Busy goaltender Howard gets rare day off at Red Wings practice

DETROIT - Jimmy Howard finally got a day off.

Sort of.

The Red Wings goaltender has played in every game this season, missing only one period of action in the team's season opener.

Wednesday, head coach Mike Babcock said Howard sat out practice for a rare breather, but that doesn't mean he'll miss the Red Wings game Thursday at St. Louis.

Howard has a 4-4-1 record and a 3.07 goals against average this season with a .892 save percentage. He has been Babcock's only option this year, with injuries tying up the other netminding options.

Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been hampered by a sore groin, and second backup Joey MacDonald has yet to be cleared to play with a bad back.

Rookie call-up Petr Mrazek, the AHL Player of the Week last week with a 2-0 record and 0.50 GAA, is the only other healthy option for Detroit until at least Saturday, when MacDonald could suit up.


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