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Ask the Bolts: Mike Smith Answers Your Questions

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week fans on Tampabaylightning.com filled the inbox with questions for Mike Smith. This week you get your answers. While there isn't time to answer all the questions, here are the best of the best. Stay tuned next week for forward Ryan Craig!



Name: Sgt Kevin J. Regan Jr.
Hometown: Zephyrhills, FL
Question: I was wondering what you do with all your masks that you don't use anymore? I know you have used a few different designs before.


I’ve been fortunate enough to hold on to them. I started a collection and I actually still have masks from the first paint job I’ve ever had right up to the current one. It’s kind of a unique thing for a goalie to use their own designs and paint their own helmets and I’ve been fortunate enough to hold on to them.


Name: Cat Uphoff
Hometown: Bradenton, FL
Question: OK, this is two parts: First, if you could be any type of Dairy Queen Blizzard; which would you be and why. Second, as a professional athlete it is important to just stop, take a breath, and distract yourself form the pressure to perform. What do you find is the most effective way to blow off steam?


That’s a pretty funny question. I know I like to eat Oreo Blizzards, but I don’t know if I’d like to be one. I mean, would I want to be a smashed up Oreo cookie? Not sure of that.
For your second question – absolutely. You have to get away from the game sometimes. Sometimes a game doesn’t go your way and you need to get away from the rink and get a day off and think about other things. Obviously, it’s easy to do that in Tampa – you can go to the beach and feel like you’re on vacation – but you don’t want to get too locked up in feeling like you’re on vacation.



Name: Mark Craig
Hometown: Lakeland, FL
Question: Mike, it's great having you in Tampa. Since Khabibulin left I have looking for a goalie to believe in again. I think we have found that in you. BTW I am the guy that had a replica of your mask made that you signed. (twice) :) My question is: Do you have any superstitions? I know some goalies have a lot of little quarks like hitting goal posts in a pattern or other such OCD things. What are your quarks??


I really don’t have any quarks. I just kind of get out there and do whatever it takes to stop the puck. I may do some things that are repetitive, but it’s like that because I’ve been doing those things for so long that they have become routine – not superstitions. I know there are some crazy antics that some of the guys do, but I’m pretty normal, believe it or not.


Name: Raymond
Hometown: Lithia, Fl
Question: Is their a particular goalie, past or present, that you try to mirror the way you play after?


You can learn a lot about playing in the net from watching guys that play now; when I was growing up, I modeled myself after the Patrick Roy style – he was the first one that brought the butterfly style into effect in the NHL – but now I’ve got my own technique. I like to have a good base as a butterfly goalie, but I realize nowadays with the scoring chances that you can’t always just butterfly to make saves. You have to use your imagination to stop the puck and sometimes it’s in the butterfly and sometimes it’s on your back with a leg in the air. It all depends on the situation.


Name: Dan
Hometown: Valrico
Question: So Mike, who has the better choice in suits you or Ryan Malone? Is there a slight competition in who can dress better on game day? And you guys should do a poster together, like gangsters, to sell for charity.


Ha! Bugsy’s got some pretty good suits. I don’t think I can compete with his 1975 plaid “Slapshot” suit, but I can pull off a red corduroy suit pretty well so let’s just call it a toss-up.



Name: Andrew J.
Hometown: Danbury, CT
Question: My dad tells me about how goalies get their jersey numbers. How did you get No. 41?


I never wore 41 growing up but when I turned pro I decided to pick a number that I thought no one would have. That did change one of the first times I got called up to Dallas – I believe it was Martin Skoula that had 41, so I kind of got my numbers going and went to 49 for a year or two, and then decided to go back to it and stuck with it ever since, so hopefully no one comes along with more seniority and grabs it away.


Name: Amanda
Hometown: Venice, FL
Question: How do you prepare yourself for a shootout? Are you aware of what type of shot a certain player has been successful with in past shootouts?


I try not to watch too many of those replays of shootouts; I kind of just do my own thing and go through my routine which seems to work. Obviously, it didn’t work as well as I wanted it to last year, but I’ve had success in the past with it. I try to make the shooter make the first move and try to stay in position to stop the shot. I don’t think too much into it in case a shooter changes the move in stride and I end up swimming in the corner.


Name: Diane
Hometown: Dunedin
Question: Mike,
First, let me say I hope you're feeling better and that you're enjoying your summer. My question is about the tattoo on your right arm. What is it, when did you get it, and do you have any others that we might not know
about?? Thanks!


Thank you! If I had any others I don’t think I’d share them with the public, since they could be in areas that I’d rather not share. No, I’m kidding – I only have one and I got it in Utah when I played pro there in Salt Lake City. A good buddy of mine on that team that I looked up to – Jerry Skalde – had the same tattoo on his inner arm. I always wanted a tattoo and it’s not something you rush into to and then regret. I thought a lot about it and thought it was cool. It means “Happiness” and “Good Luck” in Japanese, so I thought that was a pretty good thing to have and it describes me to a tee. (Other than the good luck sometimes!)


Name: Don Margeson
Hometown: St. Petersburg
Question: Since you and Ryan Malone seem to be good friends, whose the better barbecue chef?


Oh Wow! This is easy! Definitely me! I think if you asked him he’d say me, too. We’ve had a few barbecues at his house and I end up cooking the food. I do a lot of grilling, especially when I’m home for the summer because I don’t have an oven in my house, so it’s either straight barbecue or smoker.


Name: Kaitlyn Brandt
Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
Question: Smitty, where's your favorite spot to chill in Tampa?


My favorite spot to chill is my pool.


Name: Tanner Bailey
Hometown: Clearwater, FL
Question: Mike, we all know you are keen with the puck when the opposition has pulled their goalie. What do you look for when trying to take a shot on the open net?


It’s a bad thing to have done, score on an open net – it seems like once you’ve done it, and you’re a goaltender, you always want to do it again. The feeling that I got the first time was just indescribable. So I think it was a bad thing that I did score even though it was fun at the time, because now, every time I see the goalie out of his net, it’s in the back of my mind that I want to score another one. The main thing is that I stop the puck and we win the game, but obviously, if the chance presents itself, I’m going to get my head up and go for it and hopefully make a good shot.


Name:Peter Carey
Hometown:Oldsmar, FL
Question:
First off I would like to congratulate you on a great season and let you know that your lots of fun to watch. So, how was it dealing with Post Concussion Syndrome and not being able to play? Do you think you are going to be good and healthy for next season?


It was very difficult for me. It was one of those injuries where I played with it for a couple of months and thought it would go away, but it just got worse and worse. Obviously, it got to the point where I had to make a call and it was affecting the way I played. I began to feel like I was letting the team down. I felt that if I wasn’t at my best I would be better off to not be in the game. It was a tough decision to make. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to go for next season. I feel a lot stronger and healthier now than I did in back in March and I’m just working towards September.


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