Because nothing screams "cutting edge" quite like The Triple Deke, we'll be passing on the typical season preview for 2009-10. Instead, we will bring you this: a highly scientific forecast of each player's performance, which will be calculated by using an updated copy of a 13 year old video game -- Sega's NHL '97. Each statistical output will be treated as an irrefutable premonition, and anyone who challenges the accuracy of our system will be burned alive in front of their families.
Jimmy Howard | #35 | Goaltender
* Size allows him to cover a lot of the net.
* Fundamentally sound, or something. It's Jimmy Howard.
* Biggest issue might be between the ears. Hasn't been very consistent.
* Has been in Grand Rapids longer than I've been at Michigan State, which can't be a good thing.
NHL '97 Season Recap: .790 save percentage
(NHL '97 predated video games that kept up on numerous statistical categories. You can see the GAA of the top 20 goalies in the league, but other than that you only get saves, shots and the percentage. But if I had to estimate: 4.95 GAA, and like a 1-20-0 record.)
Ahhh, James. This is it buddy. It's now or never.
Even though your bio says that you were born in 1984, everyone knows that you're 39 years old. You were drafted an eternity ago. You've been with the Wings since the Bush administration -- the first Bush that is. (Oh, that political humor! ZING!). You're face is weathered, your joints are creaky and your body is a decrepit pile of uselessness. You make Chris Chelios look like a puddle of fresh Greek afterbirth. You're beard is woolly and gray, and you need special pills to maintain an erection because, if you haven't noticed, you are older than shit.
Goalies take longer to develop and are harder to project than any other position in hockey. In part with this, you have the "Pro Jimmy" and "Not Sold on Jimmy" factions among Wing fans. The Pro Jimmy's will tell you that he has a wealth of potential if he can just put all of the pieces together. The rest of us, for the most part, have not one fucking clue of what we're talking about because we've seen maybe a dozen Jimmy Howard games at the most. So before I say the following sentence, please realize that it has absolutely zero credibility: I don't feel very confident about the Howard Era in Detroit.
And it's not like the irrefutable Sega projection made me feel any better. Holy God. Instead of a blocker and a glove, Jimbo spent his 20 or so games in goal holding a butterfly net and a rabbit's foot that he found in the back of Kevin Hodson's old locker. He gave up a staggering 12 goals to the Rangers; 4 goals on 4 shots to the Oilers before being drawn and quartered; and another 10 to the Blackhawks (Patrick Sharp attempted to celebrate by urinating in Jimmy's face after scoring his 3rd goal of the game when Nick Lidstrom saw an opportunity for revenge and kicked him in the dick with the bottom of his skate.)
It will be a nerve racking year in goal (as opposed to all of the other years where we feel calm and confident) if Ozzie gets even the slightest injury. Like with Todd Bertuzzi, I hope that my gut is entirely wrong about Jimmy Howard. And I hope that sounds conclusion-y enough because this was just about all I could muster about a backup goalie.