A few years ago, Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood and I shared a beer at Nemo’s following a Tigers home opener. We talked outside of a large open tent and people came up and said hello as if he were their neighbor next door.
It was strange from this standpoint: How many Detroit professional athletes do you see hanging out with everyday fans, talking to them and sharing laughs? It is unheard of in this modern era, but you’d hear stories of Osgood hanging with common folks all the time.
I always thought Osgood was the peoples’ goalie.
That day confirmed it.
We will no longer hear the chants of “Ozzie” at Joe Louis Arena after a big save because Osgood did the right thing Tuesday and announced his retirement. Now after 401 wins and three Stanley Cups winning the hearts of this city, Osgood rides off into the sunset. It is time because injuries and old age caught up with the baby-faced goalie.
“I think it is the best decision for both the organization and myself,” Osgood said Tuesday during a conference call with the media. “The hardest thing I have ever done. I thought it would be a lot easier. I feel as if I can move on and I am looking forward to the future as to what I will be doing with the organization.”
Throughout his highs and lows as Red Wings goalie, one thing always remained true — he loves this city. He loves the fans and he loved the organization. His love was not fake. His tears were not fake and that is why he goes out as the peoples’ goalie.