TIGERS ALUM OSGOOD RETIRES FROM NHL
Chris Osgood’s long and winding road in the NHL has finally come to an end.
The 38-year-old goaltender announced his retirement from hockey in Detroit Tuesday morning, bringing an end to his 17-year NHL playing career. He moves on to a new job within the Red Wings organization.
The Peace River, Alberta-native won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, who originally drafted Osgood in the third round, 54th overall, in 1991. He suited up for 744 NHL games in his career, spending two stints with the Wings, as well as playing for the Blues and Islanders.
Osgood alternated between a mask and his trademark helmet while a member of the Tigers
He would serve as the starter for two of his three Cup wins, in 1998 and 2008 and served as Mike Vernon’s back-up on Detroit’s 1997 Cup-winning team. He also took the Wings to Game Seven of the 2008 Cup finals, where they would lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A two-time Jennings Trophy winner, Osgood would share the award with Mike Vernon in 1996 and Dominik Hasek in 2008.
Osgood’s numbers rank amongst the all-time leaders amongst NHL goalies, despite fighting for a starting job for portions of his career.
Still, the numbers piled up. He ranks amongst the all-time leaders in regular-season wins (401, 10th all-time), shutouts (50, tied for 24th), goals-against average (2.49, 24th).
In the playoffs, his numbers were even better, his 74 playoff wins are good for eighth all-time and his 16 playoff shutouts trail only Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and Curtis Joseph.
Osgood is also one of only five goalies to have scored a goal in an NHL game by actually firing the puck into the opponent’s net, doing so against Hartford on March 6, 1996.
Tigers fans will also remember he became one of the few WHL goalies to score in a major junior contest, when he fired the puck the length of the ice versus the Swift Current Broncos.
Osgood suited up for the Tigers from 1989 to 1992 before being dealt to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
He hopes he’ll earn a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.
“Hopefully, one day, it happens,” Osgood said. “It means the world to me. I do believe I deserve to be there.”
The 38-year-old played 14 seasons with the Red Wings and won three Stanley Cups over that span.
“Part of me knows I can still play, but my body says no,” Osgood said. “My mind says no, my body says no, but my heart says yes.”
Limited to 11 games last season because of a sports hernia, Osgood didn’t want to return and potentially leave the team short.
“I couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t get hurt again and didn’t want to put (the organization) in that position again,” Osgood said.
Osgood drew closer to a decision after a trip with his teammates to Europe and made the call after a three-hour talk with general manager Ken Holland Saturday in Vernon, B.C.
“I just think it was the right time,” Osgood said. “When I told Kenny, I was at peace and relaxed, but it was a struggle. It’s what I’ve done my whole life.”
He won’t be completely walking away from the game. He’ll remain in the Red Wings’ organization in a yet to be named capacity working with goaltending prospects in the system as well as some amateur scouting with draft eligible players the club has interest in.
Osgood and Holland will continue a relationship that began back in 1991.
“I knew him when he was (age) 15 or 16,” said Holland. “I was the chief scout for the Red Wings living in Medicine Hat (Alberta) and he was playing midget and eventually with the (Western Hockey League’s) Medicine Hat Tigers.
“We played summer ball hockey and I told him we were saving a spot for him in the second or third round. At times, he’s almost been my fifth child.”
He ended up being a third-round choice, 54th overall, by Detroit in the 1991 entry draft.
While limited to 11 games last season, he did manage to earn his 400th NHL win, which puts him in the all-time top 10 for goalies and helped clear his mind to retire.