Saturday, January 11, 2014

Does Jimmy Howard Need the Chris Osgood Vacation?

It's no secret that Jimmy Howard has struggled this year.  It's a case of a great goaltender simply having what is quickly turning into a season for the Hall of Shame, with his lackluster finishes far exceeding his stand-out performances.  Things between the Hockeytown pipes are scary right now.

But haven't we dealt with this before?

Journey back to the year 2008.  The Wings rode the tandem of Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek confidently into the playoffs, and when Hasek lost his touch, Osgood was there to steal the show, taking the Wings to the promised land.  Now, jump forward to the next season.  2009's regular season was not nearly as kind to Osgood.  His play became inconsistent and erratic, and he was his own worst enemy.  It got to a point where management had to step in, giving the starting spot to Ty Conklin while Chris Osgood was sent away for ten days to get his head screwed on straight again, working constantly with goalie coach Jim Bedard.

I hope I don't need to remind Wings fans how that season ended, and how close we came to seeing a repeat.  Needless to say, the Osgood vacation certainly made a difference.  Could this same thing not possibly help to get Jimmy back to his old form?  At this point, I feel anything is worth a try.  We're currently a point away from being on the outside looking in.  If Jimmy drops the game tonight against the Kings, we will almost certainly be on the wrong side of the standings by tomorrow.

Coach Babcock has himself said that we will go only as far as Howard takes us.  Does it not then behoove us to give him every chance as early as possible to get this fixed?  If we simply say "Steady on!" and hope that it works itself out, in a month or two's time it could be too late.

Just don't send him on the Larry Murphy vacation of beer and all-day dollar hot dogs.