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Frozen-Man

Great Ozzy Article

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Great article. I don't think it has been posted yet. I'm glad to see Ozzy starting to get some of the recognition he deserves.

Perhaps one day, about five years after Chris Osgood is done with his NHL career, we'll all wake up and realize he was a better goalie than anyone ever gave him credit for.

Perhaps it will be the day he goes into the Hockey Hall of Fame with 400-plus wins and a few Stanley Cup rings.

But, until then, it seems Osgood will have to live with the fact no matter what he does, people will second-guess him.

"It doesn't really bother me to be honest," Osgood told ESPN.com during an interview over lunch Monday. "I know I have respect from the guys in the room and they know what I can do."

Nick doesn't know why he doesn't get the respect he deserves

"Yeah, I don't know why that is, that's always been a subject in here," said six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom. "He's always been the strong mental goalie -- when it's needed, he comes up with a big save or a big game. If he has a bad game, he'll bounce back with another strong effort. We've seen that numerous times in the playoffs, not just this year, but other years as well.

"I don't know why he doesn't get the respect he should be getting."

On why Ozzy doesn't get the respect he deserves

Wings general manager Ken Holland has a few theories on that.

"First of all, there's a perception that we can put anybody in our net," Holland told ESPN.com. "We've always had high-profile talent. And through the years, we've always outshot the other team, so our goalie is in a position to only be responsible for the loss; he's not responsible for the win. I think Dominik Hasek had a hard time when he first got here, I think Curtis Joseph had a hard time with it, because we win because of our skaters and we lose because of our goalie. It's the perception."

That's a perception that has dogged Osgood. When this team wins, Osgood gets zero credit. When they lose? He gets singled out.

"By no means are we going to win solely because of me nor lose solely because of me," said Osgood. "Why we're so successful is that we don't rely on one player. Whether it's Hank, Pav, Nick, Raffy, Mule, anybody -- we're a team. That's actually why we've won our last two games of the playoffs because our role players have played well.

"So I never feel that pressure of having to go out and win a game. I've got to be solid and make the saves at the right time."

Theory No. 2 from Holland: selective memory.

"People remember Jamie Langenbrunner's long goal from center ice against Ozzie," said Holland, recalling the forward's overtime goal in Game 5 of the 1998 West finals against the Dallas Stars. "But it depends on what you want to remember. Somebody wants to remember that goal; I remember that Ozzie shut them out in Game 6 2-0 [to advance]. I remember that he bounced back when there was lots of pressure and lots of people waiting for him to wilt.

"And one year in the playoffs, Al MacInnis scored from center ice and sent the game into overtime," added Holland. "What I remember is that we won in overtime. People want to remember that goal, but I remember that we won in overtime. Depends what you want to remember. At the end of the day, when Chris Osgood is challenged, that's when he challenges the best. When there's a bad goal or a bad game, he's going to give you your best performance."

Ozzy's regular season problems

"Physically, I was there, but mentally, I wasn't," said Osgood. "The playoffs were so long. I was sitting there thinking, 'We were at the top of the mountain, now we're at the bottom and we have to go all the way back up again and there's a long way to go.' So yeah, there were nights I didn't play well for sure.

"I buried myself early in the year statistically, where I had no shot of getting close to where I even wanted to be."

Kenny gives Ozzy a 10 day break

One day in February, Holland called Osgood into his office. It's a meeting that changed everything. "I expected our entire team to have a struggle mentally," recalled Holland. "But enough was enough. So I called Ozzie into the office and said, 'Let's have a minimum week's breather.' And I reamed him out. I thought it was

important that he get back to what makes him successful."

"He gave it to me a little bit, and rightfully so," said Osgood. "That gave me a wake-up call, which everybody needs."

So for 10 days in mid-February, Osgood got a break from the team. It allowed him to recharge his batteries. But being the close-knit team the Wings are, it didn't go without some ribbing from teammates.

"Guys were calling me Kovy," said Osgood with a chuckle.

That would be Alexei Kovalev, who was also sent away for a mental break by the Montreal Canadiens around the same time. Mind you, it was a much bigger story in that city given everything that happened there this season.

One night during the break, Osgood stayed behind while the Wings played in frigid Minnesota. Again, the guys wouldn't let go.

"The guys were calling me and texting me, 'Hey, what are you and Kovy doing?'" laughed Osgood. "So even when things seem as bad as they can be, they're really not that bad."

Ozzy compared to other goalies

"You know, each year, there's always the new, hot goalie," said Babcock. "But our guy is still playing. Everyone is talking about Hiller and everyone is talking about Mason and everyone is talking about [Miikka] Kiprusoff and everyone is talking about [Roberto] Luongo. That's fine.

"But [Martin] Brodeur and Ozzie are the only two guys who have won three Cups in the National Hockey League that are still playing. They must have done something right."

Luongo will earn $7.5 million next season, while Osgood will happily receive his $1.45 million fare. One guy has won two playoff series in his career, the other has won three Cups.

Hey, Luongo is a superstar goalie, don't get us wrong. But it's interesting when you sit down and think about it, given the decision the Vancouver Canucks will have to make with Luongo going forward, how the Wings have "gotten by" with the low-paid Osgood in net.

"There's a lot of great goalies in the league, most of them are out right now," said Holland. "Chris is still playing."

Osgood couldn't resist when asked again about the lack of respect some people have for him around the league.

"Everybody says Kenny is one of the best GMs in the league," said Osgood. "Well, there's a reason why he brought me back."

Touché.

"I mean, I don't mind, I'll have my day," continued Osgood. "My numbers are good and I think I've proven over my career that I love playing in playoffs, I love playing in big games."

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nothing silences the ozzy haters like a .922 sv perecentage in the playoffs. Along with the Wizard of Oz, and Ozzie, chris osgood's nickname should be Dr. Clutch

Doctor? Doesn't he need 7 Cups to receive the PhD of Clutch? :P

That being said, he's almost got his Bachelors Degree in Clutch. Luongo and Kipper are still on the Waiting List just to see if they'll get accepted to the University.

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Doctor? Doesn't he need 7 Cups to receive the PhD of Clutch? :P

That being said, he's almost got his Bachelors Degree in Clutch. Luongo and Kipper are still on the Waiting List just to see if they'll get accepted to the University.

:lol:

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Guest Four

Great reads today!

Loved Kenny's responses and Osgood's attitude.

It's all true, too.

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Doctor? Doesn't he need 7 Cups to receive the PhD of Clutch? :P

That being said, he's almost got his Bachelors Degree in Clutch. Luongo and Kipper are still on the Waiting List just to see if they'll get accepted to the University.

Kipper's in community college.

Luongo is still working on his G.E.D.

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Great article. What I find interesting is Ken Holland "reaming" him :ph34r:

Seriously, when LGW was in meltdown over Osgoods play, and Babs/Holland didn't seem to be doing much about it, its interesting that Holland actually hauled him over the coals behind closed doors.

And credit to Osgood, it could have destroyed his confidence, but he took it like a man and came back and sorted it out.

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