Chris Osgood: despised by Mike Babcock, the rest of us

Boy oh boy, Chris Osgood certainly has the right things to say doesn’t he? Anyone who’s ever done anything even remotely competitive can understand — even appreciate — his desire to play more, and the fire that burns inside him when he’s sitting on the end of the bench, charting faceoffs. In that respect, I feel for him. I didn’t play much when I got to college, and it’s hard to sit back and watch when you love something so deeply.

But, he’s still expected to be a team guy, and be a respected veteran, and a locker room presence. In years past, he’s been an unbelievable influence — and not just on young goaltenders, on young players in general. This year, that train has seemed to become derailed. There’s a very clear rift between Chris Osgood and head coach Mike Babcock, and it all began a few weeks ago when Osgood questioned Babcock’s decision to play Jimmy Howard more often. It led to Ozzie implying that he knows more about goaltenders than Babs does. On the surface, that claim seems downright plausible. However, that’s not the kind of thing you say about your coach, who — surprise! — decides who plays when.

When it was announced that Osgood would play last night against the Capitals, we got more gold from Ozzie, who seemed to infer that he was being thrown to the wolves, making his first start in nearly a month against the high-octane offense of the Caps.

That’s quite a coincidence. Or maybe not. We’ll see how it goes.

Doesn’t exactly ooze confidence, but he couldn’t be blamed for feeling less than ready – it had been awhile, after all, since he last got the nod. Emo Manny Legace he is not, but he’s been opening his mouth quite a bit more often than he’s been known to. Osgood continued by letting his true feeling about how Babcock has handled the situation be known:

At the start of the year Howie didn’t play for about a month and then I didn’t play for a month. To me that’s not a good way of doing things, to let one guy get stagnant. You have to have both guys going, especially with the amount of games we have, especially coming back after the Olympic break we have a ton of games in March. So we have to have two guys in case something happens.

First of all, he’s absolutely entitled to this stance, and like I said earlier, I’d be worried if he wasn’t interested in playing more. However, not all successful teams “have to have two guys” going. New Jersey has done just fine with one, San Jose and Calgary use the hell out of their Number Ones, Roberto Luongo has never needed a “mental break.” Furthermore, these aren’t things that you say publicly, if you’re expected to be treated a certain way.

If you think Osgood has played up to Howard’s standard this year — or Conklin’s last year — you’ve been living under a rock and I feel sorry for you. Make all the excuses you want, like Osgood, but the numbers don’t lie. He’s currently stopping fewer than 90% of the shots he has faced this season, and – frankly – that’s a disturbingly low number for an NHL goaltender.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not blaming yesterday’s loss (solely) on Osgood. But the fact remains that if Jimmy Howard plays that game, we have two points – easily. The Wings badly outplayed the Capitals for most of the  game, hold a 42 second span that completely derailed Detroit. I said the same thing on TOV a few weeks ago, but if things continue to go the way they’re going, there’s absolutely no way in hell that Chris Osgood starts in the playoffs – should we get there. It’s clear that Jimmy Howard is the guy now, and that Babcock is going to go with him to get the wins. Case in point, the post-game press conference where Babcock was quick to steer the conversation toward Tiberius, even when asked about Osgood.

That was an opportunity for him, and I thought we gave him real good support and Howie will start in Minneapolis. 

Notice how he wasn’t asked about the next game, but rather the one that had just ended. The press conference would continue and when asked about how important it is to get both guys going, Babcock informed everyone that would listen that you can’t win without goaltending and that WE’RE LUCKY TO HAVE JIMMY HOWARD. Boom.

Chris Osgood continued to make excuses and pass the buck on a less-than-stellar performance, claiming that if he had played more often, he would have made the saves we needed to win.

It was tough. I haven’t played in a month. I think if I played a little more — they were good goals, but still I would have stopped them if I were in more of a groove. It was tough, especially against a team that doesn’t shoot a lot but waits for their best chances.

I didn’t see the following conversation take place, but it certainly reads like there’s some aggression going on. When told that Babcock is playing Howard on Thursday because the team “needs some points,” Osgood responded with:

I’ve gotten him a lot of points, you can write that. I got him to the Stanley Cup Finals the last two years, you can write that, too.

Nothing like taking total credit for a team sport…and then refusing to take any blame when crapping the bed.

