The National Hockey League season has been a trying one for Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings. They are last in the league with 39 points as the season remains in limbo after being put on hold as a precaution to deal with the coronavirus.
Howard, who turned 36 on Thursday, has lost the starting job to Jonathan Bernier. The 13-year NHL veteran has a 4.20 goals-against average to go with an .882 save percentage. He hasn’t played since Feb. 27.
“It has been a tough year and it has been for everyone in the organization,” Howard said. “We are going through a rebuilding process and it has been a perfect storm. Everyone has needed to step up and that hasn’t been the case.”
Howard’s contract, which pays him $4 million, is up at the end of the season.
“I want to play another year. I still have game left in me, but I’ll have to wait and see if any other general managers feel the same way,” Howard said. “I know I will have to transition to being a backup goaltender. It is a young man’s game. These young goalies eat, breathe and sleep hockey. It’s fun to watch.”
Howard said he received helpful guidance as a young goalie in the NHL.
“I was fortunate when I came into this league I had a chance to learn under Chris Osgood for two or three seasons and I would love to be able to do that for someone, help grow as a pro and a goalie,” said Howard.
Howard has had a remarkable career with the Red Wings.
His .912 career save percentage ranks first all time among Detroit goalies who played in at least 181 games. His 2.62 GAA is third in franchise history. Howard’s 246 wins, 543 games played and 30,756 minutes played all rank third for the Red Wings.
The three-time all-star has posted 24 career shutouts (fourth).
Even though things on the ice haven’t gone well, it has been a wonderful time for the Howard family. Jimmy and his wife Rachel (Miller) on March 2 welcomed their fourth child, son Louis. Their other children are James IV, 8, Henry, 5, and daughter Olivia, who turns 2 in May.
The Howards still have a home on Green Lake in Dedham and intend to spend time there this summer.
Rachel is originally from Hampden.