ESPN: Howie is Your Starter

Once again, ESPN tries to flex its hockey-know-how muscles, and fails.  This:espnlogo

It was only a matter of time. Jimmy Howard is now your starting goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings.

That’s not to say Chris Osgood might fight his way back into the role at some point this season, but Howard is enjoying his first run in net after fighting down Osgood on the merit of his own play. That means he doesn’t have to do as much in the future to win back the role again, if he should lose it.

Sigh.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I made the extra stupid parts bold on this one.  Howard is not your starter.  Ozzie has been battling the flu, and the two have been rotating in and out of games.  But Ozzie is your guy, no matter what ESPN tells you.  Oh and it goes on too…

For fantasy owners, this is the beginning of what will be a long and happy relationship. Howard has been a star in waiting for some time now. His minor league numbers with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins aren’t great, but they were a really bad team when he was backstopping them from 2005 until last season. But looking back to his college hockey days, you’ll notice he holds the NCAA record for save percentage and goals-against average in a season.

So you’re saying he’s a star even though his AHL numbers the past 4 years haven’t been good?  And that’s because Grand Rapids was bad?  That’s three more strikes.

  1. You call him a star and say his numbers haven’t been good in a single sentence.
  2. You fail to realize that he was an AHL all-star in 2006, which would mean he is both a star and posted good numbers.
  3. Grand Rapids is not a bad team.  They have made the play-offs 3 out of the last 5 years.

His numbers are only so-so this season, but a .910 save percentage and 2.55 goals-against average are still passable. Besides, those numbers have been steadily improving. Since November 1, Howard has a 2.17 GAA and a .923 save percentage. When Howard starts on Wednesday against St. Louis (which coach Mike Babcock has already confirmed), he will have started six of the past eight games for the Red Wings, as a healthy Osgood warms the bench.

I haven’t seen that confirmed yet, but I’ll look.  And Ozzie was sick for a good portion of those eight games.  Now that he’s healthy, Howard played one of his best games and the coach chooses to use him two games in a row.  Does this equate to a changing of the guard?  Hardly.

Believe it or not, the starter for a team that has played in the past two Stanley Cups is available in over 88 percent of ESPN leagues. So go ahead and snatch up Howard now. This will be the first of many times you own him during his career.

Though I do appreciate the vote of confidence in our young goalie, this really smells like a wild, knee jerk reaction where someone is trying to get on the inside track of an “I told you so!” moment.