I can’t speak for the organization, obviously, but there’s certainly an uprising among fans who are growing tired of his lackluster play the last two regular seasons, and growing even more tired of him flapping his gums. I totally understand the urgency he feels to get back in the game, but he’s not winning anyone over with his mouth lately.

Photo Credit: Keith Srakocic, AP

41 thoughts on “Chris Osgood: despised by Mike Babcock, the rest of us”

  1. Ozzie needs to STFU, and I totally thought he would after that performance. I thought I would feel better about all of this today too but I clearly do not.

    Great post, as usual.

  2. But the fact remains that if Jimmy Howard plays that game, we have two points – easily.

    How exactly do you make that case? Jimmy somehow would have stopped the redirected shot? Jimmy would have automatically stopped the Bradley chance? He probably would have shut down the Backstrom goal, but that's one of three that's a definite save.

    Here's how the team would have had 2 points: capitalize on more than 2 of 46 shots.

    New Jersey has done just fine with one, San Jose and Calgary use the hell out of their Number Ones, Roberto Luongo has never needed a "mental break."

    Remind me again of the playoff success of those teams with those guys. In New Jersey's case, in recent years. In the other cases, ever.

    Those guys are powerful examples of why it's good to have a balanced goalie stable, not to keep going with one guy all the time. The Wings have done the double goalie thing for a while and I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's worked better than having just one guy.

    I will say that Osgood's being a baby here, regardless of how valid his points may be. But so is Babcock. They're both acting like children in this matter, not professionals. But Babcock can get away with it because he has Howard. So he gets a pass. Bull.

  3. Matt already made the same point I was going to–there's no way, unless you have some incredible ability to see an alternate reality, to know for certain that we would have left the VC with two points if Howard had been in net rather than Osgood. That's a poor argument with poor logic, and you know it is.

  4. Matt, totally with you about needing to capitalize on more than 2 of 46 shots. But you can't say that if you're not willing to say we need more than 20 saves on 23 shots…

    And yeah, you're also right about both sides of this fight being babies. But Babcock isn't getting a "pass" because he has Howard. He's getting a pass because he's right. Play well or STFU, and unfortunately Osgood isn't doing either.

    My point about riding one goalie wasn't in reference to post-season success, but it could have been. The only two times in HISTORY a backup has come in for relief in the playoffs and won a Cup was Ward in Carolina and — YUP — Osgood in Detroit.

    Further, if you think that San Jose, Vancouver, or Calgary's playoff failures are a result of over-work by their goaltenders, I don't even know how to argue that…

  5. Ellen, I DARE you to tell me that's a loss if Howard's in net. Despite what happened in Sweden, he's shown an ability to get over goals against FAR better than Osgood has, evidenced by 42 seconds in the third period last night.

  6. Let's get them all back together and replay the whole damn game, then, like that ridiculous FS show, Replay.

    The Steckel goal deflected off and in, as far as I could tell, and I'm NOT saying that as an excuse. Oz didn't play as well as he needed too.

    But I'm just curious how you can be so certain that the Wings would have won with Howard in net. The game wouldn't necessarily have even gone the same way. Maybe with Howard in net the defense plays lackadaisical and we get torched. Maybe with Howard we get peppered with SOG and he stands on his head and wins regardless. There's literally no way of knowing what the outcome could have been, and I just think it's very silly to state that you know without a doubt what the outcome would have been.

  7. But you can't say that if you're not willing to say we need more than 20 saves on 23 shots…

    Then address the nature of the three he didn't stop. Citing 20-of-23 says nothing about the actual stopability of any of those shots. That's how you categorize how well a goalie played. I don't care if a goalie allowed 6 goals on 15 shots if they're all deflected. It's a sign that it's not the goalie's night, maybe, but not one that he's playing badly per se.

    Just one of the goals was deflected, so that's not everything. But most of the time when a goalie gives up a goal on a chance like Bradley's, he gets a pass because the fans are too busy ripping the defense a new one. In this case, Jonny gets the pass, well because he's Jonny, apparently.

    I focus on the five-hole goal. It sucked. Osgood's got to be better on that play than that. But that's one goal that doesn't have an asterisk. But hey, let's lynch him for failing to reach our impossible standard for a goalie that literally sat and atrophied in brief morning skates for a month, minus one lost cause.

    Play well or STFU, and unfortunately Osgood isn't doing either.

