OS-GOOD, OS-GOOD...and/or The Circle of Life


I've been reluctant to talk about my favorite team in sports: The Detroit Red Wings. As a lifelong fan, I remember going to the old Olympia Stadium as a child with my family, and more often than not, watching the Red Wings lose. That's because the last time the Detroit Red Wings contended for the Stanley Cup Championship was before I was born, in the 1950s.

All that changed when Steve Yzerman joined the team and the Red Wings slowly put the pieces together that led to their all-but dominance of the Hockey World in the 90s, culminating in back-back Stanley Cup Championships. And as the Red Wings got better and better, so did the morale of the City of Detroit and all who loved the Red Wings, and all who loved Hockey.

But all good things come to an end, and so did the career of Steve Yzerman. The thing about sports, if you stick with your team long enough, is that you'll see them when they're down, you'll see them when they're on the way up, you'll see them at the top, and you'll see them decline. So since our heady days at the top, while the Red Wings have never sunk to the depths they were in in the early 80s, they haven't quite reached the pinnacle again. But after last night's overtime 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators, I believe there's hope, and hope's name is Chris Osgood.


Chris Osgood was an integral part of that back-back Stanley Cup Championship team, but Chris Osgood's career with the Red Wings has been an up and down affair mirroring their ups and downs as a sports team. After Osgood's rookie season, management felt that the team needed a strong veteran goaltender with Stanley Cup playoff experience. In the summer of 1994, the Red Wings traded popular defenceman Steve Chiasson to the Calgary Flames for goaltender Mike Vernon, who had previously backstopped the Flames to a Stanley Cup title in 1989.

While the 1994-1995 season started late due to a lockout, Osgood found himself backing up Mike Vernon for the season. The Wings reached the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals that season, where they were swept in four games by the underdog New Jersey Devils. Osgood received significantly more playing time for the 1995-1996 season, and he led the NHL with a 2.17 GAA and 39 wins. He also finished third in shutouts (5) and was a Vezina Trophy runner-up to Jim Carey. Osgood and Vernon shared the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltending tandem allowing the fewest goals in the league. For his efforts Osgood was selected to the NHL All-Star Game and was also named to the post-season NHL All-Star Second Team. Osgood even added a goal to his fantastic season, becoming the second goaltender in NHL history (Ron Hextall was the first) to shoot the puck into an empty net in a game against the Hartford Whalers. Another premature playoff exit soon followed, as the top-seeded Red Wings lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Colorado Avalanche.

The next season Osgood and Vernon shared starting goaltender duties in the regular season, but when the playoffs started, virtually all the playing time went to Vernon, who ended up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. In the end, Osgood had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup as the Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers in four games to win their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

After the Cup win in 1997, Vernon was traded to the San Jose Sharks, which made Osgood Detroit's number-one goaltender, with Kevin Hodson and Norm Maracle backing him up for the 1997–1998 season. Again, the Red Wings were able to advance to the Stanley Cup finals and defeat the Washington Capitals (in another four game sweep) to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.


Osgood remained the primary goaltender for Detroit until the summer of 2001, working alongside Bill Ranford, Ken Wregget, and Manny Legacé. But in the summer of 2001, the Red Wings acquired goaltender Dominik Hašek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, from the Buffalo Sabres. After numerous attempts to trade Osgood, the Red Wings left him unprotected in the waiver draft and he was acquired by the New York Islanders on September 28, 2001.

Hasek, or "the dominator," returned the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals and they won the Championship that year. But ever since, while the Red Wings have been hovering at the top, they haven't recaptured that championship winning form. Perhaps, until now.

Dominik Hasek, one of the greatest goalies of all time, is still the number one goalie in Detroit, but he has struggled in this first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators. While the Red Wings were up 2-1, they fell apart after Hasek let a couple goals in that resulted in a Nashville win and a 2-2 series tie. Once again, the Red Wings turned to Osgood, who have a successful stint with the St. Louis Blues, came back to the Red Wings in 2005; and after a number of years of injuries, is having one of the best seasons in his career at exactly the right time.

