This is painful to write because the guy has been great for the Red Wings and for Detroit. But the Wings need to cut ties with Chris Osgood. Father time has caught up with the 38-year-old goalie, and it’s time to stop chasing the past.
Osgood can’t stay healthy. His groin injury limited him to 11 regular-season games last season, and he never made it back for the playoffs.
His goals-against average in that limited time last year was 2.77, but it was above 3.00 in the two seasons previous to that — too high for an NHL goalie. His save percentage was .887 in 2008-09 and .888 in 2009-10.
Those are not Red Wing-like numbers. That’s what the backup goalie for the New York Islanders might do.
It’s time to move on. And it appears that is what Wings general manager Ken Holland is prepared to do. If he can swing a deal or sign somebody better than Osgood, he will. But he kept the door open for Osgood by saying the market for backup goalies is slim. Osgood, of course, would return if the Wings want him. If they don’t he is prepared to retire.
Professional athletes — just like regular folks — get old. They break down.
It happens in all sports. Willie Mays, Brett Favre and Wayne Gretzky all got old. It happens to everybody except Nicklas Lidstrom, who looks like he could play until he’s 80.
Osgood is a good family man who loves Detroit. But if he returns to the Wings next season and stinks up the joint, folks will turn on him and call him a bum. But right now he is one of this city’s favorites, and he needs to go out that way.