Skip to content

Slumping Smith says he needs to relax

Dec 3, 2013, 1:00 PM EST

Mike Smith Getty Images

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.”

Latest Posts
  1. Flyers rally as Zepp wins his career debut at 33 years old

    Dec 22, 2014, 12:16 AM EST

    Philadelphia Flyers v Winnipeg Jets Getty Images

    He’s the oldest goalie to win his debut since Hugh Lehman in 1926.

  2. Hawks’ Raanta posts 31-save shutout over Leafs

    Dec 21, 2014, 10:07 PM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Toronto has lost three straight games.

  3. Oilers squander three-goal lead, lose 18th time in 19 games

    Dec 21, 2014, 9:42 PM EST

    Ben Scrivens AP

    Will this be the worst season Edmonton has ever had?

  4. Pickard makes one last bid to stay, beats Wings in nine-round SO

    Dec 21, 2014, 9:09 PM EST

    Calvin Pickard, Justin Abdelkader AP

    Varlamov is expected to be back on Tuesday.

  5. Oilers chase Lehtonen with three unanswered goals

    Dec 21, 2014, 7:39 PM EST

    Arcobello goal

    The Stars swapping goaltenders didn’t slow Edmonton.

  6. Brad Richards out with upper-body injury

    Dec 21, 2014, 6:48 PM EST

    Brad Richards Getty Images

    He had been playing with Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg.

  7. Jordan Staal (leg) might return before New Years Eve

    Dec 21, 2014, 5:56 PM EST

    Jordan Staal Getty Images

    The Hurricanes are getting close to full strength.

  8. Roy: 95 percent chance Varlamov will return Tuesday

    Dec 21, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    DENVER, CO - APRIL 03: Goalie Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche makes a glove save against the New York Rangers at Pepsi Center on April 3, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Rangers 3-2 in an overtime shootout. Getty Images

    Will Calvin Pickard be sent to the minors once Varlamov is healthy?

  9. Hansen misses Canucks’ practice Sunday

    Dec 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Jannik Hansen Getty Images

    Collapsed on the team’s bench Saturday night.

  10. Report: Eakins could head back to Toronto

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    Edmonton Oilers' head coach Dallas Eakins, center, stands on the bench above David Perron, from left to right, Sam Gagner and Ryan Jones during third period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) AP

    Was fired by the Oilers Dec. 15.

  11. Zepp to make NHL debut in Flyers’ net Sunday

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    The 33-year-old was recalled Friday.

  12. Could Malkin be the next player to be fined for diving?

    Dec 21, 2014, 12:45 PM EST

    Evgeni Malkin AP

    The Penguins forward was penalized twice for embellishment on Saturday.

  13. Sabres’ recall Pysyk and Schaller from AHL

    Dec 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Buffalo Sabres Tampa Bay Lightning v Buffalo Sabres

    Torrey Mitchell and Tyson Strachan have been placed on IR

  14. Former Pens Niskanen and Orpik react to Bylsma’s firing

    Dec 21, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Dan Bylsma AP

    They’re not impressed with how Bylsma and his staff were treated.

  15. Hurricanes activate Semin from IR

    Dec 21, 2014, 9:45 AM EST

    Alexander Semin Getty Images

    Had just one goal in eight games prior to the injury.

  16. Canucks end five-game skid, extend Flames’ drop to eight

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:18 AM EST

    Chris Tanev, Jonas Hiller AP

    Christopher Tanev scored the overtime winner on his birthday.

Featured video

More than a Stanley Cup hangover?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (3540)
  2. B. Bishop (3520)
  3. C. Perry (2243)
  4. C. Crawford (2087)
  5. B. Elliott (2056)
  1. D. Krejci (1952)
  2. C. Kunitz (1923)
  3. J. Schwartz (1817)
  4. O. Palat (1657)
  5. T. Oshie (1554)