Howard out for at least two games

EDMONTON, Alberta — Instead of joining his Detroit Red Wings teammates for a broom ball tournament on Friday, goalie Jimmy Howard played referee — the consequence of a broken right index finger.

Howard is out at least the next two games — Saturday at Edmonton and Monday at Phoenix — after getting hurt during Thursday’s 4-3 shoot-out victory at the Vancouver Canucks.

“I happened about four minutes into the third last night,” Howard said Friday. “Went blocker down, took everything away down low, and when (Maxim) Lapierre spun and shot it, it missed my blocker and caught me right on the finger.”

Howard is to be re-evaluated Tuesday, after the Wings return to Detroit.

“Go home and see our doctors there, get their opinion,” he said. “But I’ve played with broken fingers before, so I’m going to fiddle around with my sticks and cut some notches out of them, so, hopefully, I’ll be able to hold on to them.”

The Wings recalled Joey MacDonald from the minors to serve as Ty Conklin’s backup for the rest of the trip. Howard has been a rock for the Wings all season, going 32-11-1 with a .924 save percentage and 2.03 goals-against average.

Conklin would have been likely to play against the Oilers, anyway, and this provides an opportunity for him to show the Wings that they can rely on him prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline. He has had more rough outings this season than not — he’s 3-5 with a .886 save percentage and 3.20 GAA.

In addition to Howard, forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary officiated the tournament. Coach Mike Babcock originally had planned an outdoor practice, but decided a non-hockey event would be even better. He likes doing these sorts of things to break up the monotony of the regular season; last year, for example, the Wings tried curling while here.

In a reversal of roles, the broom ball teams were captained by youngsters Justin Abdelkader, Cory Emmerton, Jan Mursak and Jakub Kindl. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was the first overall pick, while Nicklas Lidstrom went where he historically has gone. “I fit my profile,” he said. “Third-rounder.”

“It’s nice to break it up,” Lidstrom said. “Babs has been looking at doing something differently, especially with playing every other night. It’ll be fun to see what it’s all about.”


Posted by Tribune News Services

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