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Sabres add Steve Smith as assistant coach

The Sabres have added a veteran to their existing coaching staff, hiring three-time Stanley Cup champion Steve Smith as an assistant coach two days after he resigned from a similar post with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Smith, 55, has been an NHL assistant for nine years and spent four years with the Canes. While in Carolina, he was in charge of the team's defensemen and penalty kill and the Canes allowed 28 shots per game, the second-fewest in the league over his tenure. Carolina's figure of 28.9 last season was the best in the NHL.

The Sabres allowed 32.7 shots per game last season, just 21st in the league, and were 22nd in the penalty kill at 77.9 percent.

Smith is an addition to the staff, as the Sabres have previously said they were retaining associate head coach Davis Payne as well as assistants Tom Ward, Chris Hajt and Andrew Allen.

Smith was a teammate of Sabres head coach Phil Housley while playing the final three years of his career with Calgary from 1998-2001, and almost certainly was brought on board to help with the development of No. 1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin.

Smith is a native of Glasgow, Scotland, who was a coach for Calgary in 1997-98, a scout for Chicago from 2008-2010 and an assistant in Edmonton from 2010-2014.

Smith played 804 NHL games for Edmonton, Chicago and Calgary, totaling 72 goals and 375 points. He added 11 goals and 52 points in 134 career playoff games.

(See Steve Smith's career stats here)

Smith won the Cup while with Edmonton in 1987, 1988 and 1990. Smith's lift of the Cup after Wayne Gretzky handed it to him following the Oilers' Game 7 triumph over Philadelphia in '87 was a major story around the NHL because of the way his 1985-86 rookie season ended.

With the Oilers and Flames locked in a 2-2 tie in Game 7 of the second round in Edmonton on April 30, 1986, Smith accidentally shot the puck off goalie Grant Fuhr and into his own net with about 15 minutes left in the third period. The goal stood up for a 3-2 Calgary win and Edmonton's bid for a Cup three-peat was ended in a year that saw Gretzky compile his NHL-record 215 points.

The gaffe came on Smith's 23rd birthday but he became known as a player able to overcome adversity and move on with his career for 15 more seasons.

 

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