Last night, in one of those "Circle of Life" moments, Osgood hung tough in goal and made possible Detroit's 2-1 overtime win bringing the series to 3-2 in Detroit's favor and keeping the team's hopes of a Stanley Cup Championship alive after winning the President's Trophy as the team with the best record in Hockey in 2007-2008. The irony is, of course, that Osgood is once again the go-to man when seven years ago he was discarded by the Red Wings in favor of Dominik Hasek.

I've been reluctant to talk about the Red Wings and beat my chest with smack talk, until now. Sunday's game against Nashville will be telling, and if Detroit can win it and move on to the next round of the playoffs when the Predators have their backs against the wall, it will be a tastse very sweet: for me, for Red Wings fans, and for Chris Osgood!

I can hear the chanting at Joe Louis Arena now as if it were ten years ago and Detroit was celebrating in the euphoria of it's back-back Stanley Cup Championship: OS-GOOD! OS-GOOD! OS-GOOD!

But we got it all wrong. Osgood isn't just good, he's among the best that ever played in goal.

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE SUNDAY EVENING: The Red Wings are just three minutes away from beating Nashville 2-0 in Game 6. Chris Osgood started the game and remained perfect in goal. The Cheers have begun, and if the shutout holds and the Predators are indeed eliminated, I'm sure the cheers will erupt: OS-GOOD! OS-GOOD!

Banner 2 Banner 1 go!

Technorati Tags:, , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


Anonymous said...

Finally! A new Battle of the Blogs for you....voted for ya.
Happy weekend!

Roxiticus Desperate Housewives

April 19, 2008 10:51 AM
Mariuca said...

Hola! Thanks for advertising on my site, am here to drop off my vote for u today. Good luck! :)

April 19, 2008 11:49 AM
Anonymous said...

Yes, I read your post! And yes, it is one of your best ever (though I just started reading in February and haven't stalked you by going back and printing your archive and having it bound in leather). I'm not a big hockey fan, but I know how you feel...I remember the equivalent moment for me with the New York Rangers in 1995. My Bestest Pal got tickets for the two of us for one of the playoff games. He must truly be my Bestest Pal for not taking another guy to the game instead of me! I had a bet on the Stanley Cup with a boy in Vancouver...and I won. Big time. Any more details on that would be TMI. How do you make that smiley with its tongue sticking out??

Roxiticus Desperate Housewives

P.S. -- I'm not going to add your Detroit Red Wings widget to my blog because I have received complaints that it loads too slowly already.

April 19, 2008 1:53 PM
Shelia said...

Hi Matt!

Don't know much about hockey, but the pictures are great!

I'm going to be blogging live tomorrow during the Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva match at 1pm. Stop by if you have the time.

The site just may load a little faster too.

Take Care!~~Shelia

April 19, 2008 11:24 PM
Anonymous said...


Roxiticus Desperate Housewives

P.S. -- I always secretly hope I'll get "Scoobie" in Battle of the Blogs.

April 20, 2008 5:52 PM
Anonymous said...

Simpler and easier just links london various facets of being married the ought links london jewellery to be obtained and tradition recently indicated links of london sale actually divided regarding the bride's family, links of london silver the groom's family, as well as the groom himself. discount links of london Over are the days where the bride's parents insures links of london ring uk every single thing make a list of to links of london friendship bracelets sale perfect detail. For a short period, tradition had shifted this obligation to qualify for the links sweetie bracelet three parties soon discussed the following., a response, links of london earrings as well as ever-popular brunch. Experience entered production although there required to links of london necklaces sale twelve inches into your market by the grooms telephone and therefore bridal individual.

August 26, 2010 9:11 PM
Anonymous said...

All pizza places of USA http://pizza-us.com/wyoming/Jackson/Out%20of%20Bounds%20Pizzaria%20&%20Deli/83001/

Find your best pizza.

September 02, 2010 12:30 PM

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for commenting on this post! I appreciate my readers very much and value their feedback. Please leave your email address and URL so I can respond to you personally. Thanks and have an awesome day!