Jimmy Howard Is The Right Choice In Goal For The Red Wings


The Detroit Red Wings have been diligently checking off items on their post season honey-do list.

  • Clinching the their 24th consecutive playoff experience – Check
  • Clinching in time enough to get some extra rest to their key players – Check
  • Deciding on the starting goal tender for the playoffs – Incomplete

The regular season is winding down and coach Mike Babcock still hasn’t determined who is starting netminder will be for the final regular season game and beyond.  Babcock’s tinkering with problem hasn’t yielded any results and neither Petr Mrazek or Jimmy Howard have done anything to seize the opportunity.

Whether Babcock decides on Howard or Mrazek the two shouldn’t have any complaints as they have both been given plenty of chances.

With Jimmy Howard slumping down the stretch, Mike Babcock gave Petr Mrazek an opportunity to capture starting role.  Mrazek failed to impress while trading starts with Howard during the last for most of March he returned to the back-up role in the final week. On the other hand the periodic benching seemed to help Howard who notched two wins in his last two starts going into the clinching game against Montreal.

Although the Wings qualified for the playoffs on a less than impressive effort Thursday they did so by losing in overtime. If not for a Boston loss on Thursday the Wings would be playing for their Stanley Cup lives today.  Howard was a big reason for the loss against Montreal by giving up three soft goals.  Instead of looking like a franchise goal tender in a clutch situation, Howard’s lack of concentration seemed to return.  That is troubling for the Wings entering the playoffs.

Although Jimmy Howard has been woefully inconsistent this season he is still the right choice to start for Red Wings playoff run.  Despite his more than occasional inconsistency Jimmy Howard has shown the ability to bounce back.  He also has shown the ability to perform in the playoffs.

By starting in the playoffs you’d think Howard could combine those abilities to have playoff success. This as opposed to Mrazek who has also been inconsistent but has zero experience as a playoff goal tender.  It is the playoff experience that makes Howard the right choice as starting for the upcoming Stanley Cup run.

Howard’s performance good or bad will be the most compelling story for the Wings during the playoffs. With Howard nearing the end of the monster contract that made him the lightning rod of the franchise, Howard could be playing for his career legacy this postseason.  That type of pressure will either lift him to new heights or crush him like a beer can at a U of M frat party.