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You Knew It Was Coming

from Wes Goldstein of CBS Sports,

Howard wasn’t the only reason the uncharacteristically tentative Red Wings lost 4-2 at home to Phoenix in a nationally televised game on Sunday that left them behind 2-1 in the series. But he certainly played a role. In fact Howard is arguably the biggest reason Detroit is facing a surprisingly uphill battle

His play has been anything but steady, in marked contrast to what is happening at the other end. Ilya Bryzgalov, a leading candidate for the Vezina Trophy and the Hart Trophy as league MVP this season, has been giving his upstart team a chance to win in each of the games so far, while Howard, well, has not.

Jitters might have explained Howard’s effort in the series opener, even though it was his best effort to this point. Truth is the rookie Red Wings netminder has been fighting the puck since the outset of the series in the desert, and if it wasn’t apparent before, it had to be after Detroit dropped this pivotal Game 3.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jimmy+howard

Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

Howard wasn’t the biggest issue the Wings had on the ice today.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 04/18/10 at 11:07 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

Defense was completely and utterly atrocious.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 04/18/10 at 11:38 PM ET

Osrt's avatar

Howard has played like a rookie trying to do too much. Relax and trust your skill James.

Posted by Osrt on 04/18/10 at 11:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

And this is why CBS doesn’t cover hockey.

Howard hasn’t been a world-beater or anything, but he’s been fine.

Posted by Primis on 04/19/10 at 12:27 AM ET

Avatar

he’s been terrible.

Posted by bingo bango on 04/19/10 at 12:34 AM ET

Avatar

When your defense is excellent your goalie only needs to be adequate.  See: Fleury and Boucher.

Posted by stoneman from vegas on 04/19/10 at 01:01 AM ET

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That 4th goal was very weak!

Posted by Timbits on 04/19/10 at 01:20 AM ET

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the fourth goal was weak, but this article is total and utter bullshit.  bryzgalov hasn’t been setting the goaltending world afire in this series, either.  Howard’s surrendered 11 goals in 3 games.  “Breezy” has surrendered 10 goals in 3 games.  Goldstein can suck it - just like the Wings’ TEAM defense this afternoon.

But hanging this on Howard is a fuchin joke.

Posted by mudshark on 04/19/10 at 01:28 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

I’m not going to blame Howard exclusively for anything, but I do agree with Osrt. I think his youth is starting to catch up to him.

I’m thrilled to have been wrong about Jimmy this season. The kid has been spectacular and a huge part of keeping the Wings in the hunt. But he’s looked a bit rattled this series. He is not making the big saves he made regular season, and he is not making some of the easier saves the team needs him to make.

His posture in net is not as confident. His head is down after giving up a goal. NBC had a shot of him on the bench late game when he was pulled for the extra attacker, and he was beating his stick/blocker against his head. I’m concerned that his workload through the season is starting to catch up mentally. The pressure here is greater than anything he’s faced or even witnessed first hand, and it’s only going to build with each game.

I don’t want to give up on the kid, but it’s been a crazy for him. I almost hope Ozzy starts game 4. Almost. For now, I’m ok with Ozzy just counseling him. But I hope Babs keeps a close eye on things and I don’t think he will hesitate to switch in Ozzy if needed on Tuesday. Rusty or not,  we all know Ozzy plays best when everything is on the line. I think he’ll be ready if needed.

Jimmy, like the Wings right now, needs some confidence.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/19/10 at 01:30 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

We lost two games in the first round in 97, 98, 02 and 08. This is nothing.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/19/10 at 09:52 AM ET

detroitdan1982's avatar

I thought he looked pretty good at times yesterday, the fourth goal was the worst one. Tomorrow night is make or break to say the least.

Posted by detroitdan1982 from St. John's, NL on 04/19/10 at 11:34 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Uh, yeah, Howard gave up one bad goal, but goaltending has been a wash in this series. Nevermind Bryzgalov gave up two short side goals himself and yet his team still got it done. The Coyotes are up 2-1 because they’ve played with far more effort and desire than Detroit through the first three games, no doubt about it. Neither goalie has been stand-on-his head spectacular, but both have played well enough.

This is very reminiscent of the Wings’ series against the Ducks or Kings earlier in the decade. They just aren’t working as hard as the other team.

Look at the Edmonton and Calgary series—those were about goaltending.

But this series with Phoenix? Phoenix is just plain playing harder. No two ways about it. Any other explanation is nothing more than a rationalization or excuse.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/19/10 at 01:06 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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