For what seems like an eternity now, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has been deemed the “goalie-in-waiting” for the Wings. Beginning his AHL career four seasons ago with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Howard and Wings fans saw one goalie after another fill the starter or backup role for the team. Now with players like Hasek, Legace and Conklin out of the way, Howard has made the most out of his time with the Wings.
In the four previous seasons combined, Howard participated in a total of nine games for the Wings. While this inconsistent rhythm would shake most goalies, Howard has shown that he is maturing as a goalie for one of the NHL’s most rabid fan bases.
It’s not like the pressure is off of him too. Daniel Larsson and Thomas McCollum have had tremendous success on the world stage and they are set to be the next target of fan affection once Osgood retires or Howard looks shaky. However, that may be a difficult feat as Howard has already become a wiley veteran at age 25.
In this week’s back-to-back games, Howard was nothing but brilliant between the pipes. He positioned himself well with crowds around the net, and especially in last night’s game, he showed how a solid goaltender can keep a team in the game. The Canucks completely outplayed the Wings for most of that game and they probably left the Joe wondering what had happened. That is what Howard has begun to do more of lately – show that he is here to stay for the Wings.