The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/03/12 at 05:54 PM ET
There’s kind-of-sort-of good news regarding the broken finger which will keep Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard out of the Wings’ next two games: According to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, Howard suffered a broken fingertip on his right index finger ([edit/update: Roose says it’s a clean break, too,] and not a broken pinky), which is something goalies can usually play through…
The Red Wings have learned that they will be without their All-Star goaltender for the remaining two games of their road trip after Jimmy Howard suffered a broken index finger on his right hand in Thursday’s 4-3 shoot-out win at Vancouver.The injury occurred early in the third period when Howard made a blocker save on a close-range shot along the ice by Canucks center Max Lapierre. Howard skated to the Wings’ bench during the next stoppage where he was examined by Piet VanZant, the team’s athletic therapist, who taped up the finger.
Howard finished the game and didn’t allow a goal in the shoot-out, stopping the Canucks’ Alex Edler and Mason Raymond to earn his league-leading 32nd win of the season. Howard is also third among league starters with a 2.03 goals-against average, and second with five shutouts.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan is confirming the team’s recall of Joey MacDonald, which will tax the Grand Rapids Griffins as they’re playing 3 games in 3 nights this weekend, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James spoke to Howard about his injury (and St. James posted a picture of Howard’s finger taped up as well)...
“I happened about four minutes into the third last night,” Howard said today. “Went blocker down, took everything away down low, and when (Maxim) Lapierre spun and shot it, it missed my blocker and caught me right on the finger.”
Howard is to be re-evaluated Tuesday, after the Wings return to Detroit.
“Go home and see our doctors there, get their opinion,” he said. “But I’ve played with broken fingers before, so I’m going to fiddle around with my sticks and cut some notches out of them, so, hopefully, I’ll be able to hold on to them.”
The Wings recalled Joey MacDonald from the minors to serve as Ty Conklin’s backup for the rest of the trip. Howard has been a rock for the Wings all season, going 32-11-1 with a .924 save percentage and 2.03 goals-against average.
Conklin would have been likely to play against the Oilers, anyway, and this provides an opportunity for him to show the Wings that they can rely on him prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline. He has had more rough outings this season than not—he’s 3-5 with a .886 save percentage and 3.20 GAA.
And MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke to Wings GM Ken Holland about Howard’s injury, too, noting that this kind of injury is both a best-case scenario and simply involves pain tolerance issues:
“The good news is it’s his stick hand and it’s the tip of the finger,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “We won’t have to wait until it’s totally healed for him to play. He just needs a little time. He wants to stay with the team. He feels he won’t be out too long.’‘
Howard will miss at least the next two games, Saturday at Edmonton and Monday at Phoenix, while Joey MacDonald, recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins, serves as Ty Conklin’s back-up.
“Jimmy will stay with us (on the trip),’’ Holland said. “When we get back to Detroit on Tuesday he’ll see a doctor and we’ll get a little better read on when he can play. Does he need a week? I don’t know. We want to give him a little bit of time.’‘
The injury happened in the third period of Thursday’s 4-3 shootout victory in Vancouver, when Howard was hit by a shot from Max Lapierre. Howard skated over to the bench to see trainer Piet Van Zant but stayed in the game.
If I were to hazard a guess, despite the fact that the Wings play every other day between now and Valentine’s Day, we’ll probably see Howard return a week from now when the team hosts the Ducks, given the Wings’ medical staff’s cautious ways, but missing 3 games instead of 2 is very thankfully much less scary than the 2+-week healing period which the press initially reported Howard was facing.
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