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stevkrause

The single biggest scapegoat of the Red Wings in the last 20+ years...

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Cujo was the reason I became a hockey fan, and then a huge part in what brought me to the Wings. It was a mistake for him to come here, but I don't regret it one bit :cool:

I remember 2004 my friend (leaf fan) talking about how bad cujo was in the playoffs, I just pointed to the numbers and they spoke for themselves. He played good enough to win, just couldn't score yet. I recall Datsyuk being one of the reasons why too... :ph34r:

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Legace didn't do well, but Legace was a bigger scapegoat than Cujo was. Fedorov was also a bigger scapegoat than Cujo was ever since the holdout in the mid-90s. Yet without Fedorov, Detroit doesn't win in 97, 98, or 2002.

I agree. Scapegoat probably isn't the right word for Cujo. I never got the sense that people really blamed him for the losses.

But I do think he took some completely unfair criticism. Even though Cujo played very well, Giguere was better. After Hasek had set a shutout record the previous year, and with the team we had, I think a lot of fans had unfair expectations, like some people expected him to be perfect. So getting outplayed by Giggy drew unwarranted criticism, but I don't think there was so much that you can really call him a scapegoat. In '04, pretty much everyone I know praised Cujo as our best player in the Calgary series.

I can't even blame management too much for the situation with Hasek. Hasek was one of the best goalies of all time. It would have been stupid not to give him a chance. Cujo shouldn't have been sent to GR, but I don't think it should have caused the bad blood that it did. Maybe there was something behind the scenes I don't know about. Either way, I don't think it had any effect on Cujo's playoffs, or the result that year. Nor do I think we could have re-signed Cujo after the lockout anyway, so I don't see what harm was caused.

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The way Cujo was treated at the beginning of the '04 season was probably the only time I've ever been mad at Red Wings management. Just the way they jerked him around, put him on waivers, sent him to the minors. Then I remember when he got called up for good after Hasek and Legace got hurt, he drove in a rental car with three other GR players to Buffalo and started that day. He was just unlucky. Giggy had those monster pads and Kiprusoff was just a hot goalie at the time. Joseph played really well in those playoff years and under normal circumstances he would have gone much farther. He was one of my favorite players before he became a Wing, I really wished things had gone better for him in Detroit.

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It's been said the two toughest jobs in Detroit are Quarterback of the Lions and Goalie of the Red Wings, and not in that order...

CuJo's numbers were the same in Toronto and Detroit. In Toronto he was a hero, in Detroit he wasn't. In my opinion all it really shows the difference in expectations of the fans and organizations.

I don't think CuJo was the one to blame in the 2003 and 2004 playoffs, we couldn't beat Giggy and Kipper, but I don't feel sorry for him, that's just how it goes in sports. Plus he made a lot of money two years here, so he can't complain too much.

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Wasn't the reason we brought back Hasek was so St. Louis, Colorado, or Dallas (who all needed goalies for the 03-04 season) wouldn't get him? If the Wings were willing to pay for Hasek and CuJo, I can't really blame them for that.

Edited by Barrie

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I can't even blame management too much for the situation with Hasek. Hasek was one of the best goalies of all time. It would have been stupid not to give him a chance. Cujo shouldn't have been sent to GR, but I don't think it should have caused the bad blood that it did. Maybe there was something behind the scenes I don't know about. Either way, I don't think it had any effect on Cujo's playoffs, or the result that year. Nor do I think we could have re-signed Cujo after the lockout anyway, so I don't see what harm was caused.

Agreed on Hasek. I'll get to that shortly.

Joseph was never fully appreciated here, and it was a shame. At the time, definitely a good signing. Heck, even now in the grand scheme of things, it probably was.

There was little doubt he was very solid overall in his first year in 2003. His numbers were generally low, etc. However, the very few goals he let in, there were some softies at the worst times.

Now, given how nuts Giguere played out of his mind (pad jokes or not) and understanding that pretty much any goalie will give up a gaffer every now and then, I was all for Joseph coming back, and definitely not pinning the first round playoff loss solely on him.

Enter Hasek now. I think a lot of people don't take into consideration that after he won it all in 2002, he probably still had plenty of decent years left in the NHL. I was surprised he already hung them up. So, I can understand his desire to play again in 2004 after being away and Wings management wanting to go with him since he played so well in winning the Stanley Cup for Detroit, and possibly management thinking that Joseph might not cut it given the soft goals he gave up, fair or unfair. (just my opinion on Joseph/mgmt. when all this sprang up, I'm not stating it as fact and I'll re-emphasize that the series loss to Anaheim wasn't solely Joseph's fault)

No matter which goalie you were a fan of or hated back then or whoever you wanted to give the scapegoat, anger, or sympathy treatment to whether it was Joseph, Hasek, or Legace, in the end Hasek wasn't fit to play at the time, thus yielding to just Joseph and Legace.

