Abel to Yzerman
by Paul on 03/19/14 at 01:35 PM ET
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Jimmy Howard sits in the corner of the Detroit Red Wings’ dressing room, right next to an eraserboard bolted to a cinderblock wall. Every day, the staff updates the NHL standings, wiping out old numbers, writing in new ones. Every day, the situation is on display in black and white.
As Howard took off his goalie equipment after a game Tuesday night, he looked to his left and listened as trainer Piet Van Zant stood next to the board, pointed to team after team and reported on the action around the league in real time, looking like a TV weatherman going over a map of a storm.
By Wednesday morning, the board looked like this: The Columbus Blue Jackets held the final wild-card spot in the East with 76 points and 30 regulation and overtime wins. The Washington Capitals were right behind with 76 points and 25 ROWs, but they had played 70 games, two more than the Jackets and Wings. The Wings had 75 points and 26 ROWs.
“We all know what’s at stake – 22 years of making [the playoffs] and everything like that – and it’s good,” Howard said. “The bar was set high for us, and it gives us something to strive for each year. We’ve just got to keep battling, keep clawing, keep finding a way to get points, and you never know what’s going to happen.”
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