Howard (torn groin) resumes skating, could return sooner than expected

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The Detroit Red Wings received some good news out of the All-Star break on Monday, as Jimmy Howard skated for the first time since tearing a groin muscle on Jan. 10.

What’s more, Howard is gunning to return to action in 1-2 weeks time, which would be quicker than his original 2-4 week timetable.

“Just basically did skating,” Howard said Monday, per the Detroit website. “I haven’t been on the ice since the injury. Just trying to get my feet back under me right now. … I’m still a little ways away.

“Hopefully I keep making the right strides.”

This is a fairly significant development for the 30-year-old ‘tender, who looked to have suffered a serious injury after he was stretchered off against Washington two weeks ago:

Howard (16-7-7, 2.11 GAA, .920 save percentage), who made his second career All-Star Game this year but was forced out due to the groin tear, has missed the Red Wings’ last five games but has been ably replaced by Petr Mrazek and Thomas McCollum, who’ve combined to go undefeated over that stretch.

What’s more, the Wings say a return is near for another injured goalie — No. 2 Jonas Gustavsson — though Mike Babcock shot down the notion that ‘The Monster’ would be back in time for this week’s games in Florida (on Tuesday) and Tampa Bay (on Thursday).