The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan shares a locker room clean-out day article this afternoon, speaking with Jimmy Howard regarding the Wings’ underwhelming 2017-18 season performance.
Howard was optimistic about the team’s future, but he didn’t spare himself from criticism regarding this season’s struggles:
“I don’t think it’s too big,” Howard said of how far the gap is for the Red Wings to return to contention. “There’s probably some people out there who’ll probably say a lot (bigger gap), but I don’t think it’s necessarily that big of a margin.
“There’s quite a few reasons why (there were) so many one-goal losses (27). All of us as a group, whether it was not making a smart play or me not coming up with a save, it falls on our shoulders to figure it out.”
Howard was, arguably, one of the Wings’ best players the first half of the season, keeping the Red Wings on the brink of the playoff line.
He was forced to play more games with backup Petr Mrazek not playing well, and then after Mrazek was traded and Jared Coreau struggling after was recalled from Grand Rapids. Howard’s statistics dipped as a result.
His 60 games played were the most since he played 63 games in back-to-back seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Howard was 22-27-9 last season, with a 2.85 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. The losses and GAA were career highs. The save percentage fell considerably from the previous season (.927).
“Statistically, probably no,” Howard said of whether his season was good enough. “Far from it. In this league you want to be somewhere around the .920 save percentage and I wasn’t there.”
Kulfan continues, noting that the Red Wings will probably sign an interim back-up to help Howard along next season…