Of all the players from last night’s failure that could be talked about in a non-positive light, I would think that Howard would not be one of them. I would be wrong, though. Sure there are some fans out there who don’t really know any better. They see the other team score and want to blame the last guy to screw up, meaning the goalie. But I didn’t expect to see a report on that very subject written and published for the world to see.
More after the jump:
Noticed this article from Eric Thomas on Twitter today. I read it. I disagreed with it. Now I’ll explain why.
“Jimmy Howard was perfect when the Hawks peppered him with shots in the second period; praise for acrobatic saves rained down from Twitter while many held their breath and wondered, ‘Will this be Jimmy Howard’s signature playoff win?’”
Wait, we’re still waiting for a signature win? The four from round one weren’t enough? He outplayed Hiller in round one. Stole a series from a deeper Ducks’ team. No signature wins, though? Hell, Howard outplayed Crawford, too. Crawford faced about three good scoring chances all night. One hit the post, one hit the crossbar and the other went in. Wow! Stellar!
“The Red Wings’ lost game two[sic] in Chicago, and you can’t blame that on Jimmy Howard. The goalie did not lose the game. He didn’t win it either.”
As you can see, Thomas doesn’t blame Howard, nor is he offering him a pat on the back. No Wings goalie from the last 20 years wins that game last night. None come close. Howard did. For Howard to win that game, considering the rate the Wings were getting shots and scoring chances, he probably needs to stop 59/60 shots before Detroit wins 2-1 in 2OT.
I often argue with our Art Department over expectations of certain players. Franzen comes to mind. Abdelkader, too. But if you expect Howard to stop 50+ shots and only let in one, stop watching hockey.
Not to say he can’t do that. In fact, at some point I’m sure he will because he’s awesome. He just shouldn’t have to.
“To be fair, the defense hasn’t helped him this year. He’s 2nd in shots against, but Henrik Lundqvist and Tukka Rask are right behind him, both boasting better save percentages than number 35.”
If Rask didn’t have Zdeno Chara and the rest of his defense, the Bruins would be long gone. Same for Lundqvist. Do either of them have to deal with the likes of Smith/Quincey for 20 minutes a night?
There isn’t a contender in the NHL right now whose chances of winning the cup wouldn’t be either the same or better with Howard on their team.
Thomas acknowledges that Howard occupies one of the two most scrutinized jobs in Detroit. I’m just at a loss that people don’t realize he’s the best Wings goalie we’ve seen in a generation.
What do you think?
Imagine if Smith was living up to his potential. Not saying hes a dud, because I fully believe that he will be an impact defender in the future, but damn hes having a horrible time. Quincey on the other hand has been pretty damn good over the last few games, so its hard to fault him for Smith's shoddy play anymore. I think game 1 was a throw away, and now the team has a better idea of what they need to do to steal a game in Chicago.
NOT Jimmy's fault.
I guess 28 minutes of keeping the score tied when your team is being dominated is not long enough to impress some people.
Speaking ill of Howard's performance or intimating he is in some way at fault for the loss, is completely wrong and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding or our game. Consider what happens prior to a goalie even being required to make a save. Assuming the puck is in the offensive zone the following breakdowns occur. First thing that happens, the puck changes possession. Second, the forecheck fails. Third, the neutral zone system fails. Fourth, the defensive zone system fails. Finally, the puck is shot on/at the goal. Seems like plenty of blame to go around. Perhaps Thomas should critique something besides hockey?
I think the goal where the puck was lodged on the side of the net was certainly preventable by Howard.
But he's playing so well, he's stopping every first shot that he's in position for. You can't ask for much more from a goalie.
He's the only goalie with high-end skill still in his prime this team has had since I've been alive (almost 30 years). Has he let in a weak goal or two here and there? Yes, but everyone does. He's basically facing beautiful one-time setups by his defense for the Hawks (*glares at Smith*) and a parade of breakaways. McGuire can say he chokes in the 3rd Period, but it isn't him that chokes- it's his team. Watch the games instead of just looking at stats...
Agreed.. I was always a bit sceptical of Howie, but he has proven me way WAY wrong....he doesn't turn the puck over, and not score on PP. How many times has he been hung out to dry by our D? Not bashing, just speaking the truth. Hats off to Jim Howard. He has been a rock, and I'm damn glad he's our guy! Just regroup boys for game 2, score some goals. 1 goal isn't gonna beat the Hawks for sure.... :)
I don't understand why anyone needs to defend Howard. It's obvious to actual fans who consistently watch the team that he has been our saving grace throughout the season. He wants to win, and does a damn good job in giving the team the best chance to do so.