Detroit Red Wings goalie and former University of Maine All-American Jimmy Howard will return to the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena this afternoon to teach a clinic for 7-10 year-olds.
“It’ll be fun. I always enjoy giving back to the community,” said Howard, who is enjoying the Olympic break with wife Rachel [Miller] at their home on Green Lake in Dedham.
“It’s really nice to have this break. This season has been so condensed. We’ve been traveling back and forth [so much],” said Howard.
After four years in the American Hockey League and nine games with the Red Wings, Howard has become the Red Wings’ No. 1 goalie and has responded with the NHL’s fifth-best save percentage (.927) and sixth-best goals-against average (2.28). His record is 21-13-8.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’ve been happy with my consistency. I’ve just been trying to go out every single day and give our team a chance to win,” said Howard. “I’ve got my confidence back.”
His record would be even better if it wasn’t for shootouts.
He is 3-6 in shootouts although he has allowed just 13 shootout goals in 36 chances.
“They’re giving me nightmares right now,” said Howard. “It’s one of those things that no matter what you work on and how much you work on them in practice, sometimes it just doesn’t translate into the games. I’ll keep working on them in practice. This year hasn’t been my year for them.”
He has been busy lately, making at least 42 saves in three of his last eight games for the injury-ravaged Wings.
“Guys have been coming back from injuries but once they’ve gotten back into the lineup, it takes several games for them to get their legs under them,” said Howard. “The other thing is who we are. We never see anyone’s B game. We see their A games night in and night out.”
Detroit won the Stanley Cup two years ago and lost to Pittsburgh in last year’s finals.
Howard will watch the Olympics and said he would love to be one of the goaltenders for the U.S. team in the 2014 Olympics in Russia.
He will leave for Detroit on Monday and he said with injured players returning, he feels the Red Wings can make a playoff run. They are one point out of a Western Conference playoff spot.
“We’re going in the right direction at the right time. We could be very scary in the playoffs,” said Howard.