Tag Archives: Howard

Mrazek still views Howard as the No. 1 goalie; Howard says his main issue, ‘following the puck with my eyes’

DETROIT >> Jimmy Howard has pinpointed the problem he’s had of late between the pipes, tracking the puck with his eyes.

“After going over the video tape and talking to goalie coach Jim Bedard it’s just following the puck with my eyes,” Howard said. “It’s just that simple. With a goalie, if you’re not following the puck to the best of your abilities and you’re behind that split second it can make a difference.”

And because of it Howard has lost his starting job for now to Petr Mrazek.

“Everyone goes through this during the course of a season,” Howard said. “Maybe it’s a little blessing in disguise that it’s happening now and not 2-3 weeks from now.

“It’s just about working hard out on the ice,” Howard continued. “Continue to do the right things in practice and then it’ll just fall right into place in the games. When you’re out there, waiting for things to happen that’s when the puck’s going to do crazy things. You just have to go out there and play. For me the last couple of games, following the puck and using my eyes more, that’s been the issue.”

Howard has allowed eight goals on 32 shots in slightly over four periods the past two games.

“It’s not mechanically at all, but I guess in a sense it is,” Howard said. “It’s following the puck. That’s key. Especially when you get big bodies in front of you, you’ve got to focus on the puck. You can’t lose sight of the puck. Pucks are going to go in in the NHL. We all know that. It’s about brushing it off and trying to make that next save for the guys.

“I want to be out there every single night, just like everyone else when you get to this level,” Howard added. “One of the things that drives you is competing. It never sits well when I’m sitting on the bench. I want to be out there every single night. Coach feels I don’t deserve it. Maybe it’ll be a good thing to just put in a little bit of work here.”

Howard brushed off the talk about the talk of who’s the team’s number one goalie, but Mrazek did not.

“I’m know Howie is still number one I’m sure,” said Mrazek, who’ll start Saturday when the Wings host Tampa Bay. “He’s proven himself for so many years. This year he’s been great. Sometimes it’s hard for goalies when nothing hits you and everything goes in. You come back. I don’t think we should talk about the No. 1 goalie. I think that’s for sure it’s Howie.”

Howard allowed three goals on 10 shots in the first period of Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks and was replaced by Mrazek to start the second.

“I don’t think it’s a confidence issue at all,” Howard said. “I think it really is the minor thing of following the puck and not losing sight of it out there. That can make up for a split second. When you lose the puck out there you, you’re behind the play for a second and that can be the difference.”

Howard, who turned 31 on Thursday, has been very inconsistent since returning in mid-February from a groin injury.

He was easily one of the reasons why the Wings are where they’re at now because of his strong play to start the season.

“It’s not all on him,” Darren Helm said. “We’re giving up too many chances. The good thing about Jimmy is he’s going to come and play now it’s just a matter of time. Right now he’s going through a little stretch like the whole team is going through it. We have to find a way to battle hard through it and get ourselves back on track.”

Detroit is 3-7-1 in its past 11 games.

Jimmy Howard has a target date for his return … Feb. 11 in Pittsburgh

DETROIT >> As far as recovering from an injury goes, everything is right on track for Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

Howard took part in his first practice with the team Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, albeit splitting time with Tom McCollum, since injuring his groin in the first period Jan. 10 in Washington.

“Even though it was just spot duty it felt great to be back out there,” Howard said. “I was out there before on my own with (goalie coach) Jimmy (Bedard) and then came out and did all the goalie drills at the beginning and stayed out for about 30 minutes in practice. It was good, didn’t really feel anything, so we’re just going to continue to push it.”

The best news is he has a target date to return, a week from Wednesday on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I think we’re right on schedule of where we want to be,” Howard said. “We don’t want to push it too soon, but we also don’t want to be out longer than I have to be, so we’re doing everything I think at the right pace.

“Hopefully against Pittsburgh I’ll be back out there,” Howard continued. “That’s what we’re shooting for. At first we had Phoenix circled, but we thought that would probably be just rushing it a little too much and Pitt will allow me a couple more practices to push it.”

Howard will gradually increase the intensity at practices during the Wings’ trip to Colorado and Arizona.

“Basically I bag myself out there so the legs and lungs are ready to go,” Howard said.

