Detroit’s Howard hopes to nab U.S. Olympic team gig


It’s taken some time, but Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is finally being mentioned among the elite. (More than 72 percent of PHT voters agree, as of this writing.)

Still, with the staggering array of talented American netminders in the NHL, it’s no guarantee that he’ll make the U.S. Olympic team for 2014. The 29-year-old acknowledged to the Bangor Daily News that he has his sights on one of the spots.

“I’m confident, but I don’t have a crystal ball. We’ll see how the season goes,” Howard said. “One of my goals this season is to be in Sochi in February. As long as I go out there and play the way I’m capable of playing, hopefully they’ll want to pick me.”

Playing well in 2013-14 will certainly be a factor, as he’ll face the likes of Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller, Cory Schneider and Craig Anderson for a spot.

When you consider the numbers he’s compiled in the last two seasons in particular, it would be foolish to count him out.

(H/T to George Malik.)

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.