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Wings' Howard gets U.S. Olympic invite

Seven-year NHL veteran will head to Russia with Americans next month

Wednesday, 01.1.2014 / 4:09 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Wings\' Howard gets U.S. Olympic invite

Jimmy Howard
Goalie  - DET
Record: 6-9-8
GAA: 2.76 | Sv%: .906
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Winter Classic had added meaning for Jimmy Howard Wednesday afternoon when USA Hockey announced that the Red Wings’ goalie has been invited to join the American roster at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia next month.

The men’s team, comprised of three goalies and 22 forwards/defensemen was unveiled after the Red Wings’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs before more than 104,000 hearty hockey fans at a snowy Michigan Stadium.

Howard becomes the fifth all-time Red Wings’ player to ever represent the United States in the Olympics. The others were forward Brett Hull (2002), and defensemen Chris Chelios (2002, 2006), Mathieu Schneider (2006) and Brian Rafalski (2010).

It's expected that Howard will be the third goalie for Team USA behind Ryan Miller of he Buffalo Sabres and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.

Before the season, Howard was considered a strong candidate for the U.S. team, but he’s had a few setbacks missing nine games first with a hand injury and then a sprained knee suffered in practice in Tampa Bay on Dec. 11. Howard returned from his latest injury Monday in Nashville, where he allowed five goals in a 6-4 loss to the Predators. He is 6-9-7 with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

Howard, 29, played his junior hockey up the road from Michigan Stadium with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor. Along with current Red Wings’ teammate Patrick Eaves, Howard helped the U.S. team win a gold medal at the U18 World Junior Championships in 2002. He also represented the U.S. at the 2012 World Championships in Finland.

It’s expected that the Red Wings will have plenty of personnel in Sochi with coach Mike Babcock and general manager Ken Holland working with former captain Steve Yzerman on Team Canada, while the trio of Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Daniel Alfredsson will try to bring gold for the first time since 2006. Russian center Pavel Datsyuk and Slovokian forward Tomas Tatar will also represent their countries.

Countries have until Jan. 7 to announce their Olympic rosters.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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