Monthly Archives: July 2011

The book on Kindl

DETROIT – With the sudden retirement of Brian Rafalski and the Wings’ not wanting to bring back Ruslan Salei, defenseman Jakub Kindl just kept moving up the depth chart this offseason.

Then, Detroit began spending money prior to and during free agency.

First, the Wings re-signed Jonathan Ericsson (three years at $3.25 million a season) before he was able to test free agency.

Then, Ian White signed a two-year deal at $2.875 million a season.

Finally, Mike Commodore was added to the depth along the blue line, inking a one-year deal worth an even one million.

Kindl, who just completed his first full season in the NHL, looks as if he’ll once again be battling for ice time.

“I was really shocked when Raffi retired, I’m not going to lie,” Kindl said. “He had one-year left and he could still play. I didn’t expect that at all.

“I looked at that as an opportunity for me to play more in more situations for more minutes,” Kindl added. “I’m a year older with one more year of experience.”

Kindl, who has two years left on a deal that’s paying him $833,333 a year, was unable to beat out Salei in training camp and therefore found himself as the Wings’ seventh defenseman.

And Kindl didn’t exactly excel during his start to his seven games of the season. He was a minus-6.

He wound up appearing in 48 regular season games due to long-term injuries suffered by Rafalski and Brad Stuart. He had one goal and four assists and finished a minus-6, averaging just under 14 minutes of ice time.

As the season drew to the playoffs, Kindl did find himself in a battle with Salei for the sixth spot on defense which was eventually given to the veteran defenseman.

“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Kindl said. “Last year was a good experience and a huge challenge for me.”

Kindl, 24, was projected to be a highly skilled, puck-moving top-four defenseman when the Wings selected him 19th overall in 2005.

“The challenge for him is to find the confidence to be an NHL player,’’ Wings coach Mike Babcock said prior to the start of training camp. “There’s no question in my mind, or Kenny’s (general manager Holland) or Jimmy Nill’s (assistant GM) that he’s ready to play. But now, you got to decide you’re ready to play.

“He has a lot of things we think are important to play in the (NHL) on the back end,” Babcock added. “The ability to move the puck and he skates good. Now, the ball’s in his court. No one ahead of him is giving him a job. He’s fighting for ice time and more opportunity to play.”

Kindl’s game has improved.

In his first season in Grand Rapids he was prone to turnovers and made bad decisions with the puck. He finished that year a minus-34 rating and had just 17 points.

The next year he finished with 33 points and improved to a minus-14.

In his final year with the Griffins, he had another 33-point season and saw his plus/minus got to a minus-4 rating.

Babcock asked Kindl last year what he felt were his strengths and weaknesses. Kindl felt his weakness was his defensive play.

Babcock disagreed.

“He just needs to compete,” Babcock said. “When he competes real hard, he’s very good defensively. All you’ve got to do is look at all the great players and their competition levels are through the roof. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to be a good player.

“Competition level, drive and willingness to win battles leads to all the other things,” Babcock added. “Once you get confidence to do that and feel like you’re strong enough to do that, it’s amazing how the rest of your game and your hockey skills come out.”

Now, it’s back to battling for playing time with another veteran blue line.

“I don’t think about it,” Kindl said. “I know I can play. I’m only 24 and I hope I have a long future ahead of me. I’ll do whatever it takes to remain on this team and stay in this league.”

Kindl became a regular workout partner with Kris Draper, who retired on Tuesday.

“I saw how hard he worked as a 40-year-old,” Kindl said. “It was great. It kept me going.

“It was getting to the point where it looked like he was kicking my butt (working out) so I had to push it even harder,” Kindl added. “On the other hand, he was looking at me like a 24-year-old and he was trying to prove something to get better. We pushed each other. It was great for both of us.”

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How’s a “Grind Line” reunion sound?

— DETROIT

How’s a “Grind Line” reunion sound?

Joe Kocur is already working on it.

Kris Draper was the last of the Wings’ infamous “Grind Line” to call it a career, during a press conference Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Draper centered the original “Grind Line,” with Kirk Maltby and Kocur. Darren McCarty replaced Kocur after the 1998 season.

