Os-Good as it Gets in Hockeytown!

The much-maligned and often-questioned Chris Osgood delivered another strong performance and led the Detroit Red Wings to a six-game Stanley Cup victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Osgood is finally starting to receive some of the overdue respect that is clearly due to him. But really, how could hockey writers possibly say anything negative about him now, even if they wanted to? Pretty easily apparently! In his on-ice interview before the Cup was presented, NBC’s Pierre McGuire started off by pointing out (again) that Osgood was supposed to be a backup and after acknowledging the obvious, i.e. that Osgood was now a Cup-winning starter, McGuire increduously asked “how did that happen?”

At least the hometown press should be jumping on the Osgood bandwagon by now, right?  Wrong.  The Detroit Free Press reminded Wings fans how scared they were in the last minutes of the game, almost daring them to admit having any confidence in Osgood’s ability to hold a one-goal lead in the final seconds.

Should the media have been making the case that Osgood should have won theConn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP?  No.  As I said here at the start of the finals the Conn Smythe rarely goes to a goalie on an over-whelmingly dominant team such as this year’s Red Wings.  Should they finally have acknowledged the possibility the Wings might not have even been in the finals without Osgood?  I think so.  They could at least stop reminding us he was supposed to be a backup.

As is often the case in world of goalies it took another goalie to actually recognize what Osgood has accomplished in this year’s playoffs.  Sports Illustrated’s Darren Eliot talks about Osgood’s ability to stay sharp through long periods of inactivity behind Detroit’s stellar defense, his hard work in refining his new style of play and his level of professionalism, always putting team before individual.

I was surprised to find myself pulling for the Wings in the final moments of game six.  I thought I didn’t care who won but as Pittsburgh pushed for the equalizer in the dying seconds I realized I wanted Osgood to win.  So I really enjoyed his response to McGuire in the NBC interview. He stated what analysts should have been noting all along, that he has a lot of heart and never gives up.  And that he was going to smack Jiri Hudler for taking such a dumb penalty at the end of the game! Typical Osgood… understated, humble, quick-witted and as was the case throughout the playoffs, right on the money.


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