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Despite Team USA’s loss at the Worlds, Howard was superb all tournament long

Despite Team USA's loss at the World Championship today, Jimmy Howard played excellent hockey in Team USA's crease, pitching a 1.86 GAA and a .9197 save percentage. Prior to today's game vs. Finland, NHL.com's Brian Hedger penned a notebook article about Howard's attempt to extend his 2016-17 campaign for as long as possible:

After missing 33 games for the Red Wings with an MCL sprain, the 33-year old veteran wasn't ready to begin the offseason in April.

"Jimmy wanted to come to this tournament," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who ran the bench for the U.S. "He made that known early in the process, once we were eliminated from the playoffs. I just think for his own sake, he'd played so well until he got hurt, and he played very well when he got back. He just wanted to keep playing hockey."

Larkin saw that desire as far back as last summer, when Howard put in a lot of work to sharpen his game.

He hasn't stopped working since, despite the injury and the work that required to rehabilitate it.

"Even with the injury, he's had a really good season," Larkin said. "He kept us in a lot of games in Detroit, and then to have the injury, everyone was feeling for him. He hasn't taken any time off. He didn't even take the bye week off in Detroit. He was still skating and stayed for the All-Star break, rehabbing. Then, after the season, he skated all the way up until this tournament. You can see it paying off for him, too. You look at that game against the Russians, he kept us in it."

Hedger continues, and even though the Americans won't be playing for a medal, Howard took another step forward at the Worlds--as did Dylan Larkin, who posted 2 goals, 8 assists and 10 points in 8 games played for Team USA.

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Comments

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Someone’s going to get suckered by a 33-year old having a near-career year after several terrible ones in a row.

Let’s hope it isn’t Kenny.

(It is.)

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/19/17 at 07:20 AM ET

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Yeah, better to give away the goalie who had a career year for nothing because the mediocre one might be good in a few years.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/19/17 at 09:04 AM ET

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He’s.

Thirty.

Three.

And.

Sucked.

The.

Last.

Three.

Years.

You’re betting on him having TURNED A CORNER, instead of having a good half-season.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/19/17 at 09:06 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/19/17 at 09:06 AM ET

My advice is to to ignore Howe&Howe; pt II.

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/19/17 at 09:32 AM ET

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Games against lesser-lites like Latvia, Italy, Denmark tend to skew stats.

I see Howard played 3 games against genuine competition…Sweden, Russia, Finland. In those 3 games he had a 2.67 GAA and .901 SV%. I wouldn’t call that superb, especially in a low-scoring tournament like this. But whatever.

We all know Konservative Kenny would love to bring back both Howard and Mrazek…you need a good 1-2 punch…we think both guys can be elite…blah, blah.

Posted by fatsavage on 05/19/17 at 10:22 AM ET

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I really like Howard.

I think most of us do?

And I’m really impressed by his work ethic and attitude
and how he’s embraced the challenge since ‘15-‘16

But that has little to do with what’s best for the team and
its asset management going forward.

I don’t claim to have the answers there, but I do know we need
to be rational and forward-thinking as an organization.
And those two things have been in short supply in recent years.

Posted by Lefty30 on 05/19/17 at 01:27 PM ET

dreamsofhope's avatar

Posted by Lefty30 on 05/19/17 at 01:27 PM ET

Tons of respect for this post Lefty. Very well said on both sides. You’re a non dualistic thinker in a very dualistic world. We need more of this around here.

Posted by dreamsofhope from Colorado on 05/19/17 at 01:40 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

My advice is to to ignore Howe&Howe; pt II.

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/19/17 at 09:32 AM ET

Actually, ILH, I think CDMD reminds me more of the second coming of Garth. He usually makes a fairly good point but he seems determined to always do it in a snarky or condescending way.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/19/17 at 02:22 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Games against lesser-lites like Latvia, Italy, Denmark tend to skew stats.

So does playing for the second to worst team in the East, yet still posting a .927 and 2.10 GAA for a team that allowed the 5th most goals in the regular season.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/19/17 at 02:30 PM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Games against lesser-lites like Latvia, Italy, Denmark tend to skew stats.

So does playing for the second to worst team in the East, yet still posting a .927 and 2.10 GAA for a team that allowed the 5th most goals in the regular season.

So does only playing 26 games. Let’s hope that the wings don’t over-value his recent play when goalie decision time comes , especially when there are so many other factors working against him (age, durability, contract).

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 05/19/17 at 04:03 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Let’s hope that the wings don’t over-value his recent play when goalie decision time comes , especially when there are so many other factors working against him (age, durability, contract).

I personally don’t care what they do with Howard.  Either he starts for us, backs up Petr, or he’s on a different team.  It really doesn’t have a huge impact on this team, at least in a negative way, for the term of his contract.

Why?  Because sure, he gets paid a decent amount of money, but they aren’t needing to get his cap hit off the book.  We aren’t signing free agents for the next couple years, so it really doesn’t matter. 

I’m more concerned about whether or not Petr can be a long term solution.  On top of that, I’m concerned who’s going to bail him out when he gets wobbly in February. 

Joey MacDonald still around?!??

Posted by TreKronor on 05/19/17 at 04:19 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Joey MacDonald still around?!??

Would you take Ty Conklin or Manny Legace? smile

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/19/17 at 04:55 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Would you take Ty Conklin or Manny Legace?

Oh man.  I’ve had a huge crush on Manny since…a long time ago, so that’s a no brainer for me!

BTW, I just looked up Joey Mac out of curiosity, and he’s actively playing in Germany in the Deutschland Elite League.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/19/17 at 04:59 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.

 

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