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Jeremy Colliton: Blackhawks plan to move Barry Smith back Director of Player Evaluation role

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There’s no timeline yet on when the move will happen.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton won’t be babysat for much longer.

Colliton, who was promoted from the AHL in November after the Blackhawks fired Joel Quenneville, said Saturday that assistant coach Barry Smith will eventually move back to the front office as Director of Player Evaluation. It’s unknown when Smith will officially leave his post as assistant coach.

Sheldon Brookbank served as an assistant coach for Collition in the AHL last season and under interim Rockford head coach Derek King before being promoted to the NHL coaching staff Friday. Brookbank, who the Stanley Cup as a player in 2013 with Chicago, worked with defensemen and the penalty kill unit for the IceHogs.

Smith has been an assistant coach for more than 30 years and won five Stanley Cups: two with Pittsburgh in the 1990s and three more with Detroit between 1997 and 2002. Scotty Bowman, the Blackhawks senior advisor for hockey operations and father of general manager Stan Bowman, was the head coach for those Detroit teams.

Smith was the source of one of the more well-known incidents between Quenneville and the younger Bowman in 2012. Smith reportedly started appearing at practices, focusing on work with the power play, which led to a furious Quenneville confronting Stan Bowman because the head coach was never informed or approved of the addition to his practices.

The Blackhawks bringing Smith back into the coaching ranks looked murky, but now it appears things have cleared up and Colliton will be able to build his own staff.