While Coyotes players were packing up their equipment Monday inside Jobing.com Arena before scattering to their off-season destinations, goalie Mike Smith was finally ready to unload his. Smith said "about now" was the time he would have been ready to return from what General Manager Don Maloney revealed was an MCL sprain to Smith's right knee — an injury suffered March 24 in New York when Rangers center Derick Brassard fell on top of Smith, pinning Smith on top of his own knee while in the butterfly stance. "From everything we did and the trainers did, my body had the best chance to be ready for, if not the playoffs, the last two games," Smith said. "I was hoping if we'd won that game in Nashville, we'd maybe give it a shot. Obviously, the games didn't matter, so I wasn't going to push it then." The Coyotes convened Monday to clean out their locker stalls, undergo medical testing and conduct interviews with team brass a day after their season ended two points shy of a playoff berth. It was also the first time Smith spoke about the injury. "I know we were somewhat cryptic about it publicly," Maloney said. "We just didn't want it to be a distraction for Thomas Greiss and the team. We had to move past it. We knew internally he was not going to be able to help us get to the playoffs, so we said, 'Let's leave it on the sidelines. Let's focus on Thomas and our team and get to the playoffs, and maybe Mike will be back in the playoffs,' and that was far from certain." Smith, however, certainly fell within the two-to-four-week timeline for the injury for skaters that Maloney described. He also had been practicing regularly with a brace on his knee, but no surgery is necessary. "We have no qualms whatsoever about a long-term problem with it," Maloney said. Smith withered in pain on the ice after the incident, and he knew immediately the injury was serious, he said. Worst-case scenarios flashed in his mind, but he considers himself fortunate the injury wasn't more severe.
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith's MCL sprain will heal without surgery, team says
Arizona Republic | Apr 15