The Hasek exit in 2004 was a shame and things ended on bad terms there, I don't think he did much to make the goaltending situation any easier but I understand his desire to play and pretty much anybody can tell you he's as intense and motivated in terms of game play as they come. He did personally forfeit a good bit of his salary after the bad dropout, I have to give him kudos for that, that takes a lot of guts.

Nobody could've predicted the firestorm that was 2004 goaltending with Hasek being as injured as he was, then Joseph eventually getting injured, etc.

In the end, I think blame goes partially to Hasek for not realizing he wasn't fully healthy to give it a go that season (not sure if that's really fair blame or not or if he was healthy then the groin or whatever just went complete south after he briefly played, etc.) and Wings management for not fully getting a handle on his health.

It was a shame Joseph never seemed to be fully appreciated here and I give him kudos for sticking through it all.

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Other than the way he was treated on his way out of here, I really don't have any lasting memories of Cujo's time here. I do have his McFarlane figure though!

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I'm going to get minuses for this, but does that decision remind us in any way of:

:scared:

marian-hossa.jpg

Hossa got a ton of blame, but he got no more blame than Cujo and Hossa played MUCH worse.

And to go back to my point re: Legace:

Legace received more blame than Cujo playing for a Wings team that put out a worse performance. People say Cujo was viewed as a bigger scapegoat now because he came in right after the Cup win, and was a much better goalie, but Legace was it.

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I'm going to get minuses for this, but does that decision remind us in any way of:

:scared:

The fact that Hossa didn't work out here is going to haunt me for years to come.

He could have been a monster in Detroit.

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I am sorry but I am not going to have a pitty party for Cujo, he is a professional athlete. The fact of the matter is Cujo left doubt in managements mind with his 2003 run. Yes the team was weaker but if he didn't leave the door open the Wings would not have signed Hasek.

That being said Cujo was a class act in 2004, but so was Hasek. He gave back his paycheck, something no other athlete in professional sports history has ever done. But back to Cujo, he could have given the Wings the finger or blown games. He was lights out in the playoffs in 2004.

I am sorry that things didn't work out differently, but again he was paid 8 million dollars that year. He had a job to do and he did it. Yes he probably didn't love his job that year, and yes that's unusual for a Red Wings player, but I am sure we have all had days, months, years, and some of us even longer where we worked a job we didn't really like.

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I would think Osgood has been a bigger scapegoat than Cujo.

He's had several stints in Detroit, and during that time, he's been loved and hated by Wings fans numerous times. It keeps going in a circle with him.

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I would think Osgood has been a bigger scapegoat than Cujo.

He's had several stints in Detroit, and during that time, he's been loved and hated by Wings fans numerous times. It keeps going in a circle with him.

The difference is I think the Osgood loving (myself included) balances out the Osgood hating.

It's a healthy balance.

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I just watched ESPN's "The Season" yesterday which covered the 2002-03 for the Red Wings, and man did they seem to dog Cujo (no pun intended) throughout. They mentioned a few games where he'd given up like 3 goals on 12 shots, or something like that. I definitely wasn't a fan of the move at the time, but I think people really ragged on him too much. I just remember thinking his style of play didn't suit Detroit, but I never had much against the guy. His play wasn't as terrible as some people would lead you to believe.

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The difference is I think the Osgood loving (myself included) balances out the Osgood hating.

It's a healthy balance.

Overall, no he wasn't. And that's because the loving has more recently peaked with a couple DOMINANT playoff runs and a Cup win. But the hating was much worse. Just think about 1994, when, despite the fact Osgood came in to save Bob Essensa's ass, the Wings were supposed to be dominant champions who swept their way through the playoffs, just as they did in the regular season? A President's trophy without Yzerman, and then Yzerman returning to center arguably the best line (Primeau-Yzerman-Sheppard) in the league (challenged by Kozlov-Fedorov-Ciccarelli) and then to see that team just fail so miserably across the board and then all the blame to be set at the rookie goaltender's feet for one thing he did wrong, after having stolen the starter job three times that season for being one of the ten or fifteen best goaltenders in the NHL in his first season in the NHL. Being scapegoated so heavily that year definitely puts him up there in the "single-season" and "rookie" categories, but his playoff performances since then have cleared his name.

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And to think that some people are doing the very same to Jimmy...

Overall, no he wasn't. And that's because the loving has more recently peaked with a couple DOMINANT playoff runs and a Cup win. But the hating was much worse. Just think about 1994, when, despite the fact Osgood came in to save Bob Essensa's ass, the Wings were supposed to be dominant champions who swept their way through the playoffs, just as they did in the regular season? A President's trophy without Yzerman, and then Yzerman returning to center arguably the best line (Primeau-Yzerman-Sheppard) in the league (challenged by Kozlov-Fedorov-Ciccarelli) and then to see that team just fail so miserably across the board and then all the blame to be set at the rookie goaltender's feet for one thing he did wrong, after having stolen the starter job three times that season for being one of the ten or fifteen best goaltenders in the NHL in his first season in the NHL. Being scapegoated so heavily that year definitely puts him up there in the "single-season" and "rookie" categories, but his playoff performances since then have cleared his name.

