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.”
Sep 14, 2014, 10:56 PM EDT
The Hall of Famer has been tasked with aiding bench boss Ted Nolan in Buffalo’s difficult rebuild.
Sep 14, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT
But who and when?
Sep 14, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
He might not miss two months as initially feared.
Sep 14, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
Training camp will “absolutely” have a different mood to it.
Sep 14, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT
The Flyers have high hopes for the young defenseman.
Sep 14, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT
He looked like a serious Hart Trophy candidate in the first half of 2013-14.
Sep 14, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
But can he contribute at the NHL level?
Sep 14, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT
Was rumored to be heading out of Buffalo at NHL Draft.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
Ryan McDonagh likely choice to wear ‘C’.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Calgary’s prospects show hope for the future in southern Alberta.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Opportunities available for prospects Boone Jenner and Alexander Wennberg.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT
That’s him, wearing No. 74 for the Oilers, during a pre-season game last year.
Sep 13, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Or he may only be out for two weeks.
Sep 13, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Report: He will have it checked out in Dallas.
Sep 13, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
Philly bought out the high-priced goalie in the summer of 2013.
Sep 13, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
He was taken fourth overall in June’s NHL Draft.
Sep 13, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
He re-signed with the Habs this summer. Eight years, $72 million.
Sep 13, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
That’s terrific news.
Sep 13, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
He won’t play Saturday evening.
Sep 13, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
The 23-year-old defenseman is prepared to miss camp if a deal isn’t reached.
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