    The only organized sport I've ever played was football and that's not one of those sports where coming back from injury or sitting and picking up at an excellent level is difficult. Hockey is, from what I've learned over the years of watching it. Maybe you can tell me differently, but it seems to me the conventional wisdom in the hockey sphere is that you need gametime to really hit your stride.

    Expecting Osgood to come in and tell the whole world to "STFU" with a stellar performance is a flat refusal to recognize the facts: he sat for a month and only got reps in practice and we're not talking about quality reps here. This is reality, not a movie.

    Further, if you think that San Jose, Vancouver, or Calgary's playoff failures are a result of over-work by their goaltenders, I don't even know how to argue that…

    Did you watch last year's Luongo in the playoffs?

    I'll concede that the other teams' problems are less the goaltender and more a host of other things. I will say those guys (Kiprusoff and Nabokov) are elite goalies on a level Osgood's never been at and possibly one Howard will never reach. They're the exceptions, not the rule.

    Osgood has, evidenced by 42 seconds in the third period last night.

    Oh, so you are blaming Osgood for the redirect. Okay…

  8. Well, yeah… I'm certainly not going to enter into a Butterfly Effect conversation regarding hypotheticals. HA!

    Of course, the whole thing would go differently. I just firmly believe that we would have received more than 20 saves for each 23 shots against. Hell, if you want something as close as I can give you to "logic," let's look at save percentages.

    Osgood, coming into the game, was stopping right around 89.9% of shots he faced. Last night, we stopped 87%

    Howard's at.923, meaning 21 saves for every 23. OF COURSE you can't say he'd stop THOSE three shots, particularly the re-direction, but the numbers are certainly in his favor over the course of the last few months.

    Oh, and if I had to choose a game to replay on that Fox Sports show, it'd be Game 7, I think. HAHA

  9. Great post Michael and I totally agree. While the first goal is okay, the second and third should have been saved. If Ozzie's gonna run his mouth, he's gonna need to back it up with some great playing

  10. Before I start, let me say that I'm not on either goalie's bandwagon (or their hater bandwagon either).

    First, I don't necessarily believe we would have won with Howard last night. The first goal Ericsson screwed up, the second goal Stuart screwed up, and the third was a deflection. Maybe Jimmy would have stopped those, maybe not.

    Second, Ozzie is really screwing himself here. Yes, it's understandable that he's frustrated, and needs to say these things somewhere. BUT NOT TO THE MEDIA. I think he more than implied he knows more about goaltending than Babs, he flat out said it. And then to come out last night and not back it up only makes it worse. No, I don't think he was terrible, but he was just OK, and we needed better. Blaming "rust" is lame. I'm surprised he didn't blame the lack of shots in the first 15 minutes. It's going to be a long time before we see him in goal again, and that's due both to his big mouth and his failure to back it up.

    Third, I am concerned that Babs bears some of the blame here too. Riding the hot goalie is one thing, but playing your starter against the worst team in the NHL? Or in back-to-back afternoon games? At some point it starts to look like a personal vendetta. I'm sure he's annoyed at what Ozzie's been saying, but I hope he's not losing sight of what's best for the team by trying to punish one person.

  11. Andy, that's basically all I wanted to get across here. I certainly didn't want to make it a Prosgood/Consgood thing (BOOM – that just happened), I'm already entrenched in one of those wars HAHA… the big point is — it's VERY clear Babcock's lost favor with Osgood and Osgood's mouth is losing favor with nearly everyone else. That's all. It has less to do with last night's game than it does with the excuse machine pumping out bullshit all day and all night.

    Jenn, thank you. Totally respect your (and Ellen and Matt) thoughts that Howard doesn't necessarily win that game. That's absolutely fair to say (just like implying he would win is). But you get the point, too: Osgood is digging his own gave with the comments, fair or not. And yes, Babcock isn't exactly hiding his thoughts re: the goaltending. I'm not at all YAY HOWARD, but it's clear to me that he's the better goaltender. It still doesn't forgive Babcock playing Howard in both back to backs this past weekend, and Osgood last night.

  12. Guilherme Calciolari

    I don't care for Osgood right now.

    It's kinda obvious that hockey is not a game where you can step in and make an impact immediately after a long break.

    But this season we simply cannot afford Osgood to have a streak of laughable games while hoping he "gets it right" on the next.

