Jan 23, 2013, 11:10 PM EDT
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.
May 25, 2013, 11:54 PM EDT
It might be tough to gauge the right price for him.
May 25, 2013, 11:37 PM EDT
That phrase is more fun than “turning the other cheek.”
May 25, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT
Just ask Bryan Bickell.
May 25, 2013, 10:57 PM EDT
Did Chicago just flip the switch?
May 25, 2013, 10:42 PM EDT
He’s clearly embracing the role of underdog.
May 25, 2013, 10:29 PM EDT
He’s been the head coach of AHL Toronto since 2009.
May 25, 2013, 10:20 PM EDT
Detroit’s goalie made some especially challenging ones.
May 25, 2013, 10:06 PM EDT
May 25, 2013, 9:36 PM EDT
At least he’s still rich and handsome.
May 25, 2013, 9:07 PM EDT
He also thinks the Rangers faced an identity crisis.
May 25, 2013, 8:54 PM EDT
No other defenseman has four goals in first five playoff games.
May 25, 2013, 8:34 PM EDT
Jarome Iginla’s name might come up.
May 25, 2013, 8:14 PM EDT
Torey Krug might eat for free in Boston.
May 25, 2013, 7:07 PM EDT
He took a puck and maybe a stick to the kisser.
May 25, 2013, 6:37 PM EDT
Impressive flash of the glove by Hank.
May 25, 2013, 6:21 PM EDT
New York Rangers forward was stirring the pot for a while.
May 25, 2013, 5:31 PM EDT
Looks like Dougie Hamilton is the odd man out.
May 25, 2013, 5:09 PM EDT
He’s been out with a broken hand.
May 25, 2013, 4:17 PM EDT
He avoided a fight in Game 4.
May 25, 2013, 3:07 PM EDT
Desperation calls for tinkering.
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