By Michael Caples –
LIVONIA - Jimmy Howard stopped by the Perani’s Hockey World store in Livonia today to spend time with fans during a Warrior Hockey demo day event.
The Red Wings’ goaltender, along with his new crease partner Jonas Gustavsson, spent multiple hours greeting hockey fans, signing autographs, and posing for photos. Warren-based Warrior held a demo day for players to test out their new Covert line of sticks and meet two of their ‘Players Club’ members in Howard and Gustavsson.
It was a welcomed excuse for Howard to get out and see some Red Wings fans in metro Detroit.
“It’s great to get back out into the community,” Howard said. “It’s been a while, just to be able to get back here and still see that we have lots of support is good.”
The Wings’ starting goaltender said that it has been a frustrating time for the locked out NHL players.
“I think everyone, all the players throughout the league, are starting to get pretty [frustrated] about this whole situation,” Howard said. “But it is what it is, and hopefully we can find some common ground here to get things rolling.”
The silver lining in the lockout, however, is that the 28-year-old goaltender has been able to spend a great deal of time with his family, something his profession doesn’t usually allow him to do. Howard and his wife Rachel had the first child, a son named James Russell Howard IV, in Oct. 2011.
“It’s been awesome,” the new father said. “Usually we’re all over the place, and very rarely am I at home, so just taking full advantage of it. Especially now and around the holidays, with the travel and everything we normally do we usually only get a day or two with the family, so to be able to be home every single night and put him to bed every night is special.”
Yet despite the new-found family time, Howard is anxious to start playing games at Joe Louis Arena again.
“We’re skating three or four times a week, working out four or five times a week, so you know, we’re trying our best to stay on top of things, so if and when we do come back, we’re ready.”
Howard admitted that some days, however, it’s difficult to find the motivation to work out when he knows it will be a while before he’s competing in NHL games.
“Sometimes, some days are better than others,” Howard said. “There are some days, especially if you get bad news the night before that they cancelled more games and stuff like that, that it’s a little bit of ‘why are we still doing this?’ But you have to be professional and get your rear end into the gym.”