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Red Wings’ Howard (hand) doubtful for Tuesday

Oct 14, 2013, 5:39 PM EDT

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Detroit Red Wings No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard described himself as doubtful to play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. On the bright side, he also said his bruised hand isn’t a serious injury, earning a day-to-day label.

Another bright side is that Jonas Gustavsson looked very sharp against the Boston Bruins, earning Detroit a 3-2 win. Then again, it’s probably not the Red Wings’ preference to play the injury-prone netminder in back-to-back games.

Howard, 29, doesn’t receive a lot of attention as an elite goalie, yet the U.S. Olympic team brass would be foolish to ignore his strong work recently. He’s been sharp in 2013-14, too, as his individual stats (.922 save percentage, 2.39 GAA) are more impressive than his 3-2-0 record.

It might not be an ideal situation, but it does allow the Red Wings an opportunity to gauge how much they can lean on Gustavsson.

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