The Phoenix Coyotes picked up their first shutout win of the season Tuesday behind backup Thomas Greiss in Tuesday’s 6-0 win over the Calgary Flames, but don’t say the Desert Dogs have a goaltending controversy.
Greiss is 6-2 over 11 appearances this season, and his 1.89 goals against average is a full goal per game less than starter Mike Smith.
“You won’t find anyone in this locker room with anything but great things to say about Thomas Greiss,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo Wednesday. “He is the consummate professional in every sense of the way. Nothing fazes him. He’s an incredible goalie that’s willing to do whatever it takes.
“All of that being said, Smitty is obviously one of the world class goalies. I don’t think it’s a controversy, it’ s just one of those things that we’re lucky right now and we’re going to go with whoever the coaches think gives us the best chance to win.”
Smith has had some struggles of late, allowing nine goals in his last three games, including allowing three goals before being pulled early in the second period of a Dec. 31 win over the Edmonton Oilers. But the eight-year NHL vet was named Tuesday to Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics, and there’s some belief that the selection process may have been a distraction. Still, Smith’s recent struggles haven’t been near enough to erase what he’s done in three seasons with the Coyotes.
“Smitty, with everything he’s done over his career for us as an organization, there’s no doubt (he’s the starter),” Doan said.
But while it may not be the 27-year-old Greiss’ time to shine yet, Doan said that opportunity is going to come — and Greiss is going to be a success.
“He’s as good as any goaltender we’ve had,” Doan said. “He’s a legit goalie. It’s not going to be the last time you hear about him. He’s going to get a chance, and when he does, he’s going to do amazing.”