Skip to content

Motown message: Howard sits again, Gustavsson to start second straight

Nov 26, 2013, 12:39 PM EDT

Jonas Gustavsson Getty Images

On Monday, the Detroit Free Press wondered if Mike Babcock was trying to send a message to starting netminder Jimmy Howard with his not-so-subtle “the bottom line is the puck can’t continue to go in our net” remark.

On Tuesday, that speculation might’ve been proven correct.

The Red Wings announced that backup Jonas Gustavsson would make his second straight start on Wednesday vs. Boston — a decision that will result in “The Monster” playing four of Detroit’s last six games.

It’ll be interesting to see how this move is perceived.

On one hand, Babcock is riding the hot hand for a team needing wins — Gustavsson is 5-0-1 this season with a .926 save percentage and 2.35 GAA, while Howard is 5-7-6 with a .908 save percentage and 2.72 GAA. So it’s easy to make the case for going with the in-form netminder, as Gustavsson is coming off a 21-save win over Buffalo on Sunday.

On the other hand…

Howard is coming off a banner 2013 campaign, one in which he tied for the league lead in shutouts (five) before backstopping Detroit to within a game of knocking off eventual Cup champs Chicago. He’s the club’s clear-cut No. 1 and is in the first year of a six-year, $31.75 million extension, making him the 12th highest-paid goalie in the league.

According to Babcock, Howard is having a hard time living up to those expectations.

“We expect Howie to be a star,” Babcock said. “We expect that each and every night. All you gotta do is look at our team record. It hasn’t gone as good for him, but I think we’re in that all together. When you’re real organized in your own zone, it’s way easier for your goaltender to play real well.

“But I also think when you start pressing as an athlete and worrying about things you shouldn’t worry about, things don’t go your way.”

Latest Posts
  1. Arbitrator awards Marcus Johansson $3.75M contract

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    That’s close to the middle between his and Washington’s requests.

  2. Maloney: RFA Domingue will play in Europe

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Louis Domingue Getty Images

    The decision surprised Arizona’s general manager.

  3. Siegenthaler signs entry-level contract with Caps

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    Jonas Siegenthaler Getty Images

    The defenseman spent the 2014-15 campaign in the Swiss League.

  4. One month later, Mike Richards’ future remains murky

    Jul 31, 2015, 2:46 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    There is a key deadline approaching though.

  5. Subban working out with former Olympian Ben Johnson

    Jul 31, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban Getty Images

    Johnson won a gold medal in 1988, but it was taken away because of a positive steroids test.

  6. Quebecor seeks partners in Quebec City bid

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    There’s a $500 million expansion fee to consider.

  7. How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Because once Voracek’s eight-year contract kicks in, they’ll be part of that list.

  8. Report: Further coaching hires expected for Sharks

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former NHL stars are among the list of likely candidates.

  9. Habs’ Galchenyuk inks two-year extension

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Alex Galchenyuk Getty Images

    The deal is reportedly worth $5.6 million.

  10. Flames prospect Kylington cleared to play in North America

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT

    Oliver Kylington Getty Images

    At one point he was listed as the top European skater in the 2015 draft.

  11. Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal

    Jul 30, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    The Flyers also have forwards Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier locked up.

  12. Zubrus clears waivers, is ‘surprised’ by buyout

    Jul 30, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    The 37-year-old still wants to continue his career.

  13. Coyotes want long-term deal with Glendale

    Jul 30, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    PNI Coyotes Deal 0611 PNI Coyotes Deal 0611

    “Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2473)
  2. L. Couture (1663)
  3. J. Toews (1634)
  4. G. Bettman (1530)
  5. A. Chiasson (1445)
  1. A. Larsson (1364)
  2. B. Gionta (1286)
  3. C. Wilson (1269)
  4. B. Holtby (1228)
  5. M. Johansson (1197)