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. Trottier excited to be NHL coach after 11-year break

    Sep 14, 2014, 10:56 PM EDT

    Bryan Trottier Getty Images

    The Hall of Famer has been tasked with aiding bench boss Ted Nolan in Buffalo’s difficult rebuild.

  2. Devils post-Martin Brodeur era about to truly start

    Sep 14, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT

    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 04: Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center on March 4, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. Getty Images

    Training camp will “absolutely” have a different mood to it.

  3. Pronger offers guidance to towering Samuel Morin

    Sep 14, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT

    Samuel Morin AP

    The Flyers have high hopes for the young defenseman.

  4. Quenneville doesn’t think Kane has peaked

    Sep 14, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks advances the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an exhibition game at United Center on September 19, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Penguins defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout.
(September 18, 2013 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    He looked like a serious Hart Trophy candidate in the first half of 2013-14.

  5. Domi in contention for roster spot with Arizona

    Sep 14, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    maxdomigetty Getty Images

    But can he contribute at the NHL level?

  6. Sabres’ Myers looking to put disappointing season behind him

    Sep 14, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT

    Tyler Myers Getty Images

    Was rumored to be heading out of Buffalo at NHL Draft.

  7. Report: Rangers expected to announce captain on Thursday

    Sep 14, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    Ryan McDonagh Getty Images

    Ryan McDonagh likely choice to wear ‘C’.

  8. Flames’ Bennett compares Gaudreau to McDavid

    Sep 14, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Sam Bennett Getty Images

    Calgary’s prospects show hope for the future in southern Alberta.

  9. Jackets preparing for life without Johansen

    Sep 14, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes Getty Images

    Opportunities available for prospects Boone Jenner and Alexander Wennberg.

  10. Darnell Nurse focused on earning a spot with the Oilers

    Sep 14, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT

    Zack Kassian, Darnell Nurse.

    That’s him, wearing No. 74 for the Oilers, during a pre-season game last year.

  11. Stars prospect Ritchie suffers finger injury

    Sep 13, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

    Lindy Ruff AP

    Report: He will have it checked out in Dallas.

  12. Snider: Flyers not hiding behind ‘horrible mistake’ of signing Bryzgalov

    Sep 13, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    Ilya Bryzgalov Getty Images

    Philly bought out the high-priced goalie in the summer of 2013.

  13. Flames’ prospect Bennett wants to prove he’s NHL ready

    Sep 13, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    SamBennett2 Getty Images

    He was taken fourth overall in June’s NHL Draft.

  14. P.K. Subban: ‘I’m not trying to change the game of hockey’

    Sep 13, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban AP

    He re-signed with the Habs this summer. Eight years, $72 million.

  15. Report: Gelinas’ deal “in Eric’s hands”

    Sep 13, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 15: Eric Gelinas #22 of the New Jersey Devils skates in an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center on November 15, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The 23-year-old defenseman is prepared to miss camp if a deal isn’t reached.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Brodeur (1273)
  2. D. Kuemper (1258)
  3. J. Drouin (1161)
  4. P. Rinne (1150)
  5. K. Timonen (1092)