Mike Smith locked in as Oilers’ No. 1: ‘He is a leader and a goalie’

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Mike Smith locked in as Oilers’ No. 1: ‘He is a leader and a goalie’

March 2, 2020 5:40 pm

NASHVILLE, TN – The race is over, the contest closed.

Tonight’s starter, Mike Smith, is the Edmonton Oilers No. 1 goalie. Mikko Koskinen a solid No. 2 — full stop.

No bad start down the stretch or ugly giveaway is going to turn back the clock on a competition that quietly ended over the past few weeks.

Forget about age, or Koskinen’s wage. Not only has Smith been given two-thirds of the starts since Jan. 1, he’s given his team an 11-1-4 record since the calendar turned to 2020, and the kind of attitude that was on display when Leon Draisaitlhad this to say to a sold-out barn on the in-house, post-game interview Saturday:

“You guys are (expletive) phenomenal!”

Of all the one-year contracts that general manager Ken Holland signed last summer, Smith’s has been the most impactful — and not just because he’s stopping pucks. He’s given a head-shy organization a backbone, showing its young superstars how to carry themselves with some swagger.

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