LARRY LAGE, AP Hockey Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has been ruled out for at least a week after injuring his left knee again, putting his spot on the U.S. team for the Winter Olympics in doubt.
Howard insisted Tuesday he is not concerned about missing the Sochi Games, saying he wants to get healthy “for this organization.”
The Red Wings, who have endured a slew of injuries all season, plan to start Jonas Gustavsson in Howard’s place on Wednesday night at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tampa Bay’s 6-foot-7, 214-pound goalie Ben Bishop would likely replace Howard if he isn’t healthy enough when the Americans have to set their final Olympic roster on Feb. 11.
Howard was hurt Monday night during the first period and left the game in the second period against the St. Louis Blues, aggravating the same knee that knocked him out of the lineup for eight games in December.
“I reinjured my knee a little bit last night in the first period making a save on one of the power plays,” Howard said. “As the game went on in the second period it just got stiffer and stiffer.”
He sprained a knee ligament two months ago and returned in time to play two games and be named one of three goalies for the U.S. team. Howard said the injury is not as serious as the last one, but acknowledged that there is fluid around his knee.
“Hopefully it gets out of there fast,” he said.
Bishop had a career-high 48 saves Sunday in a 5-3 win over Carolina. He led the league with a .935 save percentage, ranked second with four shutouts and was tied for third with 24 victories, entering Tuesday’s games.
Howard’s .916 save percentage ranks 18th this season and he has a 9-12-8 record, playing behind a banged-up team that has him back on its list of injured players.
“What I imagine they’ll do is reassess him in a week,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
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