, the management and the medical staff have done a great job of guiding me through this process," Dach said. "I'm just taking it day by day and trying to get better and obviously happy to get out there with the guys and skate with them today."