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Morning Line

“Everything that I’ve gone through does make these last two weeks even sweeter for me.  I’m not sure what’s going happen next. Whatever they decide to do next is fine with me. I’m just determined to enjoy the ride as long as I can.”

-Joey MacDonald, goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings.  More on MacDonald and the Wings from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joey+macdonald


42jeff's avatar

Don’t clean out your locker just yet Joey.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 02/18/12 at 03:20 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

Yea, he has earned the right to back up Howard for the rest of the year.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 02/18/12 at 03:34 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

What a great attitude.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/18/12 at 03:46 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I actually think they should send him back down to Grand Rapids until the playoffs (or another injury). I think one of the reason Conklin was so rusty in his very limited appearances is he just never played. He was sitting for 20 game chunks. Meanwhile, Joey was playing day in and day out for Grand Rapids so when his opportunity came, there was no rust. He was in game condition. I’m guessing they’re planning on riding Howard the rest of the season like they were before the injury, so whoever backs him up is going to sit the vast majority of the time. Whereas if Joey goes back down and plays most of the games till the playoffs he can then come up and back up Jimmy in the playoffs, again, in game condition.

Also, Conklin would have to be waived and while it’s extremely unlikely anyone would snag him off waivers, if someone DID and Jimmy got hurt again, we would then have Joey as a starter and either Mccollum or Pierce backing him up which would not be good.

I think Joey has earned a shot at being next season’s backup for sure, but I think for the rest of this season both Joey and the team would be better served with him playing a bunch. I also think at Joey’s age, he’s able to take a move like that in stride understanding the big picture, especially if they drop a hint that he very well could spend all of next season with Detroit.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/18/12 at 04:18 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/18/12 at 01:18 PM ET

I see your logic there.

I don’t LIKE it…but it’s logical.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 02/18/12 at 04:46 PM ET


True, but he was sitting for 20 game chunks because he wasn’t playing well at the beginning of the season when he was being used as a regular back up.

And personally I think that is letting Conklin off WAY too easy.  He was hired to be a back up and has been, for the most part, a career back up.  That is what back up goalies do.  They practice every day to stay fresh and they sit on the bench 80% of the time, then they do their best when called upon.

Having him playing in GR instead of sitting in Detroit might be a good idea if we were talking about a young goalie who is adjusting to professional hockey or the North American rink size, but MacDonald has been a professional goalie for a decade and has never played more than 49 games at the NHL level (and only ever played more than that at the AHL level).  As I said above, he’s a back up.  That’s what back ups do.

I’d rather have MacDonald on the bench and ready to play should he be needed than having him shuttled back and forth between GR and Detroit.

As much as it’s a concern to have Howard burn out from playing too much, it also has to be of concern to have a career backup playing most nights in GR and then having to travel to Detroit or wherever Detroit is playing.  That could easily burn him out too.

but I think for the rest of this season both Joey and the team would be better served with him playing a bunch.

I 100% disagree.  You’re worried about what happens if Jimmy gets hurt and Joey is the startup with McCollum or Pearce behind him, but what if Jimmy gets injured in the first period of an important game and you have to put Ty Conklin in the net?

The team does not trust Conklin, that much has to be evident from the last little while.  Hell, compare the way the Wings played in the first period when Conklin started and how they played in the second and third of that same game?

No, as far as I’m concerned the only reason to send MacDonald down is because they want to save money by paying him his AHL salary instead of his NHL salary, and I think MacDonald has earned that NHL salary.

I guess there’s a second reason to send him down, and that is if the Wings pick up another backup, but Holland has said they’re good in goal, so I believe 100% that he plans on keeping MacDonald in Detroit.  They can carry 3 goalies while Eaves is still out, so I suppose they can keep Conklin up to try and trade him, but I would be very, very surprised to see him even wearing a Red Wings jersey in a game situation this year.

Posted by Garth on 02/18/12 at 04:47 PM ET

Paul's avatar

FYI, Joey starting again tomorrow, few more days for Howard to heal.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 02/18/12 at 04:50 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Pretty sure both players are vulnerable to waivers as both have plenty of time in the league. Jmac’s two-way contract this year may protect him from waivers in one direction, but I’m not sure which if at all. Maybe one of those more versed in the CBA around here can confirm that.

I think we have zero fear of Conklin getting claimed. But with Jmac, if you’re a spiteful team in need of a goaltending boost—particularly in the central division (Chicago, Columbus; or simply Garth Snow), you might just snag him to put pressure on the Wings.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 02/18/12 at 05:25 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I’d be interested to know this too Nate. I don’t think Mac needs to be waived because either he hasn’t played enough NHL games the last couple seasons or his two way contract is low enough in the AHL. But I definitely could be wrong and agree that Joey would be more likely to be taken at this point. You’d think this would have come up thought somewhere if it were a possibility.

Posted by Garth

look, I’m not really that concerned with the JoeyMac/McCollum scenario, mainly because despite Joey’s recent success, I think if Howard goes down for any long term in the playoffs, we are likely in trouble. The margin of victory is so fine come playoff time that if the wrong guy gets a charlie horse at the wrong time, an otherwise cup capable team peters out. So I really think whether Conklin or Joey are sitting on the bench, it’s really Jimmy or bust.

