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SMITH READY TO FACE FORMER TEAM

The netminder is slated to face the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Over the course of his career, Mike Smith has dressed for 474 regular seasons contests in the NHL. Of those games, 312 - or a little over 65% - have been for the Arizona Coyotes.

In six of those nearly 500 games - including his NHL debut - Smith has faced the then-Phoenix Coyotes. They aren't a brand new opponent.

But when the Flames host the Coyotes on Friday night for an exhibition contest, it will be the first time since Nov. 16, 2009 that Smith will be on the opposite end of the rink from Arizona.

"I think that was talked about before, just, did I want to play this game?" Smith said. "And my answer was obviously, you know, yes I do. At this time of the year especially, because obviously it doesn't mean much."

This game should be good preparation for Nov. 30, 2017 - the first time Smith will face off against the Coyotes in a meaningful game the record books will remember.

Arizona originally acquired Smith on July 1, 2011 in free agency. He played six seasons for the Coyotes before being traded to the Flames, which is the 35-year-old's fourth NHL team. He has also played for the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning.

"There's a mental aspect to it when you've been in a city for so long, there's definitely a mental part of it that you kind of want to get over early in the season," Smith said. "And I've been through this before with moving from Tampa to Arizona and then having to play them, and playing against your friends and stuff like that.

"So I think I wanna try to get this addressed right away and have some fun with it but try and push the pre-season forward and keep improving."

One of Smith's new teammates, Troy Brouwer, is familiar with having to face off against the team he used to play for. Like Smith, the Flames are Brouwer's fourth NHL team, as well.

"I've got three former teams and pretty comfortable against most of them by now but that first game back, it's always tough because there are guys that you played with, you're friends with, your families are friends," Brouwer said.

"So for him maybe to get it out in pre-season will be beneficial for him."

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