“I feel good, better now than I did the last couple of seasons going into the year because the playoffs are so long. I feel well-rested. I didn’t play a lot the second half of the season, but I got to practice a ton and worked on my game. That’s not going to carry over, but it keeps you in good shape.”–Chris Osgood
Ozzie took his demotion last season with relative grace, and was very supportive of Jimmy Howard – who could learn a lot from Osgood about how to deal with off-ice goings on. Meanwhile, Ozzie himself knows that he has to work on his on-ice performances. After two strong seasons, Osgood fell flat last year, posting the first losing season in his entire career.
“I just got to get the kinks out, get some rust off, get practicing and playing in some games. I’ve learned since I’ve aged that each year is different,” Osgood said. “It doesn’t matter what happened the previous year. Everything changes. I’ll just come in prepared for anything, whether it’s playing a lot, whether it’s playing 20 games. It’s impossible to predict. My mind-set is to be ready regardless.”
That’s the absolute best mind-set to be in for a back-up goalie. Would anyone argue that the starting job is Jimmy’s to lose? He started 40 of the team’s final 41 games last season and should have gotten a few looks for a Vezina nomination…even though he had no chance of winning. But Osgood will be Osgood – the toughest goalie between the ears in the entire National Hockey League.
“If I don’t get four wins this year, then I won’t be playing next year, and that won’t be my choice.”–Chris Osgood
Ozzie needs just four wins to move into tenth spot on the all-time wins list. He currently sits at 396 career victories.