That being said, if Howard is on the fence about whether he is prepared or not, and coming back early means having an unprepared, cold goaltender in a crucial head-to-head with major playoff implications, I side with Babcock on this one. This team playing as sloppy and inconsistent as they are, it really is going to depend completely on which skaters show up to play, less so on which mediocre or cold goaltender you have between the pipes. Leave Howard out another 3 days, make SURE he is healthy, get him more practices under his belt, and prevent any possible confidence buster that might come with playing cold behind this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde team against your first round opponent.
Nashville is a defense first hockey club, and the Red Wings are going to win or lose Friday depending on what they do in the trenches to improve their play and score goals. While a fluky Conklin goal may still be the difference, a soft goal with a cold Howard is probably equally as likely, with more downside.
- LidsFan likes this