Howard was injured after he gave the puck away behind the net and then lunged his left leg backwards to try and reach the post before Washington’s Troy Brouwer scored just 1:53 into the first period.

He was carted off on a stretcher.

“I think I definitely escaped series injury,” Howard said. “When it happened I was really nervous, not being able to put any pressure on the leg or basically walk. I was on crutches for 24-48 hours. It responded well after a couple of days of being off of it.”

Howard is in the midst of having one of his best seasons in Detroit, posting a 16-7-7 record, with a 2.11 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

He was also the Wings’ lone All-Star choice, but could not participate at the event because of the injury.

Despite his absence Detroit has gone 7-1-0 with Petr Mrazek getting the bulk of the workload.

“It’s progressed every single day, so it’s good,” Howard said. “We haven’t had any setbacks, knock on wood. Hopefully we can just keep pushing it.”

Severity of Howard’s injury still undetermined

DETROIT >> For the time being, this is Petr Mrazek’s team.

Mrazek has been elevated to the Wings’ No. 1 goalie after the team placed Jimmy Howard on injured reserve with a groin injury.

“It’s a good opportunity for him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We’re going to have to get him settled down a little bit. There’s a point where he challenges and then over-challenges. We’ve got to get that under control. We should have no trouble with that.”

It’s still not known the extent of Howard’s injury.

He had an MRI Sunday, but will need to have an ultrasound Monday to determine the severity of the injury.

Howard, who had just been named to the 2015 All-Star Game, was injured Saturday night after he gave the puck away behind the net and then lunged his left leg backwards to try and reach the post before Washington’s Troy Brouwer scored just 1:53 into the first period.

He was taken from the ice on a stretcher.

Howard was having one of his best seasons of his career. He’s 16-7-7 record in 32 games while ranking fourth in the NHL in goals-against average (2.11) and tied for 11th in save percentage (.920).

Mrazek is the Wings’ goalie of the future.

“He’s a good goaltender, he plays the puck well and he’ll win games for us,” Babcock said.

This season he’s 5-3-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

“For being a young guy he plays with a lot of confidence,” Jonathan Ericsson said. “I like the way he wants to stay in the game, he wants to play the puck for us. He looks confident doing that and that makes us confident about him.

“I think he’s been making some really nice plays, better passes than the D sometimes,” Ericsson continued. “He’s making big saves for us. I feel like he’s comfortable and confident back there. That’s everything about today’s game.”

Mrazek has played 20 career NHL games, with a 8-8-3 record.

“When I played three games in a row before Christmas, I felt great,” Mrazek said. “Always when you can play lots of games in a row, it helps you get confidence and you’re going get into the game. But it’s not nice to see Howie hurt.”

Because Jonas Gustavsson is still recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in November, the Wings recalled Tom McCollum from Grand Rapids. McCollum is 10-8-1 this season with the Griffins with a 2.33 GAA and .911 save percentage in 21 games.

Howard selected as Wings’ lone All-Star

DETROIT >> Jimmy Howard was named to the 2015 NHL All Star Game, which will take place January 25 in Columbus.

It’s Howard’s second time as an All Star.

He last appeared in the 2012 game.

Howard started the game and gave up three goals on 14 shots.

The 2012 game was the first time the league had a “fantasy draft” to choose teams.

Howard was selected by Zdeno Chara and not Daniel Alfredsson, who at the time was with the Ottawa Senators.

Had Tuesday been a playoff game Howard says he would have played

DETROIT >> If Tuesday was a playoff game against the Buffalo Sabres Jimmy Howard would have been between the pipes.

The game wasn’t so Howard sat out a second straight game with a groin injury.

“Better to miss one than try to force in one and be out for three to four weeks,” Howard said Tuesday morning at Joe Louis Arena. “Just precautionary and pick up where we left off in Ottawa.

“I haven’t had any setbacks, so it’s nice and it’s comforting,” Howard added.

Howard, who left Friday’s game after one period, said the plan is for him to return Saturday in Ottawa.

“Got three days off just like the rest of us,” Howard said. “I had a good work day yesterday, I had another one today. Come down here and work out during the game and then I’ll just work out over the break. I’ll get away from skating just like everyone else and just get ready for after Christmas.”

