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Is Chris Osgood a Hall-of-Fame-worthy goalie? He’s the fans’ goalie, and that’s all that matters

The debate came up again and earned its usual amount of passionate and all-too-partisan (at least in terms of the people who can’t stand the man because he stuck around like a bad penny) arguments: now that he’s retired, can we truly say for certain whether Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood is a Hockey Hall-of-Fame-caliber goaltender?

At the risk of sounding incredibly insensitive within 24 hours of the end of one goalie’s fantastic career, I genuinely don’t believe that it matters. Chris Osgood won 401 games, 3 Stanley Cups, left the Wings and came back to become good friends with the man who replaced him in 2001 and mentored the man who’s succeeded him, and all along the way, he was the fans’ goalie, to the point that when he retired, Chris Osgood stated that the people who made the biggest difference in his career were the people who cheered for him on and off the ice.

Neither the championships he’s won nor the legacy he’s created—and will continue to create as he mentors the Wings’ next generation of goaltenders (and I can’t stress enough what his status as a consultant and player mentor means in the “good news department” for someone like Thomas McCollum)—nor the fans who will continue to chant, “Ozzie, Ozzie” regardless of whether he’s deemed one of hockey’s immortals or a player worthy of having his number raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena or wherever the Wings end up playing one day…Really care. It doesn’t matter what the critics have said or will say about Chris Osgood. It never has and it never will. It’s about what Osgood and his fans think, and he cemented his status as a member of our Hall of Fame a long, long time ago.

Update: If you’re interested, the Wings posted the audio of Osgood’s retirement presser:

Download file

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Comments

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

This.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 07/20/11 at 02:15 AM ET

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GIven the Hall of Fame’s selection committee’s reputation, I have no clue if he’s getting in. Just being a beloved Red Wings goalie is an accomplishment in itself, although Kristen Bell may be saddened.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20202671,00.html

Posted by Bugsy on 07/20/11 at 02:24 AM ET

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AMEN!

Posted by bobafet from las vegas on 07/20/11 at 02:43 AM ET

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Then let him be in the imaginary Detroit Fan Hall of Fame. Do you even think his number gets retired in Detroit? Jesus Christ.

Posted by Duncan Kinneyq on 07/20/11 at 02:48 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ didn’t play for Detroit.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 07/20/11 at 03:01 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

That was Steve Yzerman. Ozzie’s more like the shirtless spirit.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/20/11 at 03:05 AM ET

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Okay, so that makes Gordie Howe the Father, and I don’t even want to guess what Tomas Holstrom is….

Posted by Bugsy on 07/20/11 at 03:12 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t know how Nick Lidstrom fits in, either, but he’s probably #2 son or something raspberry

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/20/11 at 03:44 AM ET

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Well put, George. God bless Ozzie.

Posted by Seaner on 07/20/11 at 03:51 AM ET

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As suggested elsewhere, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have a retirement ceremony when Colorado comes into town? Maybe we can get Patrick Roy to introduce him,....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl2xMXXOw4M

Posted by Bugsy on 07/20/11 at 04:10 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

or something raspberry

awesome.

All I have to really say here is…

Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!  Ozzie!

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 07/20/11 at 04:24 AM ET

cementslinger's avatar

There are 35 goalies in the HHOF already.  Look at their stats and then at Ozzies.  How does he not deserve to be in that group?

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 07/20/11 at 09:18 AM ET

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http://statshockey.homestead.com/alltimewins.html

To put the Hall of Fame debate in perspective, Ozzie’s stats certainly compare favorably to other goalies that are already there.

Of the Goalies with more than 300 career wins, only Brodeur has a higher Win Percentage, and only Hasek and Brodeur have better save percentages.

Of the Top 50 all time in wins, Only Brodeur and Ken Dryden have a better Win% then Ozzie.

His Playoff numbers are excellent as well.  8th all time in wins 2.09 GAA and 15 shutouts puts him in pretty elite company.

But, oh yeah, none of those other goalies played for as good a team as Detroit.

Posted by jwad on 07/20/11 at 09:49 AM ET

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What Osgood did in the 2008 playoffs made me a believer. When he replaced Hasek and took full control, especially in game 6 vs the Stars, that was amazing to watch. Opening the finals with back-to-back shutouts is pretty spectacular as well.

People are always going to hate on Osgood but the haters just have no clue. The guy is cream of the crop and has earned his due. The Hall will call, Mr. Osgood.

Posted by Iggy Rules on 07/20/11 at 11:38 AM ET

Number9Loyalist's avatar

For the record, I think Ozzie will be added to the Hockey Hall but George, your point is THE point to me.  This is a guy we know, that we’ve been through success and failure with, he’s been loyal and fun and funny and we’ve seen him shed tears of both joy and despair.  Chris is OUR goalie and all the negative nabobs can’t taint our affections and respect for him.  “Blessings Chris!”  #9

Posted by Number9Loyalist on 07/20/11 at 12:03 PM ET

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It matters and it does so because Osgood said it himself. He couldn’t stress enough how important it would be for him to be in the Hall of Fame.

I know what you’re saying, that memories he gave are more important than some plaque in Toronto. You’re right about that. But you can’t point to a quote in his press conference about how much the fans mean to him and leave out the fact that he mentioned how important it would be for him to get into the Hall of Fame.

It may not matter for you or me, but it matters for him.

Posted by Mike on 07/20/11 at 06:29 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.