Friday, May 3, 2013

Howard Haters: A Rhetorical Conversation

Our good friend Michelle came to Jimmy Howard's defense on Twitter today. She was right to do so. Howard had a rough game last night and the Howard Hatred Coalition has come out in full force. We aren't exactly hearing anything new: Howard chokes in the playoffs, he's made of Swiss cheese, his contract costs too much money, it's way too long, we shouldn't have resigned him and gone after a big name free agent, bring up Petr Mrazek right now, etc.
A photographic representation of what many Red Wings fans are doing to Jimmy Howard.
Photo Credit: Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News
So what I've decided to do is have a rhetorical conversation with members of the Howard Haters Coalition. Effectively using the Socratic method to demonstrate why they're stupid and wrong and need to stop spreading their bile.

HHC: Jimmy Howard is a terrible goalie! Every time he has come into the playoffs, he ends up choking, letting in weak goals and costing the Red Wings games! We were stupid to resign him!

3RDP: Terrible? Don't you think that's a little harsh? He's been one of the better Red Wings for a few years now

HHC: Wrooooong! Didn't you see those goals last night!? They were weak!

3RDP: Oh sure, the second goal that trickled through under his armpit, he should have squeezed it off. And the third goal got ripped past his glove that he had in the right position. He has to snag that.

HHC: Exactly! He totally blew the lea-

3RDP: Except on the Getzlaf goal, DeKeyser didn't play it correctly. He let Getzlaf come out of the corner, in front of the net and let him get that shot off. If DeKeyser can force Getzlaf off the puck, or at least steer him away from the front of the net, that shot never happens.

HHC: Okay, well, maybe that's true but STILL HOWARD HAS TO MAKE THE SAVE!

3RDP: Oh, I agree, but you also acknowledge he's not completely responsible. And what about the big saves he's made in the first couple of games. For every "weak" goal he's allowed, there's been 2 or 3 big saves that he's made to keep pucks out of the net.

HHC: Well. Okay, he does make big saves but...

3RDP: And we're using a couple of weak goals in two playoff games as a barometer for whether or not a goaltender is good. Or just the idea that they're struggling in general during these playoffs. What about Jonathan Quick?

HHC: What do you mean?

3RDP: Well, Quick is making more money than Howard and has a much longer contract. He's let in a couple of weak goals, and a huge misplay by him cost Los Angeles the first game of the series against St. Louis. 

HHC: ...well, so?

3RDP: So by your logic, Jonathan Quick is a horrible goalie who has a stupid contract and should be traded and the Kings should go looking for a replacement. This is the same Jonathan Quick who won the Conn Smythe the same year he won the Stanley Cup during an amazing run. 

HHC: But...

3RDP: Henrik Lundqvist is also struggling a bit in New York in his first game against the Capitals. You know, Vezina winning and Hart nominated Henrik Lundqvist. 

HHC: We were talking about Jimmy Howard though and Howard is awf-

3RDP: We were talking about Jimmy Howard - a goaltender who ended this very rough season with a 2.13 GAA, 92.3% save percentage, 5 shutouts and an assist in 42 games played!

HHC: Well...those are pretty good stats, I'll admit.

3RDP: Not to mention that when the Red Wings' playoff streak was on the line, and they had to be perfect in their last four games, Howard posted four wins, only allowing 3 goals to be scored, and posted two shutouts. 

HHC: Really?

3RDP: Yep. Wouldn't you agree that without that level of performance, the Red Wings would probably miss the playoffs?

HHC: Yeah...I mean if it had been Gustavsson in net, or even Mrazek, there's no guarantee we win those games, especially so decidedly, and make it into the playoffs, let alone with the kind of momentum we need to win hockey games.

3RDP: And if we don't make the playoffs, none of the goals you're complaining about happen because there's no Red Wings in the playoffs for them to happen.

HHC: That's very true. I mean, when you put it that way...

3RDP: Yes?

HHC: ...Jimmy Howard is a necessary and integral piece of the team that will ensure short term and long term success for the Detroit Red Wings

3RDP: Doesn't it feel good to be right?

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