When the Red Wing beat the buffalo Sabres on Sunday it was Jonas Gustasson that got the win in place of the slumping Jimmy Howard.
Jimmy Howard has had a slow start to the season and is a big reason the Red Wings have been so inconsistent.
The Red Wings franchise goaltender is 5-7-6 on the season with a 2.72. goals against average and .908 save percentage. That just won’t cut it for a team that is expected to contend for the Stanley Cup this season.
Those numbers are also a major reason Jonas Gustavsson got the start. Mike Babcock said he planned to start Gustavsson anyway but waffled during post game comments.
But, I mean, bottom line is somebody’s gotta grab it. You gotta grab it and get yourself on a roll.”
We haven’t been good enough. Even last night (Saturday), I thought we had the puck the whole first period, and we find a way to be down, 2-1. … The bottom line is the puck can’t continue to go in our net.”
We expect Howie to be a star,” Babcock said. “We expect that each and every night. All you gotta do is look at our team record. It hasn’t gone as good for him, but I think we’re in that all together. When you’re real organized in your own zone, it’s way easier for your goaltender to play real well. But I also think when you start pressing as an athlete and worrying about things you shouldn’t worry about, things don’t go your way.”
Those comments certainly sound like an indictment of Howard’s play as of late. They also underscore the responsibility that comes with signing a huge contract.
Contract or not, Babcock clearly isn’t afraid to bench Jimmy Howard if needed, even if he doesn’t really admit to it.