First impressions linger.
Howard, the Detroit Red Wings' second-round draft pick in 2003, has always been known as a big goaltender, a moose. At 6-foot-0 and more than 200 pounds, covering a lot of net has been a strength for the former
Having lost 10 pounds this summer, Howard covers slightly less net and the Red Wings' management is delighted.
"Jimmy, I didn't even recognize him," said
What makes Jimmy Howard an interesting player at the team's training camp (which runs through Tuesday) is the two goaltenders ahead of him on
Howard is potentially the netminder of the future for the Red Wings. Although he'll likely play this season in
"This is a big year for Jimmy Howard," said
It was an injury suffered at training camp by Osgood two years ago that sprung Howard into the NHL for his professional debut. Then 21 years old, Howard got into four NHL games before going to
That season, he battled with Joey MacDonald for playing time in the American Hockey League. Last winter, Howard clearly bested Stefan Liv in
"I've had a taste of (the NHL) and that makes me want it that much more," said Howard. "When I get the opportunity to play out there, I want to seize the moment."
To help his cause, Howard stepped up his summertime training, working out six days a week on cardio-vascular. Taking just Sundays off, Howard's circuit training helped him drop 10 pounds before arriving in
"It allows you to play for a longer time at a higher intensity," said Howard.
Better physical condition and cutting out the occasional soft goal will go a long way to endearing Howard to the Red Wings' front office. For now, he's preparing himself for
But that's really just another step in a bigger goal.
"You always want to show them that you're capable of being the goalie of the future, stepping in for one of the best teams in the NHL," said Howard. "I'm ready. I know I am. I want it. I'm chomping at the bit. I'm going to show them everything that I have and everything that I've worked on."