Even though he was given the night off against Calgary on Thursday, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard was still in a combative mood.
In speaking with MLive.com, the Wings goalie re-iterated his frustration with what he perceives as increased contact this year. His boiling point came during Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Vancouver when he was bowled over by Jannik Hansen, rendering Howard unable to save Alex Edler’s insurance marker.
“I’m just sick and tired of getting run over,” Howard said after the Canucks game. “It’s every single game.”
On Thursday, Howard further explained his stance.
“In that situation, it could have been [called] incidental contact and faceoff goes outside [the zone],” he said. “Simple as that.”
Howard then went on to say goalies shouldn’t be put at risk for injury, yet doesn’t object to players driving hard to the net.
“As a goalie, you want to be able to do your job, make saves for your team,” he said. “Sometimes, to make the save, you have to put yourself in a vulnerable position, and the last thing you want to do is ring your head off of one of the posts.
“But, I’m a tough guy and I have no problem with guys going toward the net and trying to create scoring opportunities.”
Howard’s comments are newsworthy given heightened sensitivity to goalies getting run over. Ryan Miller and Al Montoya have both been knocked out of action after colliding with opposing forwards — Miller’s coach, Lindy Ruff, went to far as to say it’s “open season” on netminders this year.
For Howard, though, there may be another side to the story. He currently leads the NHL in wins (20), sits fifth in GAA (1.99) and 12th in save percentage (.925) — so, could opposing teams be trying to rattle him in what’s been the best start of his career?
“Oh, yeah, probably, most definitely,” Howard said. “But that stuff really isn’t going to take me off my game.”