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“Detroit Fans Don’t Know Goaltending”

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Our latest article was linked on Puck Daddy yesterday.  Yet, as usual, when it is anyone other than Greg Wysh from Puck Daddy, they included their usual hate on Wings fans.  This time is was some new guy, Harrison Mooney, who’s like a really poor man’s Ryan Lambert:

Nightmare on Helm Street thinks Jimmy Howard, who was just named the NHL’s second star of the week, is an elite netminder. Take it with a grain of salt, though — When it comes to elite netminding, Detroit fans aren’t the best judges.

While I appreciate the link, doesn’t that piss you off?  You don’t know anything about goaltending.  Hit the jump for the rest. 

I actually think that Detroit fans know what elite netminding is more than any other city in the league.  Why?  Well we’ve seen it all. 

Starting, of course, we’ve seen the bad.  Think Tim Cheveldae, Bob Essensa, and Chris Osgood circa 2008-2009 regular season.

We’ve dealt with the average and unreliable.  Think Manny “I’m So Sad” Legace and Curtis Joseph.

We’ve had the good enough.  Think Mike Vernon, Chris Osgood’s first go around, and Joey Mac.

We’ve had the batsh!t crazy.  You know who I’m talking about.


Yet elite goaltending is something we’ve only known a few times.  We used to see glimpses of it, in the playoffs, but on the opposite side of the ice.  Think Marty Brodeur in 1995, Patrick Roy oh too many times, J.S. “I’m a Manatee!” Giguere in 2003 and 2007, Kiprusoff in 2004 and maybe even Rollie the Goalie in 2006.

So yeah, we’ve seen elite, but only in a crazy hateful rage, until 2008 that is.  That’s when, for the first time in his career, Osgood decided to have an incredible season and playoffs, stealing the starting job right out of the future hall of famer’s hands.  Sure the next regular season was pathetic, but we saw it again that playoffs, which was maybe even a more impressive showing. 

So as Detroit fans, we know what we are talking about.  They always say Detroiters are harder on goaltenders and quarterbacks than any other city.  Hell, we made Joey Harrington cry.   So it must mean something that we’ve embraced Howard. 

To be fair, Harrington cried whenever his hair got messed up as well.

Howard was great his rookie year.   Yet he wasn’t elite yet.  There were still too many holes in his game, too many goals which he should have saved.  Last season, for much of it he suffered from the sophomore slump.  Yet near the end, he caught fire and thru the end of the playoffs was incredible.  Yet, I still wasn’t ready to put him into an elite bunch.   Because as I just explained, we know elite.  Howard was close, but not there.

Yet this season, I think I’m seeing signs that he’s made it.  I never worry about being out goaltended (is that a word?) anymore.  Jimmy’s dominate, consistant, and reliable and has been since the 2/3 mark of the previous season.   

However, probably one of the best signs is the fact that the Wings have already suffered a slump for the ages this season.  Yet the only two players remained unaffected during that time:  Lidstrom and Howard.   Howard’s play kept that slump from being a team killer.  Playing well when noone else around you is is one of the toughest things to do in hockey.  Yet Howard was able to pull it off and is continuing to dominate now that things are clicking. 

Those are signs of an elite goaltender.  And I’m more than qualified, as a former collegiate (stupid) goaltender, but moreso as a Red Wings fan, to make this determination.   Eat one Mooney.  

WIIM has started a campaign to get Howard in the All-Star game.  Get Jimmy the recognition he deserves.

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