Mar 23, 2011, 5:50 PM EDT
It might be time for the Detroit Red Wings to start worrying. The return of Chris Osgood to the backup role in Detroit is going to be delayed indefinitely as Osgood’s groin isn’t healthy enough to play yet. In fact, it’s so bad off that Osgood is going back on the IR and Joey MacDonald is making his needed return to back up Jimmy Howard.
With Osgood back on IR, his status for the playoffs is in doubt and while he’s not the starter, his ability to give Howard a break when needed down the stretch would’ve been helpful to get him ready for the playoffs. Instead, Howard will have to shoulder the load enough to at least make sure Detroit wins the Central Division. Competing with Vancouver for the top spot in the West might become a foregone conclusion if Detroit loses to the Canucks tonight. It’ll be made even tougher playing without Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, and Todd Bertuzzi. At least they’ll have Jiri Hudler back in the lineup after he missed the last few games with the flu.
Still, the effect this has on Howard is the key since Howard won’t be getting any breaks once the playoffs start. Making things look a little rougher is the fact Howard hasn’t exactly been lights out of late. He hasn’t been bad but he hasn’t looked like a guy that’s going to steal a game or series. If Joey MacDonald has to be the Wings safety net, Jimmy Howard will have to become a folk hero in goal.
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