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Our offense did struggle in the playoffs when Cujo backstopped. However, the type of goals that were beating Cujo were so demoralizing that it added insult to injury. Sometimes you just need your goalie to be able to shut down the game with half a period left. A lot of the time, he would not only fail at that but would let in softies. It was a bad situation overall. Especially because before he came to Detroit, he was my favorite goalie but none of us got to see him thrive here. He was the type of player that could play when you weren't expecting him to win. I mean the guy single-handedly upset the Avalanche and Stars in the 97 and 98 playoffs (which is one of the reasons I liked him as a Wings fan in the 90s). The expectations were just too much for him in Detroit.

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And to think that some people are doing the very same to Jimmy...

If that's a shot at my take on Howard's playoff performance, I state again for the record that I think I he played below his ability due to the fact he was overly fatigued, and the team didn't give him the kind of protection that would have let him play at top end. It wasn't Howard's fault, but I don't want to see the same kind of failed stamina from that kid next postseason. I wanted better managed goaltending and I want a goalie who can handle his starts, 20 or 70. Last year's Wings might have gotten to the Conference Finals with Tim Cheveldae. With last year's team he could have been Grant Fuhr; a goalie with great stamina playing very well every game on a great team. Instead of just being who he was, a goalie who was capable of playing an entire season (72 games in 91-92, 30 games in 94-95) and the only reason he didn't play more games is because he spent half his career as a backup or 1a.

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Our offense did struggle in the playoffs when Cujo backstopped. However, the type of goals that were beating Cujo were so demoralizing that it added insult to injury. Sometimes you just need your goalie to be able to shut down the game with half a period left. A lot of the time, he would not only fail at that but would let in softies. It was a bad situation overall. Especially because before he came to Detroit, he was my favorite goalie but none of us got to see him thrive here. He was the type of player that could play when you weren't expecting him to win. I mean the guy single-handedly upset the Avalanche and Stars in the 97 and 98 playoffs (which is one of the reasons I liked him as a Wings fan in the 90s). The expectations were just too much for him in Detroit.

Yes I remember the goal he let in off Steve Thomas, he went down to soon, I thought at the time, and still do, that Hasek would have stopped it. It was a play/goal that I think cost us the series. If he made that save, things would have been different.

As mentioned before, I'm not blaming CuJo, because the offense wasn't working, but I agree the expectations were to much for him and he couldn't handle it, especially coming from Toronto where the expectations were much lower. Hasek was able to handle it, CuJo wasn't, so I have no sympathy when I hear him say coming to Detroit was the biggest mistake of his career. As good as he was, he just wasn't mentally tough enough for Detroit, and he probably should have stayed in Toronto.

And to think that some people are doing the very same to Jimmy...

That just comes with playing goal in Detroit. Everyone playing between the pipes here has to deal with it.

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Funny. Most people tend to forget, (or do they), that Dom didn't voluntarily forfeit a portion of his salary for the 2004 Season until AFTER Ken Holland "met" with him about the matter. Had he NOT done so, he would have been burned at the stake in Detroit. Period.

Funny how history gets "revised", isn't it?

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Yes I remember the goal he let in off Steve Thomas, he went down to soon, I thought at the time, and still do, that Hasek would have stopped it. It was a play/goal that I think cost us the series. If he made that save, things would have been different.

As mentioned before, I'm not blaming CuJo, because the offense wasn't working, but I agree the expectations were to much for him and he couldn't handle it, especially coming from Toronto where the expectations were much lower. Hasek was able to handle it, CuJo wasn't, so I have no sympathy when I hear him say coming to Detroit was the biggest mistake of his career. As good as he was, he just wasn't mentally tough enough for Detroit, and he probably should have stayed in Toronto.

That just comes with playing goal in Detroit. Everyone playing between the pipes here has to deal with it.

Ridiculous.

We scored 6 goals in 4 games (+ another game worth of OT) against Anaheim that year. You say you're not blaming him then turn around and say he couldn't handle the pressure? Of course Cujo couldn't handle the expectations if those expectations were retardedly unrealistic.

Giguere made 60-some saves in the first game. That's what cost us the series. He got to us in that game, and the offense was never the same. The team was out of sync, either throwing weak perimeter shots or trying to do too much. Cujo may have let in a couple goals he could have stopped, but he also made several saves that could have, and probably should have, been goals.

Hasek was far from great against Vancouver, got pulled in a game against St.Louis, and had a few mediocre games against Colorado and Carolina. The only real difference was Hasek had an offense scoring 3-4+ goals instead of 0-2 like Cujo normally had.

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