I am watching the Detroit Red Wings take on the Minnesota Wild in what is a critical game for the team in red. The game was more than in hand when Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond (like they usually do when the game is all but put away) begin speaking of other topics involving hockey and the Detroit Red Wings. Kenny comments on how well Howard has played and how his greatest flaw has been the shoot out. I choke on my queso dip. Howard is bad at shoot outs?
A sound, a loud sound, mind splitting like someone is taking a hack saw starting at the top of my head and working their way down between my eyes. I open them, lift my hand in frustration and slam it down with a firm fist on my alarm clock. I begin my daily routine. Walk to the kitchen, grab the milk, the Wheaties, and the tools required to devour them. Spoon, bowl, sugar; check.
I sit down at the computer and hit the usual sites. AOL headlines telling me where I can get bargain eye makeup. I let out a slight grunt and scratch myself (a manly thing to do to supplant the guilt I feel for subjecting my eyes to such things as feminine hygiene and fashion.
NHL.com top headlines, "Sharks Get Six in Third to Beat Nashville, Jackets Edge Thrashers, Caps Clinch South East Division". Go figure, no "Wings Demolish Wild 1 Point From 7th Place". No "Johan Franzen Shows Off His Hands Once Again".
Next stop BleacherReport.com. I come across an article pitching for Chris Osgood to play. I scroll down. The first comment makes its writer sound like he has an Ozzy shrine in his house. While he praises Ozzy he tears down Jimmy Howard saying how Howard freezes in the shoot out and overtime.
I drink the milk from the bottom of my bowl; another person criticizing Howards shoot outs?
A bullet, it had to be a bullet, slowly making its way from the left side of my head to the right. It worked its way to my right temple and just before it exited it blew. Chunks of bone and flesh had to be splattered against my wall.
No splatter, but my alarm clock now lies at my feet in a heap of twisted plastic and broken LED's. I decide to start off the day by doing a bit of research. Over the last couple of days I have heard a lot about Jimbo being a coward in the clutch. Let’s take a look.
Jimmy Howard is 4-8 in extra time. He is 3-6 in the shoot out. Not to good, but let's dig a little deeper.
In Howard's shoot out Losses the Detroit forwards have made 3 of 21 shots (that is 14% for those of you counting). That's not much run support.
Howard hasn't been stunning in those losses either, going 10 of 22 which comes out to 55%. That is not good but if he was any better would it make a difference with the 3 goals in 6 games the forwards gave him?
If you want to make the case for Osgood he has a shoot out record of 1-2 and in his losses he has stopped 4 of 7 shots that is a whopping 43%. Osgood has been much worse in his shoot out losses than Howard (not to mention the Detroit forwards doubled there scoring percent with Osgood from 14% in Howard's loosing efforts to 28% in Ozzy’s). More run support but worse goal tending.
A more direct example of Howard's good play in the shootout can be found on January 16th 2010 against the Dallas Stars. Howard kept the team in it 6 rounds and the offense couldn't support him with a single goal on 6 chances. In that effort he faced the likes of Louise Erickson, Mike Modano, and James Neal among others.
Howard is 1-2 in overtime and in one of those losses he was pitching a 39 save shut out when he let in the goal with 1 minute and 61 seconds left.
When in 4 of Howard's 6 shootout losses the Detroit red wings didn't score on a single shot and in his 3 shoot out wins he has made 79% of the saves he hasn't shown to be a world beater but certainly has shown the ability to perform in the clutch.