Despite Team USA's loss at the World Championship today, Jimmy Howard played excellent hockey in Team USA's crease, pitching a 1.86 GAA and a .9197 save percentage. Prior to today's game vs. Finland, NHL.com's Brian Hedger penned a notebook article about Howard's attempt to extend his 2016-17 campaign for as long as possible:
After missing 33 games for the Red Wings with an MCL sprain, the 33-year old veteran wasn't ready to begin the offseason in April.
"Jimmy wanted to come to this tournament," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who ran the bench for the U.S. "He made that known early in the process, once we were eliminated from the playoffs. I just think for his own sake, he'd played so well until he got hurt, and he played very well when he got back. He just wanted to keep playing hockey."
Larkin saw that desire as far back as last summer, when Howard put in a lot of work to sharpen his game.
He hasn't stopped working since, despite the injury and the work that required to rehabilitate it.
"Even with the injury, he's had a really good season," Larkin said. "He kept us in a lot of games in Detroit, and then to have the injury, everyone was feeling for him. He hasn't taken any time off. He didn't even take the bye week off in Detroit. He was still skating and stayed for the All-Star break, rehabbing. Then, after the season, he skated all the way up until this tournament. You can see it paying off for him, too. You look at that game against the Russians, he kept us in it."
Hedger continues, and even though the Americans won't be playing for a medal, Howard took another step forward at the Worlds--as did Dylan Larkin, who posted 2 goals, 8 assists and 10 points in 8 games played for Team USA.