    As for his playoff performances, two things:

    1-That's 3 or 4 good months in the last what, eighteen? Not enough for me

    2-I don't believe in a switch. Osgood has no switch for the playoffs, Tiger has no switch for Sundays, Datsyuk has no switch for Turco. I can't conceive the idea that the April calendar page will show up in the locker room and Osgood turns into a real goalie instantly.

    See it to believe it, baby.

  13. I'm proudly sporting my "I Heart You, Ozzie" T-shirt I made up last night. They're on sale, if anybody wants one. 🙂

    Michael and anybody else who read my recap/comments all over the place, you know how I feel about Ozzie's performance last night. I disagree wholeheartedly with people who are ready to take the loss out of Ozzie's hide. I think it's clear that Ericsson cost us the first goal, Stuart the second, and the third was a horrible, flukey deflection on an iffy rebound. I agree totally with Matt and Ellen when they say that Osgood's less-than-superstar performance is to be absolutely expected after not starting for practically a month; on the other hand, I'm willing to concede that it's virtually impossible for Babcock to bench Jimmy when we're fighting for the bottom rung of playoff contention.

    That being said, Babcock is in a pickle and has been, when it comes to shared-duty goaltending. Jimmy's been playing his ass off, yes, but at what cost is that to Osgood? I know the obvious answer may be who cares, considering Howard's the one winning points, and Osgood had his chance earlier in the season; however, people who are ready to bench Osgood for all perpetuity and/or trade him to the highest bidder are ignoring the crucial fact that Osgood IS playoff tested, whereas Howard is not. Sure, we have to make it to the playoffs first, and yes, Howard is winning games, while Osgood is not, but I don't see the trade-Ozzie situation benefiting us in the least. What if Howard doesn't hold up well under pressure in the postseason? I'd like to think he'll continue being on fire, but none of us know that to be a certainty. (I'm with you, Michael–I think at this point, Howard's definitely our starter, but what if that doesn't pan out?)

    I will agree with Michael, Andy, Kyle, and anybody else on this next point: Osgood's comments to the press do NOT help his case. At all. It makes it more difficult to defend him, for starters. More importantly, it's a horrible bluff, if that's what he's going for, which is all I can imagine he's trying to do. There's no way Ozzie really wants to be traded, right? First, I'll go for the sentimentality of his retiring with the team with whom he won three Stanley Cup titles. Also, do we think he wants to go to a new team to be second fiddle to someone else? Where could he find a home as a starting goaltender, particularly in light of his making his complaints public? I don't know. I just think it's a stupid move on his part; he needs to quietly wait his opportunity again. The Ozzie naysayers (sorry, that's the fastest way I could think to type it instead of listing everyone's names again–but I just wasted time by typing out this parenthetical explanation, so damnit) are right that Ozzie is clearly #2 now because he has been outplayed by Howard. It's a bitter pill for Ozzie to swallow, but he has to live with it and hope for another opportunity.

  14. Unlike discussions revolving around the Man-Tuzzi, this is a topic on which TPL is a HOUSE UNITED. We can spend all day here batting around numbers (which favor Howard) and coaching disputes (which again put Howard in a better light), but I think it's worth considering this:

    Part of Osgood's role is to be a veteran presence on this team. He still has value as a goaltender, but much like Malts and Drapes, part of the reason he's here is because he's a "family guy." Right now, in the thick of a race for the 8th spot…one that we're dangerously close to botching…we need our family guys to be role models. This might mean an impassioned speech, like we saw from Drapes a few weeks back. We also might need these guys to step up and take the blame for a loss, even if it's not completely their fault. You see this all the time in other sports, where an NFL quarterback blames himself for throwing an ill-timed pick, or a linebacker excuses a kicker's late-game miss by saying they shouldn't have been in that position in the first place.

    Ozzie's problem here is that in the absence of him being a good TEAM GUY, our only measure of his value is what he does IN THE OCTAGON. If he goes 20/23, and he's being a pain in the ass to his coaches/teammates, what other measuring stick are we supposed to use?

  15. Just to be clear, Natalie, I'm not one of the ones calling for an Osgood trade. I think that would be beyond ridiculous because, like you said, he's an experienced guy and there's absolutely a chance that Howard isn't the guy long-term. I don't know that — just like I don't KNOW Howard wins last night — but I do know that all things equal (which they aren't, anyway), Howard is your starter.