With “The Grind Line” consisting of three forwards, Kocur came up with a radical idea for the reunion of linemates.

“I’ll play defense,” Kocur laughed. “We’ve got to do that. That’s got to be our first big (Wings Alumni) game.

“I’ll need a good defense partner if I’m on defense,” Kocur added. “I might see if I can get (Larry) Murphy in for that game.”

The fourth line of forwards was formed by coach Scotty Bowman. They became so popular with fans they had souvenir shirts made up.

The job Draper, Maltby, McCarty and Kocur had to do each and every night was simple; wear down the opponent’s top lines and also from time to time chipping in goals.

“As players, we complemented each other well,” Maltby said. “Everyone brought a little something different to the table. We always had each other’s backs.

“Kris and I got us into some predicaments at times and Joey and Mac were always there,” Maltby added. “Didn’t matter who it was or who it was against, we always had each other’s backs. We loved playing with one another.”

McCarty and Kocur were the enforcers.

Maltby did anything he could to get under a player’s skin.

Draper made a living in the faceoff circle and was tenacious forechecker.

“I got traded the year before, Drapes got traded for a dollar and Joey came out of the beer league,” Maltby grinned. “Mac’s the only spoon-fed one. He got drafted and played one year in the minors. We all came from different ways and brought different things to the table. Somehow when we laced them up we jelled.

“We all have the same personalities for the most part, we enjoyed being around the guys, our line or the guys in general, we loved playing the game, just coming to the rink,” Maltby continued. “It was easy to play with them.”

According to Draper, former Wings trainer John Wharton came up with line’s nickname.

“It stayed together so long because of how much we liked playing together and the situations we played in,” Draper said. “In the ’97 finals, the starting line was myself, Mac and Malts. You don’t see that too often.

“For any player, when the coach has that much confidence in you and uses you in all different situations … at the end of the game your line can go out and take the key faceoff or going against another team’s top line,” Draper added. “How many times were we on the ice against (Joe) Sakic and (Peter) Forsberg in those battles? It was a huge thrill for us.

“We did a lot of stuff off the ice, hung out together, families hung out together,” Draper continued. “It was special playing with those guys. A lot of people still talk about ‘The Grind Line’ and it’s pretty cool, something the four of us are proud of.”

One of the most memorable “Grind Line” moments helped establish the rivalry between the Wings and the Colorado Avalanche.

During the ’96 Western Conference finals, Claude Lemieux hit Draper into the boards from behind. Draper suffered a broken jaw and cheekbone.

About a year later, McCarty jumped Lemieux during a regular season game in Detroit which started a brawl that featured Wings goalie Mike Vernon squaring off with Colorado netminder Patrick Roy.

The bad blood carried over into the next season, as another brawl ensued at the JLA, with Chris Osgood going toe-to-toe with Roy.

“You’d hop into a pile and there’d be pushing and shoving, I’d come in grab somebody or step in the way and the guy would say, ‘I’m going to (bleeping) kill Draper, Maltby is such a (expletive),” McCarty recalled. “I’d say, ‘I can’t agree with you more, but you’re not going to touch them now. You’ve got to deal with me. Joey was always the best because he’d come in and grab three at the same time, like little kids and say, ‘What are you guys doing?’ That made us that much tougher to play against.”

The line worked hard, played with passion and was willing to sacrifice to get the job done.

“We took so much pride in shutting down the other team’s top line and chipping in ourselves,” McCarty said. “Scotty showed tons of confidence, made us the players we are. The camaraderie and chemistry was there from Day 1, we were all really tight.

“’The Grind Line’ wasn’t just at the rink, it was away from the rink, we all hung out together,” McCarty added. “We’re all great friends to this day and it was so natural. We have some great memories.”

The Grind Line even has its own Wikipedia page.

“It was a line that could play against anybody, other team’s tough guys or top line because they were very responsible,” Murphy said. “You always felt comfortable when that line was on the ice.

“You look at any championship team, there are a lot of different elements you need to win and we had that grinding type of line that could play that type of hockey.

