Last week, Dave Tippett said “we’re not going to get into a big goaltender controversy every week around here,” prior to the Coyotes getting blown out 6-1 by St. Louis.
So apologies to Tippett for the following.
Tonight, the Coyotes will take on the Preds in Nashville and Devan Dubynk will get the start ahead of the struggling Mike Smith — the same guy, you might recall, that we discussed last night after Tippett expressed concern over Smith’s mental state.
“I’ve played three games and it hasn’t gone even close to the way it needs to be,” Smith said. “I understand that, but there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself or get down.”
Smith wasn’t feeling up after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. While other players dissected the slaughter they had just witnessed, Smith sat nearly motionless in his stall with a towel draped over his head.
When coach Dave Tippett was asked about his goaltender’s psyche after the game, he admitted “it’s a concern.”
Of course, we should tape the brakes on the goalie controversy just a bit.
There are plenty of reasons to make the switch from Smith to Dubnyk tonight. Smith has a history of slow starts (including this year, during which he’s gone 1-2-0 with a .822 save percentage and 5.33 GAA), and Dubnyk probably deserves another shot at starting after beating the defending Cup champion Kings in his Coyotes debut.
There’s also the ex-team narrative at play. Dubnyk didn’t get a chance to face his former Edmonton teammates last Wednesday (Smith did, in a 7-4 win), so Arizona might be giving him a shot at Nashville, which was a disastrous stop for Dubnyk last year; he got in Barry Trotz’s doghouse early and basically stayed there until a late-season trade to Montreal.
So this could be nothing more than a routine goalie flip for the Coyotes. But hey, why let that get in the way of a good ol’ fashioned controversy?