Goaltender Jimmy Howard is glad he's with the Detroit Red Wings after dealing with trade rumors during the offseason.
"Not disappointed, that's for sure," Howard told the Detroit News on Wednesday. "I'm happy I'm here. I didn't really want to leave in the first place. My family loves it here. I love it here. I have great friends in the [locker] room.
"I'm happy to be back."
Howard, 32, has three years left on a six-year contract signed April 16, 2013, with an NHL salary-cap charge of $5,291,666. He finished last regular season as the starter after helping the Red Wings make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th consecutive season but relinquished the job to Petr Mrazek during a five-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Mrazek will enter training camp this season as the Red Wings' No. 1 goaltender.
"It's Pete's job to lose," Howard said. "It's my job to push him, not only to make myself better but him better.
"Whatever my role is, that's what my role is going to be. ... The approach I'm going to take into the season is just find ways to basically reinvent myself on the ice."
Howard has spent his 10-season NHL career with the Red Wings. A second-round pick (No. 64) in the 2003 NHL Draft, he has 189 wins and 22 shutouts in 375 games. He's third all-time among Red Wings goalies in games played and wins, and fourth in shutouts.
Howard went 14-14-5 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 37 games last season. His experience could prove valuable to the Red Wings, who have 17 sets of back-to-back games this season.
"The schedule is almost like we're in an Olympic year," Howard said. "It's going to be very tight body of games each week. You have to be ready when you're called upon.
"When your number is called, go out there and play. You can't control anything else around you except for yourself."