Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wings Bring Out Leaf Blower, Topple Toronto; Howard Injury Concerns

Well, it was almost a great game last night.

Usually I would have no complaints about trouncing the Maple Leafs 4-2, effectively driving the nail in their coffin with regards to a playoff berth. Not everything went according to plan, however. Jiri Hudler scored the game-winning goal a mere 38 seconds after the Leafs' Joffrey Lupul tied the game on a play which saw him bowl over Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, landing atop the face-down Howard, and sweeping the puck into the net. To no one's surprise, the goal was allowed perhaps simply due to the fact that the goal scorer was not named Holmstrom, but the goal was the least of Detroit's concerns. Jimmy Howard had been hurt during the play.

Howard was seen leaving the ice slowly, reaching up toward the right side of his upper body. There still has not been conclusive information revealed as to the extent of the injury, however Red Wings GM Ken Holland has mentioned that he and the staff believe the injury is not as bad as initially feared, referring to it as a possible strain or sprain of his shoulder. Howard will be checked out to be certain that the injury is minimal.

If you're like me, then you're praying that minimal is the conclusion the doctors come back with. With Chris Osgood still hampered by a lingering hernia, we're faced with that dread-filled possibility of Joey MacDonald becoming our #1 goaltender temporarily. This leaves the Wings with two options if something major is found to be wrong with Howard: Either Detroit tries to push ahead Osgood's return, which is currently slated for the last 2 games of the season, and try to get him back in form for the playoffs OR the Wings let Ozzie rest completely, give Joey MacDonald the starts to round out the season and bring Osgood in fresh for the postseason. Pick your poison.

This is just speculation, and it does sound like the Howard injury is minor, but I'll still be concerned until I finally hear that Jimmy is cleared to play again.