Social Networks
  • RSS

Making an Impression

Wednesday, 06.9.2004 / 11:00 PM CT / News
Dallas Stars
Share with your Friends

Making an Impression

June 10, 2004

Sitting in his hometown of Verona, Ontario, Mike Smith ponders what it would be like to play for the Dallas Stars next season. It's a dream every hockey player desires from the first time they step on the ice at the age of two, to become an NHL player. This dream is in Smith's grasp and he doesn't want to let it go. Combining his ability as a goaltender and his development over the past two seasons, he believes he can make a difference on an NHL team.

"I have to work hard this summer and try and get that job for myself," said Smith. "I will do everything I can to do that.

Getty Images
"I feel like I bring similar things to the team as Marty Turco does. Puck handling and communication on the ice are two things we both like to do. I see that as a positive because when Marty doesn't play, the team doesn't have to change their style if I'm in net."

Smith actually was called up to the Stars last season on January 7th to backup Stars netminder Marty Turco. It was the first time in his career that he would don an NHL sweater during a regular season game. The 6-3, 189-pound goalie stayed with the team from January 7th to January 27th. Twenty days he will never forget.

"Getting called up for my first time was unbelievable. When I first heard about it from our Utah coach Don Hay, I was in total shock," said Smith. "I had been to training camp and in exhibition games before, but it wasn't the same as getting called up in the regular season by the big club."

Smith did not appear in a contest, but quickly learned that playing on the NHL level is quite different than playing on the American Hockey League (AHL) level. Like a VCR fast-forwarding through a movie at a rapid pace, the Dallas Stars skaters zipped around the 22 year-old goaltender at the Frisco Dr Pepper StarCenter.

"I still remember my first practice when I got called up in January," said Smith. "I got absolutely lit up.

"We had a shootout at the end of practice and I think I stopped one puck. The one shot I did stop I believe came from Aaron Downey."

However, instead of getting frustrated with the situation, Smith chose to look at things from a different angle. He quickly realized that being with the Stars was not just about his play on the ice, but also his image off of it. Learning valuable lessons from certain players on what it was like to be in the NHL, he matured from a 22-year old kid to a 22-year old National Hockey League player. Like a sponge soaking up water, Smith absorbed everything going on around him. Every day he cherished and every minute he learned something new.

"Turco was one guy who really helped me last season," said Smith. "He's a great role model and an outstanding leader for the young goalies who are coming up.

"Not just on the ice, but off the ice as well Marty is a class act. I saw when I got to Dallas how much harder I had to work by watching Marty and Ron Tugnutt."

Having played the last two seasons with the Utah Grizzlies of the AHL, people have noticed a big improvement in his development not only as a goaltender, but as a person as well. In 2002-03, Smith was 5-5-0 with a 3.23 goals-against-average. Last season, he had an 8-11-0 record with the Grizzlies, but saw his goals-against-average improve to 2.83. With two years of professional experience under his belt, he is becoming the goaltender the Stars believed he would be when they selected him during the fifth round (161st overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. There are some in the organization that would say he has been one of the top three athletes at training camp over the past two seasons. Not only that, it is practically impossible to find anyone in the Stars organization that says anything negative about him at all.

Glenn James
"Mike is a very likeable guy who has been positive from day one," Assistant General Manager Les Jackson said. "When he turned professional we sent him to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), which was a great experience for him. He had a good season and really developed his game.

"Last year, he came into Utah and continued with his growth. It was a situation that was trying at times for him, but he still made some good strides in his overall game."

Heading into the 2004-05 season, the Stars have three very capable back-ups to Marty Turco. Jason Bacashihua, Dan Ellis and Smith all have an equal chance at winning a spot on the Dallas Stars 23-man roster. It quite possibly could come down to how each of them plays at training camp.

"Right now the job for the backup goalie is open to three guys," Jackson said. "We will give it to whoever we see as the best player and Mike is definitely in that group."

Smith has faith that he will bring everything he has in the tank and prove to the coaching staff that he belongs with the Stars. When he speaks about making the club, you can hear the confidence ringing in his voice and how he is ready for the challenge lying ahead.

"I look forward to the challenge and this opportunity," said Smith. "You couldn't have two better guys to push you in Bacashihua and Ellis.

"I just have to come into camp and prove that I'm the best one. That's what my goal is for the summer, to come into camp as the best goalie."

Only time will tell which one these three young men will start the season with Dallas. Chances are we won't know until the last day of training camp. It should be fun to watch.




1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
J. Benn 13 5 10 2 15
J. Spezza 13 5 8 0 13
C. Eakin 13 1 7 -4 8
A. Goligoski 13 4 3 -6 7
P. Sharp 13 4 2 -4 6
P. Eaves 9 3 3 3 6
R. Faksa 13 3 2 2 5
M. Janmark 12 2 3 -3 5
C. Sceviour 11 2 3 1 5
J. Klingberg 13 1 3 -5 4
K. Lehtonen 6 3 0 .899 2.81
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .865 3.29 is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Corporate Partnerships | Contact UsPrivacy Policy | AdChoices | Job Opportunities | Terms of Use | Site Map | Find us on Google+