Thursday, February 21, 2013
He Shoots, He Doesn't Score
In the midst of last years more than exciting playoff run and this years rash of injuries, it could easily be forgiven that certain players have gone overlooked. One such player is Zack Smith, who in the offseason signed a 4 year extension worth $7.55 million dollars with a cap hit of just over $1.87 million per season that kicks in next season. Not bad for a 24 year old who only has 44 career points to his name and basically became a full time NHLer less than 2 seasons ago.
At the time he signed, many speculated that the Senators had inked the deal with him in order to use him as a trade piece in a deal to acquire Chicago defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson, but that deal never came to pass and coming off a 14 goal season, he was a young 2 way player that the Sens could definitely put to use.
Last year may have not been typical for Smith, after all he did score 14 goals, but it's fair to say the expectations were fairly high for the 24 year old heading into the season. Smith's game however, was never about scoring. He's a tough, hard skating, harder working agitator, who can drop the gloves when need be, play solid minutes on the PK and help shut down the other teams top players. So having said that I don't think anyone expected another 14 goal performance this year, but they expected the forward to chip in.
Well lost in all the news somehow is the stunning fact that Zack Smith has now gone 30 games without a goal and only has one in his last 58 (65 if you want to count the playoffs as well), dating back to last year of course. In fact, Mr Smith is getting dangerously close to going a calendar year without lighting the lamp. The lockout certainly helped that streak, but you're reading this on February 21st, 2013 and his last goal was March 8th, 2012 against the New York Rangers. Now that's what I call a slump!
But have you heard a word of it in the media? Because I haven't. I'm not sure if they just haven't noticed or what, but Zack is getting more than a free pass at the moment. It seems almost incredible to play so many games at the forward spot and not have one bounce off your leg or something. Hell, Chris Phillips has 3 goals this year.
It isn't that Smith is a goal scorer or should be counted on as one, but with the lineup we have right now, he needs to start scoring here and there if we have any hope of making the playoffs and saving the season. Let's hope he gets it together, starting with a tonight against the Rangers, the team he last scored on to start this ugly mess. I love when things come full circle.
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