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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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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
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12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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