DETROIT - It didn’t feel like a homecoming for Coyotes associate coach Barry Smith when he walked into Joe Louis Arena on Friday, but it was the next best thing.
"I haven’t sold my home here, so it is a second home," Smith said.
Smith spent 11 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and won three Stanley Cups before joining the Coyotes this season. After entering "The Joe" as a visitor for the first time since his Red Wings tenure ended, Smith said, "It’s sort of fun right now. I don’t have any remorse about my 11 years at all. I had a great time. I’m over with it. I have a lot of friends here, and I’m looking forward to the game (today)."
Center Boyd Devereaux and goalie Curtis Joseph are also former Red Wings, having spent the last four and two seasons in Detroit, respectively.
Devereaux, who was on the 2002 Stanley Cup winning team, said "it’s a little unusual" to be in the visiting locker room. But he added, the Red Wings "are a different team than the one I played on. There are new faces. Definitely the year off put some distance between any memories I had of the Wings. Curtis Joseph They’re great memories here I can always look fondly on, but my focus is here (with the Coyotes) right now."
Joseph was injured for much of his time in Detroit and said what he remembered most about his time in Hockeytown were the relationships he had with his teammates.
"I remember mostly the camaraderie you had with the guys on your team at practices and joking around and stuff," he said.
Phoenix signed left wing Steve Gainey to a one-year NHL contract for the league minimum of $450,000 and called him up from San Antonio as insurance in case left wing Geoff Sanderson can’t play today.
Sanderson suffered a bruised knee after being hit by a puck in Thursday’s win over Los Angeles. Sanderson did not skate Friday but said, "I’d be very surprised if I can’t play tomorrow."
Gainey (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) is the son of Hall of Famer Bob Gainey and was first on the Rampage in goals (six), assists (six) and points. The 25-year-old has played in 13 games split over three seasons, all with the Dallas Stars.
Gainey, who practiced with the team here Friday, will likely remain with Phoenix for a while since he would have to clear waivers first before being sent down. The Coyotes feel there is a good chance he would be claimed by another team. With his addition Phoenix has 21 players on its 23-man active roster.
Left wing Tyson Nash (sore hip) sat out practice and will be a game-time decision. . . . Goalie Brian Boucher, who is recovering from a right groin injury, aggravated scar tissue in the area during a rehab assignment Wednesday with San Antonio. But general manager Mike Barnett said team doctors believe Boucher simply stretched the tissue, and he is expected to play tonight for the Rampage.
Coyotes at Red Wings
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
TV: KASW (Ch. 61)
Radio: KDKB (93.3 FM), KDUS (1060 AM)
Records: Phoenix 6-8-1, Detroit 12-1-1
Line: Red Wings 240-280
Series history: Phoenix dropped the first meeting this season 2-0 at home on Oct. 15 and trail 35-44-22-0 all-time, including 18-25-8-0 on the road.
Scouting report: Coyotes — Phoenix is coming off its best performance of the season, a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, and has won three of its past five. Since moving to Phoenix for the 1996-97 campaign, the Coyotes have had quite a bit of success in Detroit, going 7-6 with four ties. Left wing Mike Leclerc leads Phoenix with six goals while defenseman Paul Mara has a team high 10 assists.
Red Wings — Detroit has the most victories (12) and points (25) in the league, is tops in power play and penalty kill and had won nine straight before falling Thursday to Edmonton in overtime. Both its losses have come at home. Goalie Manny Legace, the NHL Defensive Player of the Month in October, is day to day with a sprained knee, and Chris Osgood is expected to start. Defensemen Jason Woolley (groin) and Niklas Kronwall (knee) are out. Center Jason Williams leads the team with 13 assists and 18 points.