Chris Osgood didn't get the votes he needed to gain admittance the Hall of Fame. This, of course, spawns articles and debates about why the former Red Wings' netminder hasn't been inducted.
Nowhere is that discussion more volatile than on Red Wings' message boards across the internet.
Younger fans see the 401 wins and three Stanley Cups and say "Enshrine Ozzie."
Even some older fans say that.
But count me as one of the curmudgeons who doesn't forgive and forget so easily. People will ask "why does Osgood have anything to be sorry about?" And the question all depends on context. If the context is the Hall of Fame, I'm a stickler.
Many fans who lived and died with the Red Wings in the 90s and early 00s will tell you, Osgood was an average to above average goalie playing on a powerhouse team. He was the weak link.
Others point to his won-loss record and his Stanley Cups and laugh us off.
Those those people, I ask you to consider Osgood's playoff record in elimination games:
0-1 14/17 ... opponent 28/30
1-1 29/29 .... opponent 39/40 .. famous Yzerman OT goal
1-2 15/17 .... opponent 32/32
1-3 26/31 ..... opponent 35/37
1-4 21/25 .... opponent 20/22
1-5 25/28 .... opponent 26/28
2-5 31/34 .... opponent 29/34*
2-6 26/29 .... opponent 31/33*
2-7 28/32 .... opponent 33/34*
2-8 17/20 .... opponent 21/22*
3-8 24/27 ... opponent 36/40
3-9 16/18 ... opponent 23/24
Elimination game totals
Osgood 3 Wins 8 Losses 272/307 --- .886 Sv Pct
Opponent 8 Wins 3 Losses 353/376 --- .939 Sv pct.
What these numbers mean to me is this: Osgood was fine if we were blowing the doors off our opponents and winning in a sweep or five games. But when we had a tough game, even when we outplayed our opponent, we lost more than we won. We'd outshoot the other team. Their goalie shined. Ours faltered.
That's why Red Wings fans wanted him shipped out of town back in 2001 (and before). That's why we celebrated at getting Dominic Hasek.
Now, to Osgood's credit, he was really good in the playoffs in 2008 and 2009. He won me over when he returned to Detroit. He mostly didn't have to be great. But he was solid.
Something about his composure was different. Maybe he just didn't care what people thought anymore. Maybe he grew up. After years of railing on the guy on message boards and newsgroups, I developed what could only be described as a newfound respect for the goalie.
It still doesn't get him in the Hall, in my books. Because like it or not, he went out losing an elimination game, allowing two goals on 18 shots in a game where Detroit outplayed Pittsburgh.
He had a great career by just about any standard. But the Hall of Fame isn't just any standard.
(PS - Osgood is terrific as a TV analyst. He's gotten past that awkward phase and he shares good insights, even if he carries the Red Wings' water a little too much. He's got a wicked sense of humor that I hope he unleashes in the coming years.)