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Jeff Riger: Ozzie Will Be Missed

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DENVER - DECEMBER 27:  Goalie Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings is congratulated by Kris Draper #33 and his teammates after he earned his 400th win with a victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 27, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Osgood collected 46 saves as the Red Wings defeated the Avalanche 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

DENVER – DECEMBER 27: Goalie Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings is congratulated by Kris Draper #33 and his teammates after he earned his 400th win with a victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 27, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Osgood collected 46 saves as the Red Wings defeated the Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Now that Chris Osgood has decided to retire and take a position in the Red Wings organization, the debate officially begins on if his career was “Hall of Fame” worthy? Just in the hours since Ozzie’s teleconference I have read about 7 articles all with differing opinions on if the long time Detroit net minder would one day be inducted into Toronto. Some say yes, others say no, while even others say yes, but it will not be on the first ballot.

Me personally, I think it’s a no brainer! Anytime you are top ten in wins like he is with 401 and there have been so many great goalies that have played and never even sniffed that achievement seals it for me. He should be in! But I’m not going to win this debate and neither will you if you disagree until the announcement in the years to come is made or maybe it won’t! But the one thing that I know about Chris Osgood is that he cares!

Now that might not be saying much in a world of stats and championships and big money, but it’s the truth, Ozzie did care. People say all the time that covering hockey is great because of the players and how they are all so close to regular hard working non-athletes; and those people are right. Not saying that other athletes are bad to cover but hockey players are the best and Osgood was no different.

Osgood cared about his hockey achievements. He often talked about how much it would mean to him to win 448 games and catch Terry Sawchuk to become the all time winning Detroit goalie. He talked about trying to win at least 403 games to tie his childhood idol Grant Fuhr who is 9th in all time wins in the NHL. He talked about what it would mean to him to come back to watch games at Joe Louis Arena once he was done playing and then really getting a chance to reflect back on such a brilliant career. The man cared and that should count for something.

Every sports fan wants to view their favorite athlete as one of them, a guy that played for the love of the game first and foremost and while that might sound cliché and maybe even a bit out of touch I think Osgood is that guy. I will never forget interviewing Ozzie last year in the playoffs when all the commotion was being made about the fan that was fined for throwing the Octopi on the ice. Osgood was the only Wing that not only answered all the questions that I asked him, but he also sided with the fans and ripped the league. Other athletes might have known that those same comments could get them in trouble but Osgood didn’t care.

So we will have to wait and see if Osgood will make it into the Hall of fame for his hockey ability. But it seems like Detroit has already welcomed him as one of their own for everything else.

Listen below to the full Chris Osgood retirement new conference

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