Oh, what a difference a year makes.
Last season, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood was on top of the world. Splitting time with one of the best netminders in league history in Dominik Hasek, winning left and right until finally capturing the Stanley Cup...all was well in Motown.
This year, though, the angel has fallen, and if Prince Stanley smiles on Osgood again it will likely be toward the bench. Despite playing for the powerhouse Red Wings, Osgood has been dreadful this season ultimately resulting in his benching for noted journeyman backup Ty Conklin.
Osgood has been a major letdown for the organization. His stats are dreadful at (all goal coaches, goalies, or related should skip to the next paragraph) 3.15 GAA (goals allowed average) and a save percentage of 88.5 percent. This is a shambles compared to last year's stats of a 2.09 GAA and 91.4 percent.
Last season, Osgood played in 43 games, going 27-9-8. His winning this year has been the only consistency, as he has again played 43 games for a 25-8-9 record. However, last year, his wins came as a result of good play. This year, his wins are simply a result of playing for the Red Wings.
There is talk in Hockeytown of possibly making Chris Osgood the starter for the playoffs because of his experience. While experience in the playoffs is important, how do you sit a hot goaltender like Conklin? For that matter, how can you tell Conklin "Thanks for all the hard work filling in for this guy while he sucked, but as for playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, well, forget that? You're back on the bench." Is that fair to do to someone?
Honestly, I don't know who the starter should be. Experience is important and I want to see Osgood regain his form, despite being a Sabres fan. However, can you really just throw him in there, disregard Conklin like that, and hope that Osgood is suddenly revitalized?
For that matter, what do they do next year? Do they keep Osgood and hope he was just having an off year, or sign someone new?
For those of you wondering why I did not include Conklin as an option for next season, he has a one-year deal and seems hell-bent on playing in every outdoor game there is, as he has played in and won all of the NHL's outdoor games, and will probably head wherever the next Winter Classic is scheduled to be.