At this point in his career Chris Osgood’s hearing is probably as selective as it gets. That’s what winning three Stanley Cups, getting named as an All-Star four times and being 10th all-time in wins for active goaltenders will do to a guy. It makes you deaf to the plethora of garbage mouth flung your way.
For years Osgood been shrugging off accusations of being soft and lazy just as well as he shrugs off the oppositions shots, but for some reason no one can fully explain he never seems to get the respect he deserves.
Maybe he should change his name to Rodney.
Now comes the newest (but definitely not the first) shot taken at Osgood, not off the stick of a streaking winger but from Michael Arace, writer for the Columbus Dispatch.
In response to the “Ozzie! Ozzie!” chants echoing through Joe Louis Arena during Detroit’s game 1 and 2 wins Mr. Arace writes:
“It’s as if there is a citywide effort to channel positive thoughts and artificially inflate Osgood’s confidence. Why? He is, by any measure, the Wings’ weak link, and everybody knows it.”
Now I’ll admit right up front that I’ve criticized Osgood a few times for not playing up to snuff – did you see his save percentage for the regular season? – but it’s hard to imagine anyone calling him the “weak link” after stuffing all but one Columbus shot in game 1 and earning his 14th career playoff shutout in game 2.
Arace went on to say that Osgood is “fighting shots” and has “looked shaky” during certain exchanges, but he was clearly watching something other than games 1 and 2. Golf? Shuffleboard? Beer pong?
If Mr. Arace considers Osgood’s play so far in this series shaky I’d love to see what he thinks of his hometown goaltender’s performance. Steve Mason has allowed soft goals in both of Detroit’s wins – one came off the stick of Jiri Hudler at an almost impossible angle and another was scored by Johan Franzen from behind the net – and his save percentage of .890 just isn’t going to cut it if the Blue Jackets want to get out of this round alive.
Osgood, on the other hand, is sitting atop a pretty cushy .978 save percentage and is getting help in front of the net by a stifling defense that is only now getting warmed up.
Shaky? I don’t think so. Fighting shots? Not so much.
- Said Johan Franzen about Pavel Datsyuk’s uncanny ability to plant an opposing player: “As soon as somebody tries to hit him, he steps into them and makes them look bad. There’s a lot of cheering on the bench when he does that.”
- In an effort to help give their team an edge when the series shifts to Columbus the throwing of octopi onto the ice has been banned. No word on how exactly security plans to stop people from sneaking the slimy cephalopods into the arena in the first place.