Dec 3, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Smitty say relax?
While it’s not quite Frankie going to Hollywood, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is going into Edmonton on Tuesday with a new “chilled-out” mindset, hoping to snap a rough patch that’s seen Phoenix lose four of five.
“(I’m) just going to go into the next game a lot more relaxed and start enjoying it again,” Smith told the Arizona Republic. “I’ve been pressing a bit and trying to maybe play the perfect game, and it’s kind of affected the way I’ve played a bit.”
“Not awful, but I feel one or two goals here or there and the game can change.”
Smith, 31, has allowed 18 goals in his last five starts and has seen his GAA balloon to 3.07 and save percentage drop to .910. Though his record is still solid — 12-6-4 — it’s clear he’s not playing up to the level that earned him a six-year, $34 million extension this past summer.
To be fair to Smith, this season is unlike any other. He’s facing the weight of a big contract for the first time in his career — he’d never neared more than $2.2 million annually, but now makes $5.6M — and is facing Olympic pressure as well, projected to be one of the three goalies named to Team Canada for Sochi.
That said, Smith is only projected as the No. 3 (behind Roberto Luongo and Carey Price) and there appears to be competition for that third gig, as Corey Crawford and Cam Ward have played extremely well lately.
(There’s also the not-so-small issue of Dave Tippett’s system in Phoenix being perceived as favorable for goalies — Smith, Ilya Bryzgalov and even Jason LaBarbera have all thrived in it.)
Regardless, Smith says he knows what the problem is — he’s trying to let pucks hit him, rather than trying to challenge shooters and make saves.
“I can’t play like that,” he said. “I’m a freelancer and just go out there and enjoy the game and just have that mentality, ‘Come on, beat me with a shot.’
“Right now, it’s almost like I’m trying to go get it. Having that urge to do that obviously can turn and go the other way.”
Oct 21, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT
After watching the first five games of the season from the press box.
Oct 21, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT
‘Canes the only winless team in the league.
Oct 21, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
For example, a really tough upcoming schedule. (But also goaltending and that defense.)
Oct 21, 2014, 3:43 PM EDT
“It’s adversity for us but we’re going to come through it,” says Jarrett Stoll.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT
News and notes from around the blue paint…
Oct 21, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT
“I don’t think there’s any question that we’re behind what the league has done.”
Oct 21, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT
Click to hear what those “values” entailed.
Oct 21, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT
Former Coyote faces his former team tonight.
Oct 21, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Still no timeline for his return.
Oct 21, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT
Could Devan Dubnyk take a run at Mike Smith’s job?
Oct 21, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Pretty strong vote of confidence right there.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT
Scott Darling recalled from AHL Rockford.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
Skating on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:49 AM EDT
The flip-side being…what if they lose?
Oct 21, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
“It’s something I really want to see,” said head coach Lindy Ruff.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT
Another addition to the front office.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
The top 2015 draft prospect has impressed the Islanders’ superstar.
Oct 21, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT
He had been recovering from shoulder surgery.
Oct 21, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT
Both players have missed the start of the season.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:33 AM EDT
And they’ll face Antti Raanta in goal.
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