|Petr Mrazek will get his first NHL start on Thursday. (Getty Images)|
The Detroit Red Wings are finally going to give Jimmy Howard a break between the pipes and give goaltending prospect Petr Mrazek his first NHL start when they visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
First off, welcome to the NHL, kid. The Blues are only two goals behind the Sharks for the most in the Western Conference.
The Wings would normally turn to Joey MacDonald or Jonas Gustavsson -- whom they signed last summer -- to be the backup. But they have both been bothered by injuries, and Howard can't start every single game. Thus, Mrazek will get the call.
But there is something particularly noteworthy about Mrazek other than the fact that his name is not Howard and he'll actually play for the Red Wings. It's the mask that he'll be wearing, bringing it with him from AHL Grand Rapids.
|Mrazek's mask. (Dave Art)|
(To see other shots of the mask and get a description from the artist, visit DaveArt.com)
How perfect is that? You see the team in Grand Rapids is named the Griffins. Mrazek's first name is Petr. The "star" of Family Guy is Peter Griffin. For good measure, they gave Peter some super powers.
Well done, sirs (Mrazek and artist Dave Gunnarsson).
This will be the 10th game of the season for the Red Wings and the first one that Howard hasn't started. He has played all but 18:45 this season and has certainly not been at his best with a 3.07 goals-against average and .892 save percentage.
It should just be a spot start for Mrazek, and then the 20-year-old will likely head back to Grand Rapids soon. This season, his first in the AHL, he has played in 25 games while posting a 16-7-1 record with a 2.26 GAA and .916 save percentage.