With that said, Joey’s been great and has kept the streak alive and I’m totally with you that if Howard went down in a game, I’d much rather Joey come in… which is why I said you bring him up as backup for the playoffs. If Howard goes down in the middle of a regular season game and Conklin comes in for a period, it does decrease our chances of winning that particular game, but the season isn’t exactly riding on it (yeah I realize every point counts, but we can afford a few losses before the end of the season. compared to the real playoffs, this is preseason). Joey would be there for the games in which the season is literally riding on in case Jimmy does go down AND he would have been playing a lot so he would be ready.

Your “backup” talk is a misrepresentation of both the position and the situation this year. Yes, backups by definition play less than the starters and have to be ready to go. With that said, ALL goalies are sharper when they’ve been playing in game situations. Every last one would tell you that practice just isn’t the same and it takes a few games in a row to really shake the rust off. That’s not saying a backup doesn’t have to “be ready’ and do the best they can under any circumstance, but it’s inaccurate to pretend that consistent playing time or the lack of it, doesn’t have some bearing on their play. Also, due to the amazing year Howard has been having, Conklin has gotten less work than the typical backup. That’s not an excuse, and I’m sure he’d be the first to say that, but it is true and likely has affected his play.

And it’s not like Conklin CAN’T win games. Granted he hasn’t looked sharp most of his limited action, but the time he played before he got pulled, he won a really tight shootout game in which I thought he played great. So, having him come in for Howard once or twice in the regular season isn’t exactly a disaster scenario…

I’d honestly be good with either decision in the end, because again, I don’t think it really matters. With the league as tight as it is I think we have a great shot at wining the cup with Howard in net and we probably hardly have any without him. But I still think with the momentum Joey’s been building the last handful of games, allowing him to keep playing every night would be the best for his game, which would serve the team the best IN THE PLAYOFFS which is what really matters.

Though I’m in full agreement with everyone that Joey has earned the backup spot, to me it’s just a matter of strategy and playing the probabilities (will Jimmy go down? how much does playing time matter? would Conklin be claimed (and I agree this is highly unlikely)?)

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/18/12 at 06:05 PM ET


which is why I said you bring him up as backup for the playoffs.

That doesn’t help the situation though.  The Red Wings have 23 games left and if you send Joey down then you have to give him extra travel any time you want to bring him back up,

yeah I realize every point counts, but we can afford a few losses before the end of the season.

Can we afford losses in games that we would’ve won if we had capable goaltending for the entire game?  You want teams to earn their wins against Detroit don’t you and not have them given away?

Your “backup” talk is a misrepresentation of both the position

I don’t think I am at all.  There’s a reason that teams are hesitant to bring in a career starter as a back up when there are capable back ups to be had.  If you bring in someone like Marty Turco you have to worry about how he will handle only playing sporadically, but if you bring in a Ty Conklin or a Joey MacDonald then you have a reasonable expectation that they will better handle starting sporadically.

Also, due to the amazing year Howard has been having, Conklin has gotten less work than the typical backup.

I think you’re misrepresenting the situation more than I have.  Conklin hasn’t been playing because he hasn’t been good when he was playing.  The Red Wings have been lucky to have Jimmy play as well as he has because they were forced to play him in situations they didn’t want to, like back-to-backs in two different cities.  Do you think that the Detroit management and coaching staff want him playing 65-70 games at the risk of burning out in the playoffs?  The reason they brought Conklin in was because he was so good in 09-10 and they were hoping he would replicate that so they wouldn’t have to worry if Jimmy didn’t come out and have a Vezina season.

So, having him come in for Howard once or twice in the regular season isn’t exactly a disaster scenario…

Where have you been this season?  If it isn’t a disaster to have Conklin backing up Howard then why was Howard playing 20+ straight games including back to backs in different cities?  Why are the Wings so loathe to start him?  Why has he played 20 minutes in the last nine games?

which would serve the team the best IN THE PLAYOFFS which is what really matters.

Having Joey MacDonald sitting on the bench every night unless Howard gets hurt is somehow best in the playoffs?

How about dressing two goalies that the team is confident in every night?  How about letting Joey start every few games so that Jimmy Howard isn’t burned out IN THE PLAYOFFS which is what really matters?

Joey is starting Sunday and after that the Red Wings will have 22 games left.  If Conklin is the back up, I say there’s maybe a 50/50 chance that Jimmy starts any less than 22 games, whereas if Joey MacDonald is the back up, maybe he starts 3, 4, 5 of those games, giving Jimmy a few days off without having to worry that it’s going to hurt his team having him not start.

I don’t see how having a capable back up in Detroit in any way hurts the team whereas I can simply show you Conklin’s play for most of the season as a reason why it could hurt the team.

Posted by Garth on 02/18/12 at 07:30 PM ET


Regarding waivers, the only thing I could find is that he cleared waivers on Oct 4th to start the season in the AHL.  I don’t know if that would mean he’d have to clear again, but if he does have to clear then I think the argument is moot because Ken Holland is not mentally retarded and he would have to be mentally retarded to risk losing the one good back up option that Detroit has.

Posted by Garth on 02/18/12 at 07:39 PM ET

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