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Conklin's anxious for start vs. Avs

Howard gets rest after 17 straight starts

Saturday, 12.3.2011 / 6:55 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Conklin\'s anxious for start vs. Avs
DENVER, Colo. – Having started 17 straight games, Jimmy Howard will get a well-deserved breather Sunday night, his first in nearly six weeks.

The Red Wings’ goalie, who arguably has been the team’s most consistent player through the first quarter of the season, will give way to backup Ty Conklin when the Wings face-off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

“I’m very excited, I mean, it will be nice to be in there and get some action,” said Conklin, who has a 1-2-0 record with a 3.33 goals-against average in three starts.

The biggest thing for him, Conklin said, is to maintain a focus level that can’t be emulated in practice.

“You always do extra in practice and try to treat practice like games,” he said. “I mean, that’s as much as you can do, really. It’s the mental stuff and getting prepared and staying focused for 60-minutes and getting into the flow of the game because things are going to be faster than they happen in practice.”

Conklin earned his first win and lone shutout of the season against the Avs, turning aside 29 shots in a 3-0 win at Pepsi Center on Oct. 8. Conklin’s last start came Oct. 25 at Columbus when Howard’s son was born.

“He had a shutout the last time we were in here, didn’t he?” coach Mike Babcock said, Saturday afternoon. “It’s important to get him in, and Howie’s played great and I think Conks will play great tomorrow. He played great last time we came in here.”

Howard has been absolutely magnificent for the Wings, posting a 15-5-1 record, a 1.83 GAA and a .931 save percentage. But even the league’s No. 1 goaltender, who leads in wins and goals-against, needs a break every now and again.

“It's good to get a little break, but me being the competitor, I like to be out there for the guys, but at the same time Ty needs to play,” said Howard, who started 25 straight games as a rookie in 2009-10. “It's important to our team he gets on the ice and does a great job.

“Last time he was here he played really well. When you're playing a lot, it's good to get a little mental break here and there, but I enjoy being out there every single night.”

And some people would love to see Howard somewhere else – the 2012 All-Star Game ballot. Howard's name does not appear among the 18 goalies on the fan ballot.

A grassroots movement is underway to get Howard selected to play in the showcase in Ottawa at the end of January. Started by Detroit radio station WRIF-FM and deejay Meltdown, the campaign is picking up steam. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

“Has he played well for us? Yes. Do we like him? Absolutely,” said Babcock, when asked about the ballot campaign. “Who’s the best goalie in the Western Conference? Who has the best numbers? Howard? Then maybe he should be on the ballot.

“I think as a player you worry about the things that you can control, and how you’re playing. You do good things on the ice and good things happen to you as far as notoriety goes. And yet to me, it would be a real honor for him. He was in the running for rookie of the year a couple of years ago, if I’m not mistaken. He’s been a very important player for us and he continues to get better, so good for him.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80