MacDonald Rewarded, What Does Future Hold?

The Detroit Red Wings took part in an outdoor practice today at Clark Park. Everyone was there except Pavel Datsyuk, who had a sore throat, and Jimmy Howard, who instead practiced at Joe Louis Arena. Howard was set to go tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks, but Mike Babcock has other plans.

Instead, Joey MacDonald will start. Babcock's reasoning was simple; he's hot and the Wings are going to let him play. 

To be frank, there's no reason to rush Howard back into games. MacDonald has stolen the show, and if it gives Howard an extra two days to heal, perfect. He is scheduled to start in Sunday's nationally televised game against the Blackhawks.

MacDonald's stats are marvelous, and his play has also been way more than anyone could have anticipated. He has a 5-1-1 record with a 1.61 GAA and 0.933 save percentage. Compare that to Ty Conklin's 3-5 record with a 3.40 GAA and 0.878 save percentage. Not even close. Factor out Conklin's first game (a shutout against Colorado) and his stats are even worse.

So what is going to happen with MacDonald when Howard returns? The best move for the Red Wings and for MacDonald individually is to play in Grand Rapids. A lot of Red Wings fans are calling for Ty Conklin to be waived and sent down instead, but if they thought rationally, that makes no sense whatsoever.

With Howard playing almost every game, the backup won't see too much playing time. In Grand Rapids, he'll start almost every game and stay sharp. Detroit should let Conklin rot on the bench and come playoff time, MacDonald will be up in case Howard goes down. And for once, I'm not concerned about the Wings goaltending situation. MacDonald has proven he can play in this league based on his stats this year.

A familiar sight in the playoffs will be Ty Conklin's unshaven Grizzly Adam's face sitting in the press box; not jeopardizing the Red Wings chances of success.

The Checking Line - Red Wings Edition


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Kyle Busch


Paul Kendall's picture

Agree with you totally Kyle. McDonald has really grown this year. Over here in Grand Rapids we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will be back to finish the season. As far as Conklin we are cringing thinking that he might be over here. We are better off with McCollum and Pearce. Time for a trade I think.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

It's time for McCollum to show us what he's made of. A first rounder in 08 should be ready to take on the starting role. You figure next year he'll get that chance with Conklin gone and Mac in Detroit. Unless Pearce or possibly Mrazek takes the job from him.

Paul Kendall's picture

McCollum doing pretty good. Still a little green. The problem right now is the defense for Grand Rapids. They have given the puck away in front of the net way to many times this year. Seems to become a shooting range at times and he can only cover so much. Will see what we can do on Weds hopefully he is starting and the Conklin waiver does not put him back down with Toledo.