    BUT, if Osgood's going to be a cancer in the locker room (he isn't yet, but his comments aren't helpful in any measurement), and he'd rather be somewhere else, then he has earned that right to go somewhere else, if he desires.

  16. @ Herm – I think you hit the nail on the head with "see it to believe it." I'm taking your comment a bit out of context here, but let's keep one thing in mind: This is the most pragmatic season our team has seen in a long time. Hate going all Al Davis, but we're in Win Baby Win mode, and despite who's complaining to whom, we can't afford "nights off" waiting for guys to get going.

    For what it's worth, we've had other guys come in cold this season and play fantastically. Look at Ritola (you're welcome, Andy). Kid stepped in and played lights-out his first two games. Granted, he'd been playing with the small club, but this is a guy who had to all of the sudden get used to an entirely different level of hockey. He didn't look phased, and if he complained about "adjustment time," I certainly didn't hear about it.

    Even Meech…whom TPL has railed on in the past…has had to jump on the ice over the years after spending a few games up in the press box. We didn't cut him any slack and…by necessity…we can't but any goalie slack at a time when ONE DAMN POINT out of the playoffs.

  17. Michael, I was kind of rolling all my thoughts into one big comment, so I wouldn't have to resort to stalking TPL to make sure I remembered to clarify everything. Oh, wait. I just got caught stalking TPL. Anyway, I didn't mean to imply that you, individually, are ready with a torch and a pickaxe to get rid of Osgood. I was kind of speaking collectively to the group of people who are extremely, perhaps irreversibly, angry at Osgood.

    I think it depends on what Osgood wants to do; if he just wants more playing time and is pissed at Babcock, then his recent, public behavior is a very stupid move. If he legitimately desires to be traded, then I suppose this is one approach to accomplishing that goal. I hate that our team has resorted to this, though; I don't necessarily fault Babcock. Osgood started the entire thing with the press. But I've always enjoyed the smug superority associated with being a Wings' fan and knowing that our team doesn't air its dirty laundry in public.

  18. @ Petrella – To your point about being a cancer in the locker room, can you imagine the fury if Bertuzzi had to sit out and then came back and said he needed some time to get back up to speed?

    Chaos.

    Also worth noting, can someone remind me of how much Dan Cleary complained after came back from injury? Oh, that's right. He just came back and resumed kicking ass. Ditto Hank, and I'm guessing that if Mulo/Homer/Kronner ever return, we'll hear the same thing: NOTHING.

  19. Natalie, Rob and I would like nothing more than to have you stalking TPL. NEVER apologize for that HA!

    Disch, if Bertuzzi ever said anything besides "me hungry, me eat roast beef now," I'd probably catch fire in a fit of rage, but I'm biased like that.

  20. Whether you're in the Pro-Osgood or Anti-Osgood camp, it at least seems that everyone has agreed that he should really STFU because he's only making it worse for himself.

  21. Can't we all just agree that fourth-liner Ville Leino is at fault for the loss last night? I mean, if he's better on the 2nd PP unit, we're all talking about how we want to see more of Ozzie to see if he can shake that rust off instead of attacking one another.

  22. This is a team that may miss the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. This is a team that has been without 6 or 7 of its starters for the entire season. It is a team that has relied upon everyone to get the job done. Ozzie isn't the only one who has sat but if Leino were lighting the lamp, May would not be seen anywhere but the press box working on his post-NHL career opportunities. I am pretty sure that if Babcock had the flexibility to sit more guys he would and he wouldn't give a damn about it. His job is to get the team to the playoffs if at all possible and that means playing those that are performing the best.

    If we were still able to score at will, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. Jimmy and Ozzie would split the time in net and he'd be able to sleep goaltend through the season to get in shape for the playoffs. We can't score goals though so that kind of means you need to keep the damned puck out of the net.

    The shots last night were 3-11-9 (this used to be the kind of game he'd excel at) so it wasn't like he was pounded with rubber from the drop of the puck. He needed to be big. He needed to be the stable veteran providing strong back up goaltending. He wasn't. STFU for now Ozzie.

  23. @JJ and Anon – You guys both bring up a good point. If we were popping 4 goals/game, we'd have the luxury of giving this debate some time to breathe. Unfortunately, we don't, and against that backdrop we need someone who can come in and make a 2-goal output stand up. We also need someone who can handle seeing 30+ shots/night, which Jimmy saw on a regular basis this month and did fine with.

