Jimmy Howard hasn’t exactly played lights out for the Red Wings in
the second round, allowing four goals in each of three losses to the
Sharks. Yet he’s far from the reason the Sharks are ahead in this series
3-0 and the Red Wings are going to stick with their goaltender even
while facing elimination. From
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press:
“We’re only here because of Howie, don’t ever
kid yourself,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Howie has been our goaltender.
When we let him down, we don’t gas the team the next night, we just
come and we play. And when he isn’t as good as we’d like him to be, we
expect him to pick things up. Last series when he didn’t play well, he
responded the next night. We expect the same here.”
He goes on to say that while Howard may have allowed a few bad goals
in Game 3 he has no reason to make a goaltender change, even with Chris
Osgood sitting behind Howard on the bench.
The Red Wings have a history of goaltenders putting up much better
numbers in the playoffs than they did in the regular season, yet this
season Howard has been merely pedestrian with a 2.99 GAA and a .908 save
percentage. While you couldn’t say that Howard has cost the Red Wings
games (that’s the officials’ job) he has yet to truly steal a win for
For any team hoping to make a long playoff run, that’s what they’d
need; a couple of stolen victories at the hands of their goaltenders.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.