ANN ARBOR – Jimmy Howard’s resume was good enough.
Howard was named as one of three goalies that will represent Team USA in February at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Wednesday after the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.
“From a personal standpoint being in the same division as the Wings for years I know what Jimmy can do,” said David Poile, Team USA general manager. “I think this has not been his best year, but his body of work has been fabulous.”
Howard’s record dropped to 6-9-8 after a shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. His goals-against average is at 2.72 with a .907 save percentage.
“November wasn’t very kind to me, then going down with a knee injury in early December and really not playing,” Howard said. “I worked my tail off and my trainers did a tremendous job of getting me back and getting me into a rhythm.”
In each of Howard’s first two full seasons in Detroit he recorded 37 wins, becoming the only goalie in Wings history to win at least 35 games in each of his first two seasons.
The next year he won 35 and last season he raised his game to a whole new level as he helped lead the Wings to a 22nd consecutive trip to the postseason.
“I mean, 35 wins in three consecutive seasons and the playoff record the Wings have with him in goal,” Poile said. “The big games that he has won for the Wings, especially on the road and behind in series, or what have you, I mean, I know what Jimmy Howard can do but I think the rest of our committee knows what he can do and he got a spot on the Olympic team based on his body of work.”
The two of the netminders – Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick – helped lead Team USA to the silver medal in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
“Millsie and Quickie are tremendous goalies,” Howard said. “Ryan has a Veznia. Quickie has a Conn Smythe and a Stanley Cup, not to mention Ryan was the MVP in 2010. The competition was fierce, but that’s a good thing. We’ll push each other and it will just breed success for us.”
Corey Schneider and Craig Anderson were the other two goalies invited to camp. Poile also dropped Tim Thomas in the mix.
He’s the lone player named to Team USA off the Wings’ roster.
Howard Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser were all invited to the U.S. Olympic team’s orientation camp back at the end of August.
Howard, 29, is no stranger to international competition for the United States.
He was in the U.S. National Development program in 2001-02. The following year he won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2002 IIHF World U-18 Championships and played in the 2012 World Championships.
The Wings rewarded Howard last season with a six-year contract extension that pays him on average nearly $5.3 million a year.