    Does anyone honestly think Ozzie can see that kind of rubber and backstop us to a 2-1 win?

  24. Guilherme Calciolari

    Self-promotion-> Nov. 30, on A2Y:

    -Howard is giving us reasons to ask, in April, “who will start in the playoffs?”

    It seems unrealistic to me to think that Ozzie really does have a post-season switch, and if he does, all of those crappy regular seasons may be rusting the button.

    Excuse me, I'm going to the lottery stand.

  25. I think it's less of an Osgood issue and more of a defensive issue here for the Wings.

    Let's be honest: Both goalies have their problems. Osgood has a huge five hole. Jimmah is prone to the big rebound. The difference here is in their mental approach to the game, and for a group of blue collar fans, Ozzie's approach is a better fit for LA than it is for Motown.

    At the end of the day though, the bigger fundamental problems live with the defense. Anyone not named Lidstrom or Rafalski has become a liability out there, mostly because of their insistance to be an offensive defenseman. These guys fail to keep the play in front of them because they are pinching in or trying to lend offense to a team that needs scoring production. It's a catch 22 in alot of ways. Ask those guys to help pick up the offensive load, and the goalies are on their own. Ask them to be defensive stalwarts and the scoring takes a hit.

    Kronwall will be a welcome addition back to the lineup because he can go both ways, but the Wings MUST get more production out of the offense to help ease the burden on the D and the goalies. That's why the last two teams were so successful. They had multiple points of failure in that one group could suck, but the other two were capable of picking up the slack. That's no longer the case because the offense is lacking and 2/3 of the defense is incapable of playing two way hockey in a smart and effective manner. The margin for error is minimal now and both goalies have paid the price this season.

    The difference is one keeps his mouth shut and the other doesn't.

  26. Guilherme Calciolari

    Hollis, one of them is shutting the net, too.

    Also, Howard really worked on his big flaw (rebounding), even if something slips at times. Osgood just keeps whining, Howard just keeps improving.

  27. @hollis – I realize he got WORKED last night, but you have to add Stuart to the list of Defensemen playing well this season. I think…and something tells me Petrella will back me up here…that Stuart has been a lot better than "Rafa" (HT: Andy). Rafalski's goal last night was a beaut, but he also damn near coughed up a goal to Ovechkin when he lost the puck in his skates as Ovie was bearing down on the goal. There have been a handful of times where I've wondered if Raffy's even top-pairing material.

    In either case, Kronner coming back…when's that happening again?…will be a massive lift.

  28. Yeah, I'm not overly pleased with Rafalski this season. He's still one of the better, more-reliable guys around, but he's had a lot more defensive lapses than in years past. But, having said that, so has Nick. Brings us back to The System…maybe the System isn't working this year…these things are cyclical, and Detroit's system had never allowed 52 shots BEFORE this year. Anyway, Rafalski is still my nominee for "which guy doesn't deserve his contract most"

    Howard definitely has issues with the rebound. He's getting BETTER, but he's still below average.

  29. Here's the patented J.J. from Kansas all-congealed thought about this whole thing. I'm probably echoing a few people here:

    Osgood didn't lose us that game last night. He could have won it for us, be he didn't lose it. Does that make me happy? Hell no. I've seen Tiberius win for us when we should have lost, I'm having trouble remembering the last time Osgood did that. Based on that, Jimmah is my starter.

    Even if Osgood is right about needing more time in real games to get into his groove or his schwerve or whatever the hell you damn kids are calling it these days (GET OFF MY LAWN!), the media is the worst place to say that and Osgood is the last person I want to hear saying it. Let us fans bitch about whether we want him getting more playing time. Unless this is some clever ruse by Osgood to boost Tiberius' confidence, I don't want to friggin' hear it.

    The offense is definitely the elephant in the room as it comes to our goaltending controversy. 2 goals on 46 shots against Jose Theodore is unacceptable, especially when I don't necessarily think he stood on his head. Datsyuk and Zetterberg each had multiple opportunities at an open net last night that they failed to convert.

    Chris is right about how the defense is taking chances to help out the offense. I'm actually still in favor of this. I think it needs to happen slightly less often, but I also want the forwards getting to the more high-traffic areas to make more room for a d-man to pinch in. Right now, Valtteri Filppula is the only forward who consistently tries to take the puck to the middle. Z will get that back as his shoulder continues to improve and I think Helm is really starting to grasp that too, but it's not the norm and it should be.