“Malts was a guy who was extremely effective in getting under people’s skin, Drapes was tremendous skater, tremendous forechecker, had the ability to create havoc, they always had to be aware when he was on the ice, the ability to turn pucks over, he was tough to play against. Mac and Joey brought a lot of toughness to the line.”

And because of it, Draper, Maltby and McCarty have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup four times.

“I didn’t even think about it (Monday) night that he’s the last of the Grind Line to go,” said Kocur, who won three Stanley Cups with the Wings, two as a player and another as a coach, and another as a member of the New York Rangers.

While nobody in Hockeytown will ever confuse “The Grind Line” with “The Production Line” they played a major role in helping end the Wings’ 42-year Stanley Cup drought.

And for that “The Grind Line” will be engraved in the memories of all that call Hockeytown their home.

UPDATE; Numbers drawn, no Commodore #64

DETROIT — The Wings have announced the numbers their offseason acquisitions will be wearing heading into training camp.

And unfortunately, defenseman Mike Commodore will not by wearing #64.

Commodore will be #22.

Here’s what Commodore posted on twitter.

“I guess word is out that I will be wearing 22 this year. It was a really tough decision that I went back and forth on many times. Wearing 64 would have been neat and cool, but I just didn’t feel like this was the right year to do it. In my opinion getting an opportunity to play in Detroit is a special thing, and I felt like I needed to wear a # that is special to me. 22 is that # for me. I really appreciate the interest and support the #64 generated, I wish @Commodore64 all the best with there computers, as a matter a fact I am going to order one when I get to Detroit, and I will get in touch with @wyshynski about the $64 pledges, and I will match it and donate money to charity. Which charity that is I don’t know yet, but I will figure it that out in (September) when I get to Detroit.”

Here are other jersey numbers:

Ian White — #18

Garnet Exelby — #3

Chris Conner — #41

Ty Conklin — #29

Draper ready for next stage of his career

DETROIT – For Kris Draper, getting up at 6:45 every morning this offseason to go to the gym was something he felt he needed to prepare for another season in the National Hockey League.

This morning, however, Draper has every reason to at least hit the snooze button on his alarm at least once.

Draper officially announced his retirement from the NHL Tuesday morning at Joe Louis Arena.

“I’ll be honest, probably the time I kind of knew it was over was on the golf trip to Scotland,” said Draper, who was on the trip with his teammates to celebrate Chris Osgood’s 400th win. “I talked to Henrik Zetterberg and said, ‘I think I might retire.’ We had a great talk. I talked to Ozzie.

Draper, 40, played 17 seasons in Detroit.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “If we’re moving forward as an organization these days have to come. The organization thinks there’s someone ready for a bigger role and a bigger responsibility.”

Draper is the third Red Wing to retire this offseason. Osgood announced his retirement last Tuesday, while defenseman Brian Rafalski walked away with one year remaining on a $6 million contract in late May.

“They no longer are the players on the ice that they once were, but they’re every bit as important in the locker room, and maybe even more as they ever were,” Holland said.

Draper, who suffered a groin injury on the first day of training camp last year and eventually had sports hernia surgery, played just 47 games last season and had six goals and five assists.

“It’s one of those things,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “I’m glad they’re able to go out on their own terms. It’s tough though to see guys retire that have meant so much to this organization, but we’ve got guys ready to take the next step.”

Draper had hoped to play another season with Detroit, but the Wings’ have a number of forwards under one-way contracts already. With the re-signing of Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, the Wings have 13 forwards signed to one-way deals for next season.

Rookie Cory Emmerton has a two-way deal, but he’s out of options so he can’t be sent back to Grand Rapids without first clearing waivers.

Holland said he’ll more than likely carry 14 forwards on the roster next season.

The NHL roster limit is 23, which is where the Wings, who are currently $6 million under this year’s salary cap, will be at if Emmerton makes the team.

“I tried to call as many people as I could,” Draper said. “I wanted them to hear it from me. The toughest thing for me was being a healthy scratch. I’m very proud, very competitive and when that happens, I’d like to think I handled it the right way, but it just burned inside that I wasn’t going to play.

“Seeing what happened this year, in one game and out the other, which I understand because we were so deep, but those are the kind of things going forward I didn’t know if I could mentally handle again.”

