We spent a few days in the hospital with my wife before she delivered the babies. Finally she delivered them on the 24th and it was the best feeling ever. It’s a great experience and it’s just still so surreal. - Ladislav Smid
CALGARY, AB -- The smile, spanning ear-to-ear, wasn’t because Ladislav Smid joined his Calgary Flames teammates on the ice for the first time in nearly a month. It was for what kept him away so long.
Ashley, Smid’s wife, gave birth to twins on Christmas Eve.
“It was kind of crazy,” said Smid, who hasn’t played since taking a high hit from Simon Depres in Calgary’s 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 12. “We spent a few days in the hospital with my wife before she delivered the babies. She had some trouble. Finally she delivered them on the 24th and it was the best feeling ever. It’s a great experience and it’s just still so surreal.”
Little Ladislav and Zoey arrived just in time for Christmas, well weeks ahead of their target date.
The twins are all in good health.
“They’re still in the hospital,” said Smid, adding Ashley is also well. “They were six weeks early so they are still in the NICU. We go watch them or cuddle them every day for five, six hours. The girl is doing awesome. The boy had a little bit of trouble at the beginning. He’s on the right track now. We’re so excited.
“They lost a little bit (of weight) the first week. The girl started to gain weight almost immediately after five, six days. The little guy still has some trouble. Yesterday he gained weight for the second time so hopefully he’s on the right track to get better.”
Smid, too, is in good health.
The defenceman has completely shaken off the symptoms of the Depres hit.
“I had some neck issues and some headaches. That’s all gone,” Smid said. “I’m getting better and better, working on some stuff at the gym. I lost some weight. I have to get back with that and also work on my conditioning. I think that’s not going to take too long.”
Smid’s absence in practice didn’t go unnoticed, though.
Calgary coach Bob Hartley joked that practice was noticeably quieter without the 28-year-old.
“Smid brings lots of life, lots of chirping,” Hartley said. “It’s always good. I told him on the ice, ‘I miss you’. I felt it was quiet at practice and I should’ve known better. It’s pretty good. Smid is a competitor. He’s a fun guy. It’s great.”
It was time to make his presence felt again, Smid suggested.
“I told him today that’s why he asked me to go with the team, a little bit ahead of schedule, because it was way too quiet, boring,” he said. “He wanted somebody to pick it up and that’s me.”
The real reason, though, was because the effects of Despres’ hit no longer linger.
The sour taste does, though.
“I thought it was a pretty cheap hit,” he said. “I can’t believe he didn’t get two minutes or five minutes. I thought it was clearly a hit to the head. I know I put myself into that position but I guess it’s alright. I don’t think even if you put yourself in the position they shouldn’t hit you in the head.
“I thought we were trying to get rid of these kinds of hits. It’s very dangerous. I’m still pretty sour about that.”
The sting, he’ll admit, is all but eliminated from the fact he’s a father for a first time.
It changes the perspective.
“Completely different,” Smid said. “Awesome experience. I can’t wait when they’re going to be in our house and we can take care of them full-time.”