The Chris Osgood Debate

Chris Osgood: good, but was he great? AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

One of the rituals of retirement in any sport is for a retiree to be examined for his Hall of Fame credentials.  Chris Osgood has retired, and he certainly has a had a career worthy of such speculation, with 3 Stanley Cup victories, 401 wins, and 15 playoff shutouts.  His career numbers make it all the more curious why doubters insist on questioning Osgood’s resume.

The debate mainly circles around the importance of statistics when looking back at a goalie’s career.  If a HoF voter would only look at the number of wins and Stanley Cups, he would be a shoe-in for Toronto.  However, hockey fans would notice that Osgood was never an elite goalie during his career.

Osgood was not the dominating goalie of the 90s, with the likes of Roy, Brodeur, Joseph, and Hasek.  Even Ed Belfour was better in his prime.  Osgood never recorded a save percentage in a season at or above .920.  He will probably be remembered most for the half-rink goal he gave up to Jamie Langenbrunner and his boring helmet than any single season accomplishment.

People would also remember when Red Wings GM Ken Holland placed Osgood on waivers in the prime of his career after Detroit acquired Dominik Hasek.  Ask any Detroit fan, and it would seem, especially at the end of his career, that Osgood was just one bad goal away from being dealt out the Motor City.

His finest moment was with Detroit with ’08, when he seemingly willed the Wings to a Cup over Pittsburgh.  Osgood was at his best in the playoffs, as the stat above shows.  He wasn’t an on and off goalie like others: he was incredbily consistent from the beginning to the end of his career.  You always knew he would give 100% every night.  He even showed he was a team player when he relinquished his starting job to Jimmy Howard at the twilight of his NHL career.

Osgood always had Hall of Fame win totals and consistency, but other aspects of his game didn’t exactly vault him to elite status.  So what do you think, Panther fans?  Does Osgood deserve a place in the Hall?  Leave your comments at the bottom.

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