Last season, Kirk Maltby was faced with a similar situation.

Maltby signed a two-way contract just before camp opened. He did not make the team and was assigned to Grand Rapids.

Maltby instead decided to retire on Oct. 12.

“I’m just glad to be here for him today,” Maltby said. “It’s bittersweet because I lived this whole situation a year ago. I went to camp and decided afterwards. I think that was a tough part for him to decide if he wanted to do that or not. He wanted to go out on his terms and I don’t blame him. It’s going to be a good enjoyable summer for him.”

Draper centered the original Grind Line, with Maltby and Joe Kocur. Darren McCarty replaced Kocur after the 1998 season.

“It was great playing with him,” Maltby said. “He’s a great friend and a great teammate. I told him whatever decision he made it was going to be the right one.

“I’m glad he’s staying in the organization so I’ll still get to see him quite a bit,” Maltby added. “We’ll always have the memories, the pictures, the rings and the Cups to remember it. But everyone has to move on sooner or later.”

Draper has yet to be assigned a role within the organization, but it will be something on the management end.

“I asked him if he wanted to be on the coaching side or the managerial side and he was more interested in the managerial side,” Holland said. “Right now he needs experience. You don’t step from player into the pro ranks and start making decisions. He knows the NHL, but he doesn’t know the AHL, college or juniors.

“He needs to spend a year or two meeting people, building relationships, watching junior and college games,” Holland added. “And then as you gather information, as you gain experience, you’re more comfortable in being involved. Sit in the pro scouting meetings, sit in the amateur meetings and sit at the draft. See how the process works from this side.”

Holland sees Draper as an assistant general manager or even a general manager sometime down the road.

“I think he’s going to be a fabulous executive,” Holland said. “He needs to build relationships, get an understanding of how an organization works.”

Draper was a third-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 1989 (62nd overall), but played just 20 games over parts of three seasons in Winnipeg.

Former Wings assistant general manager Doug MacLean got Draper from the Jets on June 30, 1993 for future considerations, which wound up being a dollar.

“I never thought that I would get a player at the cost of a smoothie at McDonald’s, but it happened,” team owner Mike Ilitch joked.

In 1,157 games, 1,137 of which were played in a Wings jersey, Draper had 161 goals and 203 assists.

Draper ranks fifth on the Wings’ all-time list for games played, behind only Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio and Nicklas Lidstrom.

“Playing in 1,000 games is something I’m proud of, but playing in 1,000 games as a Red Wing is something I’m really proud of,” Draper said. “When you see the list and the company that I’m in, you kind of shake your head at it. The other thing I’m most proud of is the playoff games played. A buddy said I’m ninth all-time.”

Draper is second on the Wings’ all-time list for most playoff games played (222). Lidstrom tops the list.

He is also just one of five players to be on the Detroit’s four most-recent Stanley Cup championship teams (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008). Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Maltby and McCarty are the others.

“I’m going to miss everything about it,” Draper said. “For sure I’m going to have those days of wanting to play, miss going to lunch and being on the road with the guys. That’s everything I enjoyed. But I’m still going to be around the game and be here. I was given a tremendous opportunity by Kenny Holland and Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch.”

Draper won the Selke Trophy in the 2003-04 season as NHL’s top defensive forward. He recorded career highs in goals (24) and points (40) despite playing only 67 games due to a late-season shoulder injury.

“Most memorable goal was in the ’98 Stanley Cup finals,” said Draper, who scored in overtime of Game 2 against the Washington Capitals. “I’ll never forget, to be able to score a big goal like that in the Stanley Cup finals. It put us up 2-0.

“Personally, winning the Selke is something I’m proud of, to have my name on the same trophy as Bob Gainey, Pavel Datsyuk, Steve Yzerman,” Draper added. “I’m glad I was able to win before Pav decided to dominate.”

Draper calls it a career

DETROIT – With perhaps one more season of hockey left in him, Kris Draper instead decided to retire from the National Hockey League.

“This is something I’ve thought long and hard about,” Draper said during a press conference at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday morning. “It’s the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make because I love this game so much and I love being a Red Wing.”

Draper, 40, played 17 seasons in Detroit.

