The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/30/13 at 10:00 AM ET
As we wait for the Red Wings to make their roster decisions...
MLive's Brendan Savage penned a fantastic profile of Wings goalie Jimmy Howard...
"If there's one thing I've always been told by my parents," said Howard, a 29-year-old native of Syracuse, N.Y., "it's that you don't rest on your laurels. It doesn't matter what you did in the past, you got to continue to go out there and prove yourself, work hard and play hard. I don't expect much to change here other than go out and get better.''
So Howard, who has been a workhorse since replacing Chris Osgood as Detroit's No. 1 netminder in 2009-10, spends every day trying to help the Red Wings win their fifth Stanley Cup since 1997.
Twice in four seasons he's ranked among the top 10 NHL goalies in both games and minutes played. He's also been eighth or better in wins four straight seasons and has been among the top 10 in save percentage three times.
"I enjoy being out there and I enjoy competing," said Howard, who was fifth last season in both minutes (2,446) and games (42). "I get really bored just sitting there. I'm the type of guy that wants to be out there and play every single night. I definitely don't mind the workload one bit.''
Howard's captain and general manager believe in their go-to netminder--as do Daniel Cleary and Brendan Smith, but I can't quote all of Savage's "more than worth your time" article:
"He is one of the best goalies in the league now," said Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. "He proved that last year. For a goalie it takes time to establish yourself in this league. Howie has really gone the proper way. He was the backup to Ozzie for a few years and kind of learned to see what he did, how he prepared and how he challenged himself in practices and games. Howie's doing the same thing. Every year he's taken a step. Now he is one of the elite goalies. We know he will give us a chance to go all the way and win the Cup again.''
General manager Ken Holland agrees. Holland put the Red Wings' future in Howard's hands last spring, when he gave Howard a six-year contract extension worth $31.8 million. That more than doubled Howard's annual salary while making him the 10th-highest-paid goalie at $5.5 million. Holland almost sounded like he got a bargain when he signed Howard in April.
"If you look at the contract that we signed, we're going to wake up in a year and maybe there's eight or 10 goaltenders that are going to make more than Jimmy Howard," Holland said. "It's an important day to me because we got somebody locked up that's really important, at a number that he feels good about, that we feel good about, that we can work with."
Savage's article also includes a video of Howard discussing the battle for a spot on the 2014 Olympic team:
The Red Wingsalso received a mention in the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek's, uh...Monday notebook? I guess this is a start-of-the-season thing given that he usually writes these on Friday:
Apart from placing teams in their correct geographic divisions, the primary implication of realignment is that it brought hope to the bottom half of the Western Conference. For years now, the West has been the stronger of the NHL’s two conferences, but that all changed when the Detroit Red Wings shifted east as part of a three-team switch. Essentially, the other two teams - Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets – are a wash, two non-playoff teams, with young cores, hopping to get better. But Detroit has been in the playoffs for 22 consecutive years and Detroit gave the Chicago Blackhawks the biggest push in last year’s playoffs. The Red Wings were just a so-so team in the first half of the lockout-shortened season, but they got better and better as the year went along.
Detroit is going to be a handful again – and as one of 16 teams chasing eight playoff spots, is going to push somebody out. Over in the West, the percentage to qualify for postseason play is significantly higher – 57 per cent compared to 50, on the basis of eight of 14 qualifying.
And Finally, For the Moment, Anyway: The proximity of the regular season opener yielded fulfilling sponsorship obligations for the Wings' players this morning:
Something tells me that the Wings wore their exhibition season jerseys for the last time. Those usually head to Hockeytown Authentics at either the Joe or Troy this week...
And hey, at least they didn't have to deal with being part of the NHL's new sponsorship deal with Pfizer and Advil. That would've been a different kind of remedy-your-morning-ache-and-pain fun.
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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.