Coyotes’ Smith likely out another month

Feb 1, 2016, 6:12 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2016, 7:39 am
Follow @craigsmorgan...

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Coyotes’ goaltending dilemma is on hold for another month.

General manager Don Maloney said Monday that he would be surprised if goaltender Mike Smith is ready to play any games in the month of February as he rehabs from lower abdomen surgery in mid-December. That means rookie Louis Domingue will continue to shoulder the load as the Coyotes enter the final 10 weeks of the regular season.

“He has certainly moved his career forward by leaps and bounds with the way he has played for us,” Maloney said of Domingue. “It’s still a relatively short body of work but there’s no denying the success he has had. He’s opened all of our eyes and he kind of fits in with what we’re trying to do here with younger people.”

Domingue was named the NHL’s rookie of the month on Monday after going 6-3-2 with a 2.20 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and one shutout in 11 January appearances. He is 9-5-3 with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and two shutouts in 17 games this season, giving the Coyotes an unexpected lift after Smith went down.

“I was totally aware of what was in front of me and I tried to make the best of it,” Domingue said. “I think I’ve shown I can be a regular in the NHL but it’s a matter of being consistent.”

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett has been asked multiple times this season when it would be safe to say Domingue’s sample size of games is large enough for more serious discussion.

“When you dig into his numbers — not just the numbers everybody sees but the behind-the-scenes numbers — they are pretty strong,” Tippett said. “We always talk about a player that gets called up and they give you two or three good games and then he comes back to reality. He’s (past) that string. The sample size is getting big enough where you see trends and there have been a lot of good trends in his game.”

Smith was originally scheduled to miss between eight and 10 weeks after surgery. It has been seven weeks since the procedure.

Tippett said Smith skated four times over the All-Star break, but the medical staff made the determination that he is not ready to rejoin the team at practices so he will continue to skate on his own and he will be re-evaluated in a couple weeks.

When Smith returns, Maloney said Domingue wouldn’t have to worry about his place on the roster — even with Anders Lindback also under contract.

“The way Louis has played up to now, he certainly deserves the right to stick around even when Mike comes back,” Maloney said. “There are teams that carry three goaltenders, but we’ll see how that plays out.”

The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 29 so Maloney could also move Lindback if Smith looks ready to go and Domingue is still healthy in a month.

“I don’t even think about any of that because if I focus on that I might not do well with what is in front of me,” Domingue said. “We all want Mike back and we all want him to be healthy. Whether I’m playing when he’s back or not is not my decision. If I keep playing well, hopefully I’ll do enough to leave them with a tough decision to make.”

Kings at Coyotes

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: ESPN 620 AM

Season series: Coyotes lead, 3-0-1.

Probable goalies: Coyotes — Louis Domingue. Kings — Jonathan Quick.

Injury report: Coyotes — G Mike Smith (abdominal surgery) and F Joe Vitale (concussion symptoms) are out. Kings — D Matt Green (shoulder surgery) is out indefinitely. F Kyle Clifford (upper body) could return.

Scouting the Kings: The Kings lead the Pacific Division by seven points over San Jose, despite losing three of their last four games before the All-Star break. … C Anze Kopitar leads the club with 42 points (29 assists). … L.A. is third in the NHL with a 2.27 goals against average.

Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes center Travis Boyd (72) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the ...
Associated Press

Coyotes win 2nd straight game; defeat Devils to open road trip

Karel Vejmelka made 35 saves to help lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
1 day ago
Goaltender Karel Vejmelka #70 of the Arizona Coyotes is congratulated by Phil Kessel #81 after defe...
Jake Anderson

Coyotes announce 5 rescheduled games in February due to COVID-19

The Coyotes will play five rescheduled games during the month of February, three of which will take place at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
1 day ago
Ryan Dzingel #10 of the Arizona Coyotes warms up before the NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jack...
Jake Anderson

Coyotes put Dzingel in COVID-19 protocols; Chychrun activated

The Arizona Coyotes have placed forward Ryan Dzingel in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, the team announced on Wednesday.
1 day ago
Antoine Roussel #26 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game at Gila River A...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes place forward Antoine Roussel in COVID-19 protocol

The Arizona Coyotes placed veteran forward Antoine Roussel in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday among a series of roster moves.
2 days ago
Arizona Coyotes' Clayton Keller (9) left, celebrates with Travis Boyd (72) and Nick Schmaltz (8) ri...
Associated Press

5 different Coyotes score in blowout win over Canadiens

Nick Schmaltz and Johan Larsson each had a goal and an assist in the Arizona Coyotes' 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.
3 days ago
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) makes a save against Arizona Coyotes center Nick ...
Associated Press

Coyotes shut out by former goalie Darcy Kuemper in loss to Avalanche

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals each, Darcy Kuemper had 20 saves for his first shutout of the season, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-0 on Saturday night. Nazem Kadri also scored as Colorado had three goals in a 3:41 span of the second period to […]
5 days ago
Coyotes’ Smith likely out another month