Skip to content

Slumping Smith says he needs to relax

Dec 3, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

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. Video: Wild chase the Blues away to take series lead

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:54 PM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild - Game Three Getty Images

    Devan Dubnyk produces his first playoff shutout.

  2. Suspension-worthy? Perry hit by Byfuglien after scoring a goal

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:37 PM EDT

    byfuglienfrombehind

    It drew a two-minute roughing penalty.

  3. Video: Rakell, Scheifele collide knee-on-knee

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    No call on the first collision.

  4. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:48 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Two Getty Images

    Will shifting locales produce interesting results?

  5. Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Sidney Crosby, Keith Yandle AP

    A close-to-perfect road effort from New York.

  6. Devils’ Henrique undergoes wrist surgery, expects 4-6 week recovery

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    New Jersey’s only player who went under the knife this offseason.

  7. Another ‘easy’ choice: Hawks confirm Darling back in for Game 4

    Apr 20, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Corey Crawford will sit, once again, against the Preds.

Featured video

Sens need to control emotions after Subban slash
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Letang (2916)
  2. M. Pacioretty (2847)
  3. M. Stone (2697)
  4. M. Fisher (2635)
  5. Z. Kassian (2471)
  1. J. Abdelkader (2459)
  2. M. Perreault (2168)
  3. S. Crosby (2069)
  4. R. Nash (1910)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1872)