Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Osgood file Osgood file
Originally drafted in the third round (54th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Osgood has experienced all the highs and lows possible during a 17-year NHL career that ended Tuesday with a retirement announcement.

His first remarkable moment, one which many Red Wings fans recall, came at the end of his rookie season, the 1993-94 campaign. At the tender age of 21, Osgood was the starting goaltender in the playoffs.
The Wings' first-round series against the San Jose Sharks went to a deciding Game 7. With the score tied at 3 late in the third period, Osgood tried to clear a puck around the boards. Instead of leaving the zone, the puck ended up on Jamie Baker's stick, and he buried it for the series winner.

Osgood famously wept at his locker stall after the game.

During the offseason, the Wings traded defenseman Steve Chiasson to the Calgary Flames for veteran goaltender Mike Vernon, who won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989 and in 1995 backstopped the Wings all the way to the Cup final, where they were swept by the New Jersey Devils.

Sharing goaltending duties with Vernon in the 1995-96 season, Osgood tied for first in the NHL with a 2.17 goals-against average, was first in the league with 39 wins and third with five shutouts.

He and Vernon won the Jennings Trophy for lowest goals-against average. Osgood set a team record with a 21-game unbeaten streak and a 13-game winning streak. He also made his first All-Star team.

But the season's most memorable moment for Osgood had to be scoring a goal in a 4-2 victory in Hartford, becoming only the second goalie to do so after Ron Hextall. Ironically, the game was not televised in Detroit.

In 1996-97 , Osgood played more than half the regular-season games but served as Vernon's backup in the playoffs. Vernon went on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

In the offseason, the Wings traded Vernon to the Sharks, making Osgood the No. 1 goaltender. He proved to be up to the task, helping the Wings win their second consecutive Cup.

In the playoffs, Osgood was 16-6-0 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

Another snapshot moment in Osgood's career happened April 1, 1998, when he fought Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy — a little over a year after Vernon and Roy went at in arguably the most famous brawl in Red Wings history.

Osgood's first stint with the Wings ended in the summer of 2001, when the Wings acquired six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek from the Buffalo Sabres. Unable to trade Osgood, the Wings left him unprotected in the waiver draft and the New York Islanders picked him up.

Osgood set several records with the Islanders — minutes played in a season with 3,743, appearing in 66 games, 32 victories and four assists. Also during the 2001-02 season, Osgood won his 250th game, on April 1 against New Jersey. Osgood helped lead the Islanders to the playoffs, but they lost a seven-game series to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The following season, the Islanders traded Osgood to the St. Louis Blues on March 11, 2003. In his St. Louis debut, Osgood had 35 saves in Nashville for his 37th career shutout, becoming the first Blues goaltender to get a shutout in his first game.

With the Blues in the 2003-04 season, Osgood played in a career-high 67 games, earning his 300th career victory, on March 16 at Los Angeles. He won 31 games, the sixth time he had 30 or more victories in a season. On Oct. 29, Osgood stopped 45 of 50 shots in a 6-5 victory in Detroit, a career high in shots faced.

After the 2004-05 lockout season, Osgood returned to the Wings with a two-year deal. He missed the beginning of the season because of a groin injury, but still won 20 games for the 10th straight season. He appeared in his 600th NHL game, on April 16, 2006, at Nashville.

In the playoffs, Osgood had another groin injury, and the Wings lost in the first round to the Edmonton Oilers.

Hasek returned to the Wings during the offseason, and the injury bug bit Osgood again, too. He was sidelined for 15 games in the 2006-07 season with a sprained wrist and eight games with a broken finger.

The 2007-08 season turned into sweet redemption for Osgood. He led the league with a 2.09 goals-against average and started for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game.

In the playoffs, Osgood replaced a struggling Hasek in the first round against Nashville. All Osgood did was win nine straight postseason games from Game 5 of the first round to Game 3 of the third round at Dallas.

He set a new team record for most career playoff wins with 52 and playoff shutouts with 12. He also led all NHL goaltenders with a 1.55 goals-against average in the postseason. And, most important, he won his third Stanley Cup with the Wings.

The 2008-09 season had a lot of milestones for Osgood: He got his 300th victory as a Red Wing and moved into a tie for 10th on the all-time wins list with 389.

But the regular season was pretty rocky, and he was given a 10-day leave late in the season to work with goaltending coach Jim Bedard.

In the playoffs, Osgood was on his way to a fourth Stanley Cup and a probable Conn Smythe Trophy with a 2.01 goals-against average and 590 saves, but the Wings fell in Game 7 on home ice to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1.

Osgood continued to struggle in the 2009-10 regular season, going 7-9-4 with a 3.02 goals-against average — only the third time in his career he had a goals-against higher than 3.00. His save percentage was .888.

As a result, he lost his starting job to rookie Jimmy Howard, who also started in the playoffs.

This past season, Osgood only played in 11 games because of a sports hernia. The highlight of the season was when Osgood won his 400th career game in Colorado, a 4-3 overtime game in which he made 46 saves. Osgood is just the 10th goaltender in NHL history to win 400 games.

Osgood finishes his career with 401 victories, three Stanley Cups and a lifetime 2.49 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. In the playoffs he was 74-49 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

As Osgood said when the Wings cleaned out their lockers after losing to the Sharks in seven games in May: "You get older. I've got other things going on besides hockey. I've got three kids now, so they played 20 soccer games. I maybe see two or three of them."

Osgood will be able to see a lot more of his kids' soccer games, but he will also remain a part of the Wings organization, working with the young goaltenders.