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Top 100 Goalies: No. 51 — Chris Osgood

Individual accolades be damned, he saved his best hockey for ‘money’ games and racked up wins like few others.

There’s speculation the scorekeeper at Joe Louis Arena used to under-report the shots against the hometown Detroit Red Wings. As the story goes, it made those classic Wings look like defensive demons, but the flip side is it hurt the save percentages of goaltenders such as Chris Osgood. Luckily for Osgood, he earned three Stanley Cups and two Jennings Trophies as a member of the Red Wings, so his career stands on its own.

One of the most underappreciated members of those great Detroit teams in the 1990s and 2000s, Osgood used athleticism and a quick glove hand to maximum effect, masking the fact he was a less-than-intimidating 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. Perhaps most impressive about Osgood’s NHL career is the fact his best stretches came in two distinct clusters.

As a young NHLer he garnered Calder Trophy votes and was named a second-team all-star in his third year. Then came two Cups (one as Mike Vernon’s backup, the other as the starter) in 1997 and 1998. A decade later, after stints with the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues, Osgood returned to the Motor City and helped Detroit to a third Cup in 2008, registering a snappy .930 save percentage in the playoffs. He and the Wings returned to the final the next year for a rematch with Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins, with the Pens coming out on top.

In essence, Osgood was a “money” goaltender. His stats were usually better in the post-season, when the Red Wings needed him the most. He also cemented his status as a true Detroit stalwart by fighting Colorado’s Patrick Roy during the bloody Avs-Wings rivalry. In retirement, Osgood has stayed close to hockey as a part-owner of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. The Red Wings have even tapped the Michigan junior team for a couple prospects recently in defenseman Filip Hronek and center Brady Gilmour.

Born: Nov. 26, 1972, Peace River, Alta.
NHL Career: 1993-2011
Teams: Det, NYI, StL
Stats: 401-216-95, 2.49 GAA, .905 SP, 50 SO
All-Star: 1 (Second-1)
Stanley Cups: 3

DID YOU KNOW?

Osgood was the last NHL goalie to play a full season wearing the Cooper SK2000 helmet, the one that looked like a skater’s helmet but with a “cat’s eye” cage. That style was phased out as the current goalie-specific masks came in, providing not only the chance for custom airbrushed art but also more safety for the netminders.

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