Jan 23, 2013, 11:10 PM EST
Mike Smith allowed 10 goals overall in the Phoenix Coyotes’ first two games of the season, but he didn’t leave Wednesday’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets because of a poor performance.
The big goalie won’t return to the game after suffering a lower-body injury in the first period, AZ Central’s Sarah McLellan reports. Backup Jason LaBarbera, 36, took over for the Coyotes’ workhorse in this game.
It’s unclear how serious Smith’s injury is just yet.
A troubling history
Many came into this season wondering if the 30-year-old netminder could show the consistency he did in a breakthrough 2011-12 campaign, but it’s easy to forget that injuries have arguably been his biggest hurdle.
His time with the Tampa Bay Lightning was marred by health problems. Smith managed seasons of 42, 41 and 22 games played with the Bolts before Phoenix’s career-high 67 contests last season.
There’s a lot on the line for the goalie and his team. Smith is in a contract year, so another strong season could strengthen the argument that he didn’t just have a lucky campaign. Meanwhile, as much magic as Dave Tippett has managed, it’s hard to imagine the Coyotes approaching last year’s surprising run with LaBarbera as the No.1 guy.
Phoenix is already 0-2-0 with this game against Columbus still in action, yet the team’s rocky start could get much uglier if this situation goes wrong.
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- Leafs captain Phaneuf suspended two games for boarding 32
- Rangers confirm Staal suffered concussion 6
- Winnipeg to get outdoor game; Phoenix wants one 32
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 156
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 102
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 132
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 90
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (132)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (111)