"I have to go out there and prove it. Nothing's going to be handed to me. I want to come out there and play every single night. So I have to prove to the coaching staff and management that I'm capable of playing so I can get more ice time.'' --Jimmy Howard
Of course, you wouldn't want a goalie who DOESN'T want to play every night...but I'm assuming that Jimmy knows who will be carrying the bulk of the games this season.
"I was hoping I could have broken into the NHL a little quicker, but the transition going from 40 games (in college at Maine) to 80 games (in the AHL) and becoming a professional is a little bit more difficult to figure out being a 21-year-old just coming out of school."
That's Kenny Holland for you. He has never been too quick to call someone up from the minors, and that style of "over-ripening" management has brought us the likes of Jiri Hudler, Valteri Filppula, and Johnny Ericsson.
Jimmy even touched on the fact that Detroit has drafted two other goalies since him in 2005, leading many to beleive that Detroit had lost faith in Jimmy's ability to take the reins as the #1 guy...
"I just kept telling myself every single day that everything's going to work out, just keep working hard and proving myself and everything will turn out for the best. I never had a bad meeting with Kenny (Red Wings general manager Holland), it's always been positive, so I knew in the back of my mind that I'd be here one day. And now that I've gotten the chance, the door is open. I just got to walk through.''
...Or otherwise, don't let it hit you on the way out if you falter. It's a contract year for Howard, it's time to put up or shut up. Both sides involved have been wonderfully patient. We'll just have to wait and see if the great Howard Experiment finally comes to fruition.
"I want to push Chris so we can have a nice, healthy competition. He's been great since I met him the first time, a real good mentor for me. Always answers your questions and tells you the truth.''
That Ozzie...what a guy. Remember, Jimmy, you don't have to be a show stealer. A Red Wings goalie has only one job to do: not blow the game for us.