When Jimmy Howard’s pregnant wife Rachel told him not to pack a bag for a routine checkup last weekend, the Red Wings’ goalie thought otherwise.
“My wife didn’t want to bring any of the bags to the hospital, thinking that it wasn’t going to be anything,” Howard said. “But I was like, ‘Well, we better bring them, just in case. You never know.’ ”
But like any quick-thinking goalie, Howard made the right move.
“Next think you know,” he said, “the doctors are saying, ‘You’re not going anywhere.’ ”
A few hours later, and six days earlier than the originally scheduled delivery date, Howard became a first-time dad with the birth of James Russell Howard IV at 2:52 p.m. Sunday.
“It was all sort of a whirlwind,” said Howard, with a big beaming smile as he answered questions from the media Wednesday. “It’s been a great couple of days for my family.”
The two Jimmys even watched the Wings’ game Tuesday. While they had hoped for a better outcome, it was a perfect bonding opportunity for father and son, Howard said.
Plus, ‘James the Fourth’ even got a mention on Tuesday’s Fox Sports Detroit game telecast.
“The little guy saw himself on TV last night for the first time,” Howard said. “It was cool to be able to sit down and watch the game.
“Finally, to have him out, I’ve been talking to him while he was in my wife’s belly. To finally see him face to face, and to see his little blue eyes and the (facial) expressions that he already has, it’s pretty special.”
The Wings’ goalie was back at practice Wednesday after spending the last three days with his wife and their new buddle of joy. But he was glad to be back to work at Joe Louis Arena.
“I’m very excited to get back here, especially today, to get back on the ice after having off, which felt like forever,” said Howard, who will start Friday when the Wings host San Jose. “We have to right the ship here and get back to paying attention to details and doing the little things in the defensive zone.”