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Meltdown hits road for Howard

by Zack Crawford / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – As campaigns for the 2012 presidential election swings into motion across the U.S., a different kind of campaign is underway in Hockeytown.

Last week, radio personality Meltdown Mike from 101.1 WRIF has been on the road promoting Jimmy Howard for the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa.

In a recreation vehicle bedecked with the motto “VOTE FOR HOWARD,” Meltdown and WRIF have been broadcasting live from restaurants, bars and stores every day in an effort to get some attention for the 27-year-old goaltender who currently leads the league with 16 wins.

“The gist of the whole thing in a nutshell is that the first time I looked at the All-Star voting I’m like, ‘Why isn’t Jimmy Howard on there?’ and it kind of struck me as bizarre that there were 18 goalies and he wasn’t one of them,” Meltdown said, explaining the reason behind his campaign, which wrapped up Saturday night at Hockeytown Café in downtown Detroit.

For Meltdown Mike, who emcees a weekday show from 3-7 p.m. EST, it’s self-explanatory why Howard should be on the ballot — a great playoff stint at the end of last season and a league-leading start to this season make him an obvious candidate for the All-Star Game.

But when the NHL announced the 127 players on the ballot in November, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg were the only Red Wings accounted for.

As soon as Meltdown saw that Howard wasn’t on the list, he knew he wanted to do something about it. So, with Howard’s approval – and with the help of the eye-catching RV – Meltdown and WRIF have been touring southeast Michigan, “pushing the fact that this is Hockeytown” and trying to get as many people to vote for Howard as possible.

“I didn’t know what kind of response we were going to get and the response has been really good,” Meltdown said. “Most of the people that we’ve been meeting on this tour have been really supportive of it. Jimmy deserves at least if nothing else to get on the ballot.”

Over 10,000 people have already voted through the WRIF Web site.

For Meltdown, a serious fan, who plays hockey a few nights a week and doesn’t miss a single Wings’ game, the campaign for Howard isn’t anything personal — it’s simply about getting some recognition for Howard’s consistency.

“I have never met Jimmy Howard,” Meltdown said. “I’ve never actually met him, and it has nothing to do with a friendship I have with him or anything like that. I just thought he deserves to be there, and if nothing else deserves to be on the ballot and be recognized for how well he’s been playing.”

The stats don’t lie: with three shutouts, a 1.89 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and more than a few highlight reel saves, Howard has been having an All-Star season.

The ballot might not acknowledge Howard’s performance yet, but with the help of Hockeytown fans, Meltdown Mike and WRIF are hoping to change that.

“I think what we’ve got to do is to get him into the top six, and once we get him into the top six then he’s good to go,” Meltdown said.

The 2012 All-Star game will be held on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place. Cast your vote for your favorite Wing by CLICKING HERE. Voting ends on Jan. 4.

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