Avalanche’s Smith looking for opportunities between pipes
NEWARK >> On Tuesday night at the Prudential Center, the Colorado Avalanche were desperate to find a glimmer of hope during a season in which it’s been relatively non-existent.
Given that they didn’t walk away with two points following a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Devils, Jeremy Smith’s performance in his National Hockey League debut would have to suffice.
After nearly eight full seasons in the minors, the well-traveled 27-yearold goaltender was finally given his opportunity in the NHL, and impressed despite picking up the loss. Smith was named the game’s second star; he made 37 saves on 40 shots, and earned the praise of head coach Jared Bednar after it was all said and done.
“I thought he was fantastic, he was our best player by a country mile,” said Bednar via the Avalanche website.
Smith spent all but one game of his first pro season in 2009-10 with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones before making the jump full-time to the American Hockey League. But despite solid stays with the Milwaukee Admirals, Springfield Falcons, Providence Bruins and Iowa Wild, he never could get into an NHL game.
But after a strong showing with the San Antonio Rampage this year, combined with a injury to Colorado starter Semyon Varlamov and uneven debut by AHL teammate Spencer Martin, Smith was finally given his chance.
“I felt comfortable out there, that’s the main thing,” Smith said. “I played well, but it would be nice to get the win… it’s been a long 27 years, but today isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.” are different on both ends of the spectrum this time around; Julien had just been fired by the Boston Bruins last week and had been rumored as a candidate in several other locations, while Therrien had his Canadiens in first place in the Atlantic Division at the time of this move.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin addressed the Montreal media for the first time regarding the fascinating move on Wednesday.
“I asked permission (from the Bruins) and was granted permission (to speak with Julien),” Bergevin said. “From there, we went with the hiring…we just felt we weren’t playing the way we’re capable of. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe the timing was Claude got let go by Boston last week, but I didn’t make my decision based on how Boston operates, that’s just not why I did it.”
Colorado Avalanche goalie Jeremy Smith drinks from a bottle between plays against the Devils during the second period of a game on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center in Newark.