Tag: Mike Smith


Mike Smith: 2015 Worlds ‘reiterates that I’m a pretty good goalie’


For Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, the 2015 World Championships can be seen as something of a palate cleanser. Although he was able to rebound somewhat in the second half, the 2014-15 campaign was a difficult one for him as he finished with a 3.16 GAA and .904 save percentage.

Now substantially removed from his standout 2011-2012 campaign, it seems fair to wonder if that season was an anomaly within his career. Amid that speculation, Smith joined Team Canada and started in eight of the nation’s 10 games. He posted a 1.50 GAA and .930 save percentage to help Canada claim the gold medal.

“It reiterates that I’m a pretty good goalie,” Smith said, per the Coyotes’ website. “It’s been a tough year mentally on me. Physically, I got a good handle on that, but I think mentally, going into the summer knowing that I’ve played some pretty good hockey now for three months or so, I think it’s important.”

It will allow him to enter the summer on a high note, although he certainly still has major tests ahead of him. Arizona has missed the playoffs for three straight years and its preliminary outlook for 2015-16 isn’t great. A strong campaign from Smith would go a long way towards getting the Coyotes back into the postseason though.

Video: Seguin scores hat trick as Canada blasts Belarus at Worlds

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Canada recorded another blowout victory at the 2015 World Hockey Championships on Thursday, crushing Belarus 9-0 in quarterfinal action at the O2 Arena in the Czech Republic.

Canada — which has already scored 6-1, 10-0, 7-2 and 10-1 wins this tournament — wasted little time burying Belarus as Brent Burns, Tyler Ennis, Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Seguin scored in a 17-minute span in the first period to put the Canadians out to a 4-0 lead.

The onslaught continued from there. Seguin scored two more to complete the hat-trick while Burns and O’Reilly each scored their second goals of the game. Jason Spezza potted the ninth and final goal with just under five minutes remaining.

In goal, Arizona netminder Mike Smith had a relatively easy time of things, stopping all 24 shots faced for his first shutout of the tournament. Belarus’ Kevin Lalande, who had played well leading up to the quarterfinals, was torched for all nine goals, but still finished with 41 saves.

With the win, Canada now moves on to face the winner of Finland-Czech Republic in the semifinals.

Canada thumps Austria, remain undefeated at Worlds

Canada v Austria - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Jason Spezza and Matt Duchene each had two goals and two assists as Canada thumped Austria 10-1 on Tuesday at the World Hockey Championship.

Mike Smith made 14 saves in the victory.

With the win Canada finished the round robin a perfect 7-0 while scoring 45 goals and is the top seed in Group A.

The Canadians will now play Belarus on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Canada elected to rest captain Sidney Crosby for the game and defenseman Dan Hamhuis wore the ‘C’ as the team’s captain.

Duchene, Tyson Barrie, Taylor Hall and Aaron Ekblad scored first period goals giving Canada a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Spezza and Jordan Eberle made it 6-0 after two periods.

Dominique Heinrich spoiled Smith’s shutout bid early in the third getting Austria on the board.

Spezza, Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Brayden Schenn added third period goals for Canada.

Thirteen members of Canada’s roster had at least a point in the win.

So…what should the Wild do with Dubnyk?


There’s no two ways about it — Devan Dubnyk saved the Minnesota Wild’s season.

Before he joined them in January, they couldn’t get a save and were losing because of it. After he joined them, he was so good the biggest debate was whether he needed a rest. And for that, he was named a Vezina Trophy finalist.

But the Dubnyk magic eventually ran out. The 29-year-old went 4-6 in the playoffs with a .908 save percentage. He can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

So, what should the Wild do? They still have two goalies — Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper — signed for next season. Kuemper, just 25, could still be a very good NHL netminder. Backstrom, unfortunately, may not even be good enough to back up next season. (And don’t underestimate the importance of the back-up. It can be the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Just ask a team like the Dallas Stars.)

Chances are, GM Chuck Fletcher will at least attempt to re-sign Dubnyk. The challenge will be to get him under contract for a reasonable cap hit, as well as a term that limits the club’s long-term risk. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about goaltending in 2014-15, it’s that goaltending is extremely unpredictable.

The last thing the Wild will want to do is what the Coyotes did with Mike Smith, which is make a huge commitment to a guy based essentially on one excellent season, only to end up “married” to a guy with some of the worst numbers in the league. (Need we remind you of Dubnyk’s numbers in 2013-14?)

Of course, on the other hand, a team that doesn’t have goaltending is a team that has almost zero chance of consistently winning. (See: the Minnesota Wild, before Dubnyk.) Can the Wild really afford to let a Vezina Trophy finalist walk away?

Hence, the fascinating conundrum for GMs. Goaltending is the one position you absolutely cannot live without. While at the same time, it’s the one position where you can roll the dice on an inexpensive option and have it work out rather nicely for you.

Case in point, Braden Holtby’s cap hit is less than $2 million. He’s been pretty good for the Capitals, no? And let’s not forget about the Ducks, still very much alive in the playoffs, after gambling on two goalies for less than $2 million.

Try rolling the dice on a No. 1 center or d-man for less than $2 million and see how it works out.

Anyway, we don’t envy Fletcher here. He’s got a huge decision to make. And whatever choice he makes is fraught with risk.

(Video) PHT Extra: In praise of Braden Holtby

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Three

Before we get to the video, did you know that Braden Holtby’s career save percentage in the playoffs is .936?

And did you know that, among all active goalies with at least 10 postseason appearances, only Mike Smith (.945) has a higher career save percentage than Holtby’s?

It’s true.

Now, the video: