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Could Mike Smith be Canada’s next Olympic goalie?

Apr 30, 2012, 4:46 PM EDT

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 27: Mike Smith #41 of the Phoenix Coyotes makes his way to the ice for warm-ups prior to facing the Nashville Predators in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 27, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Pretty interesting tidbit from the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk in his column on Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.

Amidst all the praise from various folk within the organization — Shane Doan called Smith “the most valuable player to his team in the league,” — comes this nugget from ‘Yotes head coach Dave Tippett:

Even if you’re not prepared to proclaim Smith one of the top three goaltenders in the world’s best league, certainly you’d have to concede he’s the hottest with a Canadian passport. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett has said Smith will “certainly be in the conversation” for the role of netminder should Team Canada be in the market for an NHL goalie en route to the 2014 Olympics.

“I mean, it’s a long ways off here still—there’s still a lot of games to be played between (now and then),” Tippett said. “He’s willed our team into the playoffs and he’s willed us to a first series win.”

Lately, the goaltending position has been cause for concern north of the 49th parallel. (Yes, I know the Olympics are two years away. But this is Canada, we fixate on these kinds of things.)

Why the concern? Consider the following…

– Of the last 12 Vezina nominees, only three (Steve Mason, Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo) were Canadian.

– Canada’s three goalies from the 2010 Olympics: Brodeur will be 41 by the time of the Sochi Games, Luongo’s been supplanted as Vancouver’s No. 1 and Marc-Andre Fleury is coming off the worst postseason of his life.

– This comes at a time when:

So…back to Canada.

If we were to go on current form, Smith would probably be on a shortlist that includes Fleury, Luongo, Carey Price, Cam Ward and Brian Elliott. (I’d love to throw Braden Holtby and Jonathan Bernier on the list, but their bodies of work are awfully small.)

It’s not exactly a murderer’s row of talent, and it begs the question: Could Smith really be the guy?

If things keep going the way they are, you’d have to say yes.

  1. dsd3 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    No. I’d go Price or Luongo over him, no question.

  2. alecitrullo10 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Carey Price will be the guy…Cam Ward number 2….Smith needs more then this season and playoffs to be taken seriously…

  3. bowens3181 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Right now you’d still be crazy to not have at least Price, Ward, Fleury and Luongo ahead of Smith. That being said it wouldn’t shock me to see Smith continue to get better and overtake those guys. Watching him as a kid in Dallas I always thought he was going to be something special, and I feel like he is finally proving me right.

    Side note: I get the point you are trying to make by comparing the Canadian goalies with those of other countries, but the rest of team Canada’s team is just so far out f everyone else’s league, the goalies might not even make that big of a difference. Also, if you were trying to make the other teams goalies sound intimidating, listing the Russian goalies sure didn’t help your argument, because (and this is coming from a Flyers fan) Bryz, Bob and Varlamov are not scaring ANYONE

    • dsd3 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      Varlamov is a very good goalie, and so is Bryz on a good day.

  4. phillyphever - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    The Americans project a four-man battle between Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard and Cory Schneider. (PHT Note: Wow.)

    Quick’s gonna be the starter for the US by 2014. I take Scheider and Howard as my backups.

    • maalea - May 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      Miller has to be one of the top 2 US goalies.

      I think Howard is a half step below. Quick and Schneider need a little more seasoning. That said if Quick takes LA to the finals, He may be the man.

      Miller and Quick would be a hell of a tandem. Whoever is number 3 is unimportant.

      • phillyphever - May 1, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        IDK, Miller’s play has dropped off some since Crosby scored on him in OT in the gold medal game. If Quick repeats this season next year, he’s the starter no question. Schneider and Howard can adjust to being backups. I don’t think Miller can.

  5. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Guy’s had one good year. If he can keep playing like this he will definitely be in the mix, but Price/Luongo are the main tandem right now and Ward or maybe Fleury is the #3.

    • dsd3 - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Fleury should be like #293842038.

  6. t16rich - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Still have a full season before any Olympic camps are put on, so time will tell, but playing like this, yes he will.

  7. pavelfitzgerald - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    The Russian goalie comparison did nothing for your arguement, it actually hurts it. Let’s not get carried away with Mike Smith – he’s had one good season, don’t forget about all the average-bad ones before that.

    • Mike Halford - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Just throwing it out there, friend. I guess Nabokov could theoretically be in the mix as well (even though he’d be old) and that Bobkov kid Anaheim drafted might be on his way…

  8. muttbolts - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Are you really asking this question?

  9. itsallniceonice - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    First thing that comes to mind when Mike Smith is mentioned is this http://youtu.be/q4m4VJNr-t0

  10. spavs412 - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    MAF has to make it. Ya our team collapses in front of him this year in the playoffs but when when of those other guys win a game 7 on the road they can start. Fleury will bounce back he did win 40 games or something this year. I’m sure with an all star d in front of him Canada gets gold.

    • dsd3 - May 1, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      Bwahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahahah

  11. spavs412 - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Remember how great bryz was in Phx? Now look at him it’s a product of the system and D in front of him. Write that down

  12. pavelfitzgerald - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Hey Mike, I get it’s a slow day, your doing your job & just trying to stir up conversation but I just didn’t think the Russians were overwhelming. You were actually just building on the article that was written. Just my way of respectfully disagreeing. By the way, I think it’s awesome that you guys interact with the commentators. Keep up the good work !!

  13. herbiecane - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    As a Hurricanes fan, I’ll back Cam Ward as arguably as good a big-game goaltender as you’re going to get.
    As an American, I hope you stick with Luongo…

  14. comeonnowguys - May 1, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Does the Olympic game allow for flopping?

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