Draper had hoped to play another season with Detroit, but the Wings’ have a number of forwards under one-way contracts already.

With the re-signing of Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, the Wings have 13 forwards signed to one-way deals for next season.

Rookie Cory Emmerton has a two-way deal, but is out of options so therefore can’t be sent back to Grand Rapids without first clearing waivers.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said he will more than likely carry 14 forwards on the roster next season.

“Kris made a decision that it’s time,” Holland said Tuesday. “He didn’t want to come to training camp and be in a competition. He didn’t want there and become a distraction.

“People look at our team and they think we’ve done all this winning because of skill,” Holland added. “Skill is apart of, I’m more impressed with the character, sacrifice and all the intangibles our players have. Probably part of Kris Draper’s was this is probably good for the organization.”

Draper will stay in the organization in a role and a title yet to be determined.

Draper is the third Wing to retire this season. Long-time teammate retired last Tuesday, while Brian Rafalski retired in late May.

He’s also the last member of the Wings’ infamous Grind Line to call it a career.

He centered the original Grind Line, with Kirk Maltby and Joe Kocur. Darren McCarty replaced Joe Kocur after the 1998 season.

Draper was not interested in coming to training camp on a tryout or signing a two-way deal.

The NHL roster limit is 23, which is where the Wings are at as well.

The Wings are also currently just under $6 million under the salary cap.

“Anytime you leave something as much as he does, some of the reason you’re leaving is because of the best interests of the organization,” Holland said. “It’s not all about him. That’s why we’ve won.”

Last season, Maltby was in the same situation.

Maltby signed a two-way contract just before camp opened last year and wound up not making the team and was going to be assigned to Grand Rapids.

Maltby announced his retirement on Oct. 12.

Draper suffered a groin injury at training camp last year and eventually needed to have sports hernia surgery.

He played just 47 games last season and had six goals and five assists.

Draper was a third-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 1989 (62nd overall), but played just 20 games over parts of three seasons for the Jets.

Former Wings assistant general manager Doug MacLean got Draper from the Jets on June 30, 1993 for future considerations, which wound up being a dollar.

In 1,157 games, 1,137 of which were played in a Wings jersey, Draper had 161 goals and 203 assists.

Draper ranks fifth on the Wings’ all-time list for games played, behind only Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Draper is also just one of five players to be on the Detroit’s four most-recent Stanley Cup championship teams (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008). Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Maltby and McCarty are the others.

Draper is second on the Wings’ all-time list for most playoff games played (222). Lidstrom tops the list.

Draper won the Selke Trophy in the 2003-04 season as NHL’s top defensive forward. He recorded career highs in goals (24) and points (40) despite playing only 67 games due to a late-season shoulder injury.

Draper to announce retirement Tuesday

DETROIT — The Wings have scheduled a press conference at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday at 11 a.m. where Kris Draper and general manager Ken Holland will be present.

A source has confirmed that Draper has announce his retirement.

Draper, 40, played 17 seasons in Detroit.

Draper’s retirement announcement comes just a week after Chris Osgood decided to hang it up as well.

“I don’t want to go to camp on a tryout,” Draper said last week. “I’ve played through many scenarios. I’m going to do what’s best for my family. I’m just going to listen to Kenny and then I’ll talk to my family and go from there.”

Last season, Kirk Maltby was in the same situation.

The Wings offered him a one-year, two-way contract, which really meant he was fighting to just make the team at training camp.

Maltby did not make and wound up retiring on Oct. 12.

“He’s a Detroit Red Wing and he wants to stay a Detroit Red Wing,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said last week. “He he loves Detroit, but we have 13 or 14 forwards.”

With the re-signing of Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, the Wings have 13 forwards signed to one-way contracts for next season.

Rookie Cory Emmerton has a two-way deal, but is out of options so therefore can’t be sent back to Grand Rapids without first clearing waivers.

Holland has said he will more than likely carry 14 forwards on the roster next season. The roster limit is 23.

“We have cap space, but it’s really about a roster spot,” Holland said. “If he plays another year his role will be diminishing.

“We need young players to push for ice time and eventually take over older player’s jobs,” Holland added. “If that’s