DETROIT — Backup goalie Joey MacDonald plans to be ready for the start of training camp, which would me avoiding back surgery this offseason.
“I can see a big improvement over the last couple of weeks and I still believe if we would have continued on here I would have been skating probably within the next week or two, but not playing,” MacDonald said. “I’m going to stick around here for another three to four weeks and before I leave here I want to be 100-percent, ready to rock.”
MacDonald hasn’t been on the ice since March 14 when his back flared up in a 4-0 loss in Anaheim. It was learned later that he had a slightly bulging disc.
“I want to be ready in July to start skating,” MacDonald said. “That’s the plan. It’s going in the right direction. I’m 75-80 percent right now.”
MacDonald, 32, had back surgery in 2006, but doesn’t think that will be necessary this time around.
“I had two (cortisone) injections already,” MacDonald said. “I’m working out, doing stuff I wasn’t allowed to for three weeks, so hopefully within the next little bit (I will start skating).”
MacDonald has one year left on his contract that pays him $550,000. The Wings have plans for him to backup Jimmy Howard after he unseeded Ty Conklin for that role during the season.
“I was disappointed when I got hurt, but getting the opportunity to come in and play a lot, be put in tough situations, like when we had that home streak going, I thought overall it was a good season,” MacDonald said. “Even down in Grand Rapids I thought I played well. Getting a chance up here to prove I can be the second guy.”
MacDonald won seven games in a row as the starter and finished 8-5-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.