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The Detroit Goalie Conundrum

With the recent play of Jimmy Howard, and struggles of Ty Conklin I began to think about an article I wrote awhile back on Chris Osgood and his tenure with the Red Wings.

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It seems to take a special type of person to play in goal for Detroit, while the Cheveldae’s, Joseph’s and Legace’s have tried, only one has not succumbed to the presure and scrutiny that the others could not handle.

Saying goodbye is never easy to do, whether you change jobs, schools or move to a new city. There’s a good chance that you have built a relationship with a few people along the way. Sports are by comparison the same.

To a sports fan, watching a longtime team member leave can be just as hard. Growing up a lifelong Red Wings fan, I have Spent the better part of the last three decades getting to know some of the most loyal, hard-working and talented players the NHL has seen.

Chris Osgood is one of those players. Like it or not, he has cemented himself in our hearts as well as the NHL and Red Wings record books.

He’s the same type of blue-collar player that Michiganders and Wings fans around the world have grown to love, just as much as their superstars.

Looking back over the years, he has been an easy target. We’ve seen the blown leads, playoff losses and soft goals. He shrugged off the taunts, and ignored the media when they said he was the product of the team playing in front of him. His hall of fame credentials have been debated, yet through it all he has never turned his back on Detroit, even if it has him.

In his 17 year NHL career he has amassed 401 wins, 3 Stanley cups (2 as starter), 2 William Jennings Trophies (96, 08) and is a 3-time all-star (96, 97, 08).

On March 6, 1996 he became only the 2nd goalie in NHL history to score a goal by actually shooting the puck into the net.

He valiantly fought the larger, possibly stronger Patrick Roy in the 2nd of the now famous bench clearing brawls of the late 90’s Wings-Avs rivalry.

He ranks 10th all-time in wins (401), 24th in shutouts (50), 24th in goals against average (2.49), 8th in playoff wins (74) and 4th in playoff shutouts (15).

He is 2nd among Red Wings Goalies behind Terry Sawchuk in regular season games played (565), wins (317) and shutouts (39), and 1st in Playoff games (110), Wins (67) and shutouts (14).

Osgood belongs in the Hall of Fame. He is not the product of the team that played in front of him. Curtis Joseph had the same great team and couldn’t get the job done. Fuhr, Roy and Brodeur all played behind great teams, yet their hall credentials have never been questioned. Two words… Eddie Giacomin

but this is not a resumé for the hall. It’s a thank you to a man who held one of the hardest jobs in all of sports. He was the goalie that this franchise needed where so many had failed before him. Osgood gave us memories, good and bad that we will share with our children and grandchildren. He will stand in line with Red Wings greats like Yzerman, Lidstrom and Sawchuk, and not in their shadows.

From the baby-faced 21-year-old that wept in his locker stall after the game seven loss to the sharks in 94, all the way to the seasoned vet who helped mold his replacement.

He’s helped a team give a fallen city hope when all looked lost. He may never enter the hall of fame, and his number might never be raised to the rafters of the Joe, but it will be in our hearts.

And for that I say, thank you.

We have our new #1, but can Conklin or even MacDonald handle the pressure of playing for Detroit? Or does the search for a new backup need to begin?

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