Despite relative unknown Chad Johnson's shutout of the Nashville Predators on Monday, it's clear that the Phoenix Coyotes want goalie Mike Smith back on the ice. The big netminder might just be able to return to action from a lower-body injury in the near future, according to the team.

Head coach Dave Tippett was particularly optimistic after seeing him practice Wednesday.

"I'd be surprised if he's not ready by the weekend," Tippett said.

The 30-year-old goalie is eligible to be activated from the injured reserve on Friday. Phoenix has back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars on Friday and Saturday, so perhaps he can get in at least one of those contests.