The surname Smith goes back to Anglo-Saxon times — the 5th century — meaning “one who works in metal.” Alas, it seems Mike Smith was destined for the pipes.
Surnames. They tell us nothing at times, everything at others.
Like when you begin to research the season that the NHL’s eldest No. 1 goalie is having, and the surnames that show up as comparables are names like Worsley, Hasek, Plante, Bauer and Luongo. That is how well Smith — who turned 39 on Monday — is playing at this advanced age, carrying a .922 save percentage (seventh among NHL starters) into this two-game, first-place showdown between the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But enough about his game.
Fun Fact: More than 8,000 men — 7,297 skaters and 823 goalies — have played in the National Hockey League since its inception. Guess how many have shared the name Mike Smith?
The answer: Zero.
Seventy three NHLers surnamed Smith over the years. Only one of them a Mike — even though “Smith” has been the most popular last name in Canada for the past century, and “Michael” was the most popular name for boys in the 80s, when Smith was born.
Unique? Oh, he’s unique.