GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Manitoba Moose on Wednesday, but the win may have been a costly one for a Detroit Red Wings veteran who was on the ice at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins won 4-1.
==Watch game highlights above.==
Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard left the game in the third period with a lower right leg injury. He made a sprawling save, got up gingerly, stayed in until the whistle blew, then left the ice.
Howard is in Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint after injuring that right knee in December and being out of commission for six weeks. However, Griffins head coach Todd Nelson said Wednesday’s injury didn’t initially seem to be serious — though Howard will be checked out further on Thursday.
“It was one of those things. When you get injured, like he did before this, when you come back off an injury, sometimes things happen and you kind of get scared to see if it happened again. We don’t think that’s the case. It was more or less precaution. So we’ll find out more tomorrow. We’ll see how he feels,” Nelson said.
Nelson was optimistic Howard would join Grand Rapids in Iowa on Friday for a game against the Wild.
Wednesday’s matchup was Howard’s second game with the Griffins. In his first game back pm Saturday, he gave up five goals on 29 shots to the Milwaukee Admirals. He said before Wednesday’s game that his knee felt fine, but he was still a little rusty.
“Basically just getting the timing back,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “When you get movement out there with 10 guys on the ice, it becomes much … more difficult to track the puck and that’s what I took the most out of Saturday night.”
Howard made 16 saves Wednesday.
He previously spent four seasons with the Griffins, but it’s been nearly eight years since he’s been in Grand Rapids.
“A lot of great memories here. This is where it all started. It was an honor to be back out there,” he said.
Also Wednesday, fellow Red Wings veteran Drew Miller became the fourth member of his extended family to play for the Griffins. His cousins Kevin, Kelly and Kip Miller all played for the Griffins at one time or another between 1999 and 2005 and they all had long careers in the NHL.
Drew Miller has spent the last eight of his 11 years in the NHL in Detroit. Now 32, he was waived by the Wings on Jan. 22. While disappointed to be let go, he came the Griffins on Monday for his first practice with a positive attitude. He hopes helping the Griffins win will help him get back to the big leagues.
“Obviously, coming down from Detroit, this is not a move that’s a positive move for me, but one that hopefully I can come down here and play some games and see how it plays out,” he said. “You can’t be the guy that comes down and mopes. I mean, these guys, this is their job and you’ve got to be a part of the team and help them win.”
“I don’t think I’m going to be coming in here and be a big ‘this is how you do this’ or ‘this is how you do that’ guy. I think it’s just more play my game and maybe lead by example,” he added. “I think it’s pretty late in the season to come in and be one of the veteran leadership guys. I think they have that set here. Pending if I’m here long term, I would evolve maybe into that, but I think they have a good core of guys that do that.”