Jeff Riger: Who Deserves It More?
Detroit Red Wings
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In case you missed it, the Red Wings seem like they are cured! Detroit has won 2 games in a row and both over the very talented Boston Bruins, Friday 6-1 and Sunday 4-2. The Wings are now able to get the puck out of their own zone, the scoring chances are definitely more of the quality variety and the team is holding the opposition to a shot total in the mid 20’s which is right where it needs to be if you want to win consistent hockey games. So as I said at the beginning at this blog; seems like this team is cured. So I think we should move on and talk about something else…hmmm what can we talk about? I got it! How about Chris Osgood?
Ozzie was honored before the game on Sunday for winning his 400th career game a couple of months ago. Fans stood and did the traditional “Ozzie” chant while Osgood waved to the crowd while the Wings gave him and his family a gift from the organization. It was a pretty cool moment and obviously a good omen as the team went on to win the game. Now Osgood is not finished with his career and earlier in the week he came out and said that he is leaning towards playing hockey next season as well, which I think is great news for the fans and the team. But there will come a day when he will call it quits and when he does, the organization will have to decide if number 30 should be raised to the rafters for nobody else ever to wear again?
Now I say YES, but I know that for everybody that feels like I do, there are an equal amount of people that think the opposite way. Of course the Pistons (not to jump sports here but…) just came out and announced that they will retire Dennis Rodman’s number which I disagree with. But it is the same story there, for everybody that feels like I do there seems to be an equal amount of people that think the opposite. So who deserves it more? Yes this is a question you can debate for ages but that makes it even more fun…right? So let’s start the argument!
First off, I want to get this out of the way…I have STANDARDS for retiring numbers! There is nothing more special and rare that a team can give one of its players then to hang his number in the rafters for eternity or until the building is no longer fit to be play in. (whichever comes first) believe that greatness, longevity and embodying all that a team stands for are just some of the main qualities to getting your number retired. I further believe that there should be no argument about it. Now I know that sounds crazy as we are arguing right now about it, but a true player deserving of this honor should be great enough that nobody can even attempt to debate. Now in my opinion one of the two players in question has all the criteria that I have laid out and one does not.
He has played 13 of his 17 seasons in Detroit where he has won 3 Stanley Cups, 2 as a number one goalie and the other as a back-up. I know “almost” don’t count but he was one goal away from winning a 4th cup as the team lost to the Penguins in game 7 back in 2009. His career goals against average is under 2 and a half while his save percentage is just over 90 percent. IN the playoffs that goals against gets better as he sports a 2.09 average and stops over 91 percent of the shots that he faced. Currently Osgood has 401 victories which puts him 10th all time on the list of goalies with the most wins. Osgood is 3 w’s from surpassing his idol Grant Fuhr and 48 victories away from becoming the Red Wings all time wins leader. Osgood was put on waivers by Detroit in 2001 when the Wings acquired Dominick Hasek and spent time with the Islanders and Blues before returning to Detroit after the lockout in 2005.
Of course there are knocks on Ozzie, people all the time claim the reason he has so many wins is because he has always been fortunate to play on good teams. But you show me a goalie that has a lot of wins and I will show you talented players that he has played with. People also like to point out that Detroit put Osgood on waivers after getting Dom, but at the time Hasek was the better goalie taking nothing away from Osgood’s resume! It should also be pointed out that Osgood ended up replacing Hasek in Net in the playoffs in 2008. Osgood, not Hasek was responsible for winning that cup. Osgood also continues to want to be in Detroit, something that can’t be said for other players.
Played 7 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Pistons where he won a couple of titles with the “Bad Boys.” The “Worm” won 2 defensive player of the year awards with Detroit and was named to 5 NBA “All Defensive” first teams. During the 1991-92 season Rodman averaged almost 19 rebounds a game and won the first of his seven consecutive rebounding crowns. There is no doubt that without the help of Rodman that the Pistons would never have won the back to back titles over the Lakers and the Blazers.
But here comes the down side, after Chuck Daly resigned, Rodman skipped a preseason camp and was fined 68 thousand dollars. He also demanded a trade from Detroit after being found in asleep with a loaded rifle in the Palace parking lot. He had almost 12 million dollars and 3 years remaining on the deal. Rodman also failed to show up when the team celebrated the 50 greatest Pistons of all time. Pistons representatives even admit now that they will not completely feel comfortable until Rodman shows up on April 1st to celebrate his number being raised to the rafters. He claims he will show but he has done the same in the past and then did not.
So there it is! Rodman will have his number retired and Osgood should, but which one deserves it more? I think the answer is clear, but you tell me!!! I have tried to lay out the facts as fairly as possible but after reading this blog back I might have been a little bias, so that means you have to help me see it your way.
What do you think?