Because of the league shutting down for the next three days for Christmas, sitting Howard out Tuesday just made even more sense.

“I think that’s the biggest key, just letting it rest,” Howard said. “It wasn’t that serious, just a tweak. Just give it a rest since we’ve got the Christmas break coming up there and get right back at it after the break.”

Howard was injured lunging for a loose puck that eventually found its way in the back of the net.

“I felt it exactly when it happened,” Howard said. “I knew something was wrong. It was one of those things where I finished the period. It didn’t feel like it was going away, but it didn’t feel like it was getting worse. I talked to the trainers after the first period and thought it was more beneficial for me and the team that I came out.”

Howard in the midst of career season with Wings … except when it comes to shootouts

DETROIT >> Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is in the midst of his best season in the NHL.

Let’s just not talk about his performances in the shootouts, where he dropped to 0-6 on the season Tuesday, allowing 11 goals on 15 shots.

“We don’t have them in the playoffs,” Howard said. “That’s when it really matters.”

The regular season for Howard is a much different story.

Howard ranks fifth in goals-against average (2.05), eighth in wins (13) and shutouts (two).

“It’s been good,” Howard said when asked about his start to the season. “There have been a couple games, obviously a couple goals, I’d like to have back, but that’s going to happen to every goalie over the course of the season. As a team we’re just doing a great job finding ways to win games and I think that’s a great sign of a young team maturing.”

Howard is 13-5-7 this season.

“If you go back to his first five games his save percentage was through the roof,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Those first five games we weren’t confident and going yet and we needed him even more so I think that’s really important.

“Now his job is just kind of be good night in and night out,” Babcock continued. “Howie’s a guy that can really give us confidence the better he plays the more swagger the team has. I really thought when we were trying to find ourselves and gain confidence Howie was really good.”

Howard credits his health as being a main reason for his success early on.

“That’s the biggest thing,” said Howard, who was drafted by the Wings in 2003 (second round, 64th overall). “I put in the work in the summertime. (Good health) gives you the confidence to go out there and do your job.”

Howard, 30, recently moved into third on the all-time wins list in franchise history. In his career he has a 2.38 goal-against average, .917 save percentage and 20 shutouts.

“To be honest with you I haven’t really given it any thought,” Howard said. “That’s the farthest thing from my mind. I guess what it comes down to is I’m thankful I’ve been able to play so long here in one city.

“We battled through a lot of injuries last year to a lot of key guys,” Howard continued. “We scratched and clawed and found a way into the playoffs. We felt coming into this year, with everyone getting healthy over the summer, the younger guys getting a year older, we felt we had a good team.”

Howard is in the second year of a six-year deal he signed at close to $5.3 million a season to be the franchise goalie.

“He gives us a chance to win,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s a steady, steady guy. He shows up every night and does what we need. If we can get it done up front he’s going to give us a chance to win the game.

“He’s been good for a long time,” Franzen added. “I think he’s always been steady, but maybe he’s a little bit better this year.”

Howard is the 12th highest paid goalie in the league according to CapGeek.com. New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist is No. 1 at $11 million a season.

“You won’t hear too much from him on game days, but he’s the type of goalie that rises to the occasion,” Stephen Weiss said. “When we’re not at our best and we need him to back us up he’s been there numerous times for us.”

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.

Howard doesn’t have a concussion

DETROIT >> Wings goalie Jimmy Howard knew the question was coming and he was ready to answer it.

Howard missed the final two games of Detroit’s opening round series with the Boston Bruins, suffering from the flu.

Reports surfaced he had suffered a concussion on a previous game.
“No,” Howard said when asked if he had a concussion during the team’s locker clean out at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. “There was nothing. That was the weird part everyone was saying concussion, concussion and it actually got my mom pretty nervous. She heard it on the radio back in her own town. There was no concussion, just the flu.”

Howard said the flu hit him around 1 p.m. the day of Game 4 last Thursday. He led the team out for the pre-game skate and left before it was over.

“It progressively got worse,” Howard said. “Training and medical staff tried to give me all the medication so I could go out there and play for the guys, but as I got out there things just got worse and worse. I missed most of the game because I was too busy in the toilet area. It’s tough to go out that way, to not play again because of the flu. For me, I wanted to be out there for the guys in the worst way. We really tried, it just didn’t work out.”