Coyotes associate coach Barry Smith confirmed Wednesday he has been contacted by a Russian hockey club in St. Petersburg about possibly becoming its next head coach and said he would consider the offer if he is not brought back by the Coyotes.
“It’s nice to have someone check up on you,” Smith said.
“I said, 'I’ll get you an answer back when my season is over here.’ They (Coyotes owners) have to evaluate us, what we’re doing. Things are up in the air right now.”
Coyotes CEO Jeff Shumway has said all coaches and members of the front office will be interviewed and evaluated after the season and promised changes will be made.
Smith, who has two years left on his contract, said his preference is to remain with Phoenix.
“I would like to stay and try and rebuild the situation that we started,” he said.
“What I’ll do is sit down after the season and try to weigh the issues and see what the parameters are. Right now it’s hard to say (what will happen). It’s hard to put one against the other, and I have to negotiate with the Russian club.”
Smith has been coach Wayne Gretzky’s right-hand man since joining the Coyotes last season.
He has been a member of five Stanley Cup-winning teams (three with Detroit, two with Pittsburgh), and his career has also included stops in Europe and at the collegiate level.
Avalanche at Coyotes
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Jobing.com Arena
TV: FSN Arizona
Radio: KDUS (1060 AM)
Records: Colorado 39-30-7, Phoenix 29-42-5
Line: Colorado 170-200
Series history: Phoenix is 1-2-0 this season and trails 32-42-12-2 overall, including 16-20-7-0 at home.
Avalanche — Colorado is chasing Calgary for the final playoff spot in the West. The Avalanche are playing their best hockey of the season — they have won 10 of 13 and earned points in 12 of those games — but still trail the Flames by seven points with six games remaining. Center Paul Stastny, who earlier this month set a rookie record with a 20-game point streak, has no points in his past five games. Center Joe Sakic leads the club with 34 goals and 90 points. Defenseman Karlis Skrastins (knee sprain) is day-to-day while defensemen Patrice Brisebois (herniated disc, surgery), Jordan Leopold (fractured wrist) and center Pierre Turgeon (calf) are on injured reserve.
Coyotes — Phoenix is coming off a 6-0 loss at Dallas and is just 2-9-2 this month. Shane Doan has two goals and three points in as many games vs. Colorado this season. He needs two goals to reach 200 for his career and is four shy of his second straight 30-goal season. Goalie Curtis Joseph, who is expected to start, is three wins from tying Terry Sawchuk for fourth on the all-time wins list with 447. The Coyotes have six games to try to get him there this season.