  30. Guilherme Calciolari

    To be fair, the defense seems to play better in front of James.

    At first they might just be nursing the rookie goalie, but now it feels they are just more confident.

    Jim worked on his big flaw, rebounding, by giving up less, directing it better and by having a defense that clear the softies he lets up once in a while.

    Also, he got lucky sometimes. The LA game is a nice example, but let's not forget that Stuart, Helm and Meech combined have more saves this season than Osgood.

  31. @Herm, you make a good point. I'm not sure if the defense has simply been able to adapt to Jimmy's game, or if they really play with more confidence in front of him….With all of the other injuries and everything else taking place this season, it's hard to say. Perhaps it's a little bit of both.

    Personally, as far as the Ozzie debate goes, his comments to the press bothered me more than his lackluster performance. However, I do remember commenting on one shift that everyone was playing goalie except for Ozzie, he was incredibly out of position.

    I have to agree with Natalie, It's too bad this battle between Osgood and Babcock is now in the media…It's certainly not typical Red Wings protocal…

  32. I'm sure there will be a very intelligent, informed discussion on the subject in the comments section over there.

    Hahahahahahahahaha! 🙂

    Oddly enough, Colorado fans are the one I have the hardest time actually having a conversation with – Penguins fans and Chicago fans are much more able to avoid the "Dead Wings fan! You SUCK!" meme than most of the Colorado fans I've heard. I just kind of write them off.

  33. I live in Colorado, so you can imagine what I have to put up with! I could get worked up into a serious rant about it – but today is Ozzie rant day, so I'll hold off. 🙂

  34. I think that Howard might have had an easier time stopping that third goal than Osgood, though – only because he goes so very far out of the goal that the puck would have deflected right into him because there wouldn't have been room for it to go through anywhere. Because of the style difference I think that one he might have been more likely to grab than Osgood did.

    Other than that, it's impossible to really say.

  35. Truth be told, I didn't notice, either. HA! That means it was all Rob and, like usual, genius flows.

  36. Here's the way I see things:

    1. Osgood has a right to be upset with his playing time. BUT, when you voice the reason for your bad play as the coach's fault for not playing you, that's just plain stupid. If you really think you deserve to play more, go out there and play like you deserve it–no matter how long you've missed time.

    2. Osgood has been a perennial benefactor of exceptional defenses in front of him. He floundered in St. Louis and with the Islanders when the defenses were poor at best. Oz has never had the best angles, the quickest glove hand or drop to the ice, good rebound control, or even a distinguishable style of play (other than chaos) to be honest. I know I'll catch a lot of flack for this but Chris Osgood is a mediocre goalie at best. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy and what he has done for this team but he has relied HEAVILY on the defenses in front of him in the past.

    3. Although, I'm not ready to proclaim Jimmy the savior of the Wings in net, he does give them the best chance to win. We all know by now that this team is just flat out not producing goals so defense and a low score is vital. Last year, Osgood was able to get away with the 3, 4 goal games with out many people batting an eye because the Wings often came out on top. But this year, keeping the other team off the board is the focus and Jimmy has the best chance of doing that for Detroit.

    4. Finally, it's just that time. It's time for Osgood to hand over the reigns in Detroit. And I don't think he likes it one bit. I can't really say I blame him but how do you show a guy how to handle himself in the lockerroom and with the press if you're mouthing off about what he's doing instead of you?

    5.If this continues, Osgood will put a big nasty stain on his career in Detroit. I don't think anyone wants to remember him for this type of stuff over the games he played.

    On a side note, Babcock is proving Jeremy Roenick wrong on the notion that he "hates America" after giving the goaltending reigns to Howard–an American.

  37. I think Osgood is struggling with himself, too – he probably alternates between the good team guy helping Howard as much as he can to improve as a goaltender, and the unhappy veteran who doesn't want to think about a younger player taking his job, depending on his mood. It can't be easy – but that is even more reasons for him to keep quiet about his emotions, that they are likely churned up a bit.

  38. Boy, am I late to the party. Great post … I completely agree that Ozzie has every right to be pissed off, but on the other hand, his play has done little to help his cause. Meanwhile, Jimmah's spent the last few months telling us all to STFU. And I absoutely HATE when players complaint about coaching decisions in the press, even if it is warranted … makes them sound like little petulant bitches.

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