However, the Wings are 0-2 in his absence, and he will still be out for at least another week.
Conklin was supposed to be the starter for both games, but after Saturday’s game in Edmonton—where Conklin gave up two goals in the first six minutes and three in the first 20 before getting pulled in favor of MacDonald, who held on as Detroit eventually lost 5-4 in a shootout—head coach Mike Babcock decided to give rookie Joey MacDonald the start in Phoenix.
“It wasn’t good enough,” Babcock said of Conklin’s performance Saturday. “It’s an opportunity for him, and you want him to grab it. We need him to get confidence for himself and then for the guys. It wasn’t the way we wanted it to go. Tough break for him.”
MacDonald was better in the Wings’ 3-1 loss to the Coyotes on Monday, but if this is the way things are going to go for the red and white without their starting netminder, you can bet GM Ken Holland is already on the phone searching for some help in the crease.
While there are no goaltenders directly linked to Wings as far as trade rumors are concerned, there is still the theory that Detroit could go after the New York Islanders Evgeni Nabokov. Holland tried to get Nabokov last season only to have the Islanders swoop in and pluck him off waivers. The 36-year-old netminder would bring plenty of experience to the crease in Detroit, and although his record is not stellar (11-12-0), his numbers are decent (2.31 GAA, .920 save percentage).
Howard, who leads all NHL goalies with 32 wins and is fifth in the league with a 2.03 goals-against average, still does not have a definitive return date at this point.