DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings aren’t known for having players that fight on their roster.
And after what happened to Brendan Smith, fighting may be forbidden from this point on for any player in that locker room.
Smith returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last six days with an infection in his left hand from a fight he had with Columbus’ Nick Foligno in the third period of a Wings’ 5-0 win.
“I think I hit Foligno in the mouth and apparently there’s a lot of bacteria in the mouth so I ended up getting infected that way,” Smith said. “It was just a fluke incident. Sometimes it can get cut open. A lot of times nothing will happen but it was just unlucky that time.”
The fight was the Wings’ only one of the season.
Smith had surgery to clean out the wound and is on antibiotics.
“It was pretty bad,” said Smith, who did finish the game. “It wasn’t until the morning. It kind of woke me up and it was swollen and throbbing a little bit.”
Detroit is behind Chicago, Florida and New Jersey for fewest fighting majors in the league. Each of those teams have three.
“You can’t really, it’s so split-second kind of thing but I think at the end of the day, you just play the game hard,” Smith said when asked if he will think twice before dropping the gloves again. “If something happens, you answer the bell. Obviously you want to be aware of what you’re doing; you want to make sure you’re not going to get yourself hurt. You make sure that you’re not at the end of your shift when you’re tired so there’s a chance you’ll get hurt. These are all things that you’ve got to take into effect. It’s never going to stop me from being physical or anything.”
Smith is eligible to come off short-term injured reserve Wednesday, but it’s more likely he’ll miss his fourth straight game.
“I think I’ve been playing pretty well and all of a sudden a fluke incident like that gets me hurt,” Smith said. “It’s frustrating. But the other thing is it could be a lot worse. If we didn’t catch it and I played another game and got more stuff from my glove, it could have been a lot worse. I could have been out for a month. You can look at it as a blessing in disguise that our docs figured it out quick. It was one of those things, instead of taking one step forward, two steps back, we did the opposite. I’m pretty happy with how everything’s gone and obviously it is frustrating but it looks like I’ll be back soon as possible.”