Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Jimmy Howard Continues To Work On His Game

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“Everyone goes through bouts like this through their career,” Howard said. “It’s frustrating when it keeps happening. You just got to find a way.”...

He continues working with goaltending coach Jim Bedard on and off the ice searching for answers.

“We’re just constantly trying to work on staying low in your crouch, getting your hands up and out, like I’ve always been.” Howard said. “Continue to hammer that home.

“We always do video. We look at the areas that have been going really well and also look at things we can do better.”

After Thursday’s game, Babcock noted his injury-depleted, offensively challenged club’s slim margin for error, which heightens the importance of strong goaltending.

“We’re not getting to four (goals), we’re getting to three, max,” Babcock said. “You got to keep them to two and under.”

Said Howard: “It’s not like I’m not working hard and not trying, it’s just that things didn’t go well,” Howard said. “It’s not like I was sitting there pointing fingers at other guys. I always take the blame when I know it’s on me.”

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“We’re just constantly trying to work on staying low in your crouch, getting your hands up and out, like I’ve always been.” Howard said.

That’s an interesting quote. To do what Howard has “always” done requires more than strength and conditioning. It’s a technique/style/whatever that requires concentration because it’s not a “natural” body position. And this year, that concentration has been woefully lacking from him.

Maybe it’s been because of worry about getting named to the U.S. Olympic team, or the “comfort” of having a six-year contract worth $31.75M, or something else (becoming a new dad?). Whatever it is, Bedard isn’t going to fix that.

Now I’m not a pharmacist, but it seems to me that “fix” has to come from inside Howard’s own head. And seeing a sports psychologist wouldn’t hurt. Because, until he clears the “crap” out of his head, he’s not going to be concentrating well enough to do what he’s “always” done technically as a goalie.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/11/14 at 10:12 AM ET

Avatar

he’s not going to be concentrating well enough to do what he’s “always” done technically as a goalie.

Well, there’s the problem.  Howard hasn’t “always” been a great technical goalie.  He was decidedly average with periods of greatness at the AHL level, he was great and then good at the NCAA level.

That he burst onto the scene at the NHL level and ripped the job away from Osgood wasn’t an easily predicted outcome.

The question now is whether Howard actually is a great goalie, as in a consistently great goalie, or if he’s a guy that’s far less consistent both year to year and game to game.

I don’t get the impression Howard deals particularly well with adversity, insofar as dealing well with it implies equanimity.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/11/14 at 10:35 AM ET

awould's avatar

I wonder if telling him he’s f*cking up my fantasy team would help get his mind right?

Posted by awould on 01/11/14 at 11:31 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Ah, hell.  Just send him back down to GR for conditioning.

Heh.  I tried.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 01/11/14 at 01:07 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/11/14 at 10:12 AM ET

I think you’re right about what ails Howard.  There have been many occasions this season when he looks almost like he’s in a trance as the puck whizzes by him into the net.  In the Dallas game, it was obvious that he was mentally into it and tracking the puck well.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/11/14 at 02:02 PM ET

Avatar

Howards AHL career GAA was 2.67. His NHL career GAA is 2.4. This year it is 2.74.
There’s no doubt he had 2 above average seasons where his GAA was in the top 10 but every other year hes been below 30th. I know he flashes his glove when the puck goes flying right into it like it was a miracle save and everything, but he is average. and thats not necessarily a bad thing if his defense can clean up his garbage.

Posted by brians neck on 01/11/14 at 03:47 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

To much being asked of Howard. He’s a good goalie but with mediocre defense we should expect mediocre playoff hope.
Team -10 GF/GA as of today, nine teams better in the Eastern Conference.
Red Wings winning % when leading after 2nd period ranked 29th worst in NHL says it all.
This teams current roster can’t score enough or play defense good enough.
Terry Sawchuk we need but last I checked he’s not with us anymore.
Injury excuse getting old.
Babs can continue to go with goalie rotation riding hot netminder until Holland can get bring in new hope come trade deadline for playoff push.

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 01/11/14 at 04:54 PM ET

Avatar

To much being asked of Howard.

What, “don’t play like garbage” is too much to ask of a guy whose salary is in the top ten among goalies?

Posted by Garth on 01/12/14 at 12:23 PM ET

SK77's avatar

What, “don’t play like garbage” is too much to ask of a guy whose salary is in the top ten among goalies?

Posted by Garth on 01/12/14 at 12:23 PM ET

His salary this year makes him #10 in the NHL ... and cap hit puts him at #13.

Not exactly paying a top shelf premium for his services.

Posted by SK77 on 01/12/14 at 02:04 PM ET

Avatar

His salary this year makes him #10 in the NHL ... and cap hit puts him at #13.

Top ten isn’t premium?

How about when his GAA is the 42nd best in the NHL and his save percentage is 39th best in the league?

Or when his goals against and save percentage are both third on his team?

Or when he’s won eight of 26 starts?

His backup’s record is 11-5, so he’s getting it done, you can’t put it all on the team in from of him.

Curiously, which of those facts and figures suggests that the a Wings aren’t paying a top shelf premium for what could very, very generously be called a mediocre season so far?

The Wings are paying him way, way too much for the play he’s given them this year.

Posted by Garth on 01/12/14 at 02:37 PM ET

SK77's avatar

His backup’s record is 11-5, so he’s getting it done, you can’t put it all on the team in from of him.

Posted by Garth on 01/12/14 at 02:37 PM ET

That there are 12 starting goaltenders with a higher salary cap hit than Howard does in fact make me not think of him as top shelf premium from a cost perspective.

And versus Gustavsson, their stats aren’t that far off as long as long as you don’t look at Gus’ stats from last season or his career, in which case Howard looks a lot better.

Using NHL’s stats (they omit goalies who haven’t played a certain amount of games, including Mrazek).

2013-2014 Season
Save %: Gustavsson—21st. Howard—23rd.
GAA: Gustavsson—17th. Howard—28th.
Shutouts: Gustavsson—43rd (0). Howard—12th (2).

2012-2013 Season
Gustavsson: .879% and 2.92 GAA
Howard: .932% and 2.13 GAA

Career Stats
Gustavsson: 131 games, .901%, 2.90 GAA, 5 shutouts
Howard: 260 games, .917%, 2.39 GAA, 18 shutouts

Howard hasn’t played very well this season and Gus has definitely gotten the job done. But when you put the actual numbers down all the Blame-Howard stuff doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Posted by SK77 on 01/12/14 at 02:55 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.