When Jimmy Howard was taken off the Verizon Center ice on a stretcher Saturday night after injuring his groin, the campaigns for "snubs" Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury to replace him in the All-Star Game began.
While there was hope Howard’s injury wouldn’t be too bad, you could imagine Mike Babcock and Ken Holland ready to tell their goaltender to stay home and rest up next week. The Detroit Red Wings have a playoff spot to hold on to in the second half and they need their no. 1 goalie healthy.
On Tuesday, Holland confirmed that after an MRI over the weekend and an ultrasound on Monday, that Howard will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a slight groin tear, ruling him out of next week’s festivities in Columbus.
With Howard out, as well as backup Jonas Gustavsson, it’s Petr Mrazek’s net, he of 15 career NHL starts. When he starts Tuesday in Buffalo, it’ll be a special night for him, and not just because he’s the team’s new no. 1. The Sabres will be retiring the number of his hero, Dominik Hasek, in a pre-game ceremony. (It will actually be an all-Czech match-up with Michal Neuvirth in the other goal.)
Howard’s injury leaves no Red Wings currently scheduled to be involved in All-Star Weekend. The NHL tries to get all 30 teams represented, but when injuries arise that’s not a consideration in choosing a replacement. As for who fills that sixth goaltender spot, it’s likely down to Jaroslav Halak or Marc-Andre Fleury. Both have had solid seasons for the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively.
The Penguins will already be represented by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Columbus. Will the league give the Islanders a hand and decid to have Halak join their current lone All-Star John Tavares?
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