Dec 3, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
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.”
Jan 29, 2015, 2:06 PM EST
“We’ve gotten better, and we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Jan 29, 2015, 1:51 PM EST
But the reigning Stanley Cup champs will have to share the stage with another L.A. team.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:02 PM EST
Statically, he’s in a class by himself.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:47 PM EST
Defenseman was 28th overall by Chicago in 2009.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:44 PM EST
Also insists: “For anybody that thinks that me and Lou [Lamoriello] are not on the same page, everybody’s wrong,”
Jan 29, 2015, 12:29 PM EST
Will make just his 17th appearance of the season tonight against Florida.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:15 PM EST
Second time this season.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:37 AM EST
Veteran Ottawa center will sit as a healthy scratch again tonight.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:30 AM EST
Scored a big goal last night versus Toronto.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:18 AM EST
The NHL’s 29th- and 30th-ranked teams get it on.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:58 AM EST
“There’s a lot of different avenues we have to explore here,” says Ron Hextall.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:36 AM EST
So you can probably guess where he stands on the matter.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:01 AM EST
He left the team after his father passed away.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:22 AM EST
San Jose is in the thick of a tight Pacific Division battle.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:44 AM EST
The 2014 Eastern Conference finalists meet to continue their respective battles for home ice advantage.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Thursday’s collection of links.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:35 AM EST
Looked like L.A. was in serious trouble.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 AM EST
Washington is now three points back of Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:51 PM EST
Weren’t at all inspired Tuesday.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:28 PM EST
That’s a nice set up.
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