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Coyotes' Mike Smith skates, game-time decision for Coyotes

Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 7:21 PM / News
By Tim Cronin  - NHL.com correspondent

CHICAGO -- Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith took part in the Coyotes' light morning skate Tuesday, but there was no word from him or coach Dave Tippett on whether Smith or Jason LaBarbara would be in goal when Phoenix faced the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

"It's a game-time decision," Tippett said, extending that to center Martin Hanzal as well.

Smith's status went from his self-proclaimed "100 percent" to questionable when he was held out of the Coyotes' practice on Monday. 

Tippett, displeased with a string of questions about Smith, finally said, "We don't have to tell everybody why a player practices or not."

Smith, hit behind the net in a shoulder-to-chin check by Chicago's Andrew Shaw in Game 2, was not made available for comment. Shaw was suspended for three games on Tuesday afternoon.

If LaBarbara plays, the Coyotes will hardly miss a beat. His 3-9-3 regular season record is deceiving, with his 2.54 goals-against average more indicative of his play. In his only appearance against Chicago this season, he stopped 30 of 35 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Hawks on Oct. 18.

"I know LaBarbera's played well against the Hawks a few times in his career," Chicago center Patrick Sharp said. "I don't think it changes it too much, to be honest with you."

Hanzal (lower body) participated in the two-on-two drills, but left wing Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) is out, Tippett said. He was in workout clothes and didn't take part in the skate.

Shaw, who will be eligible to return for a potential Game 6 of the series, is expected to be replaced by Michael Frolik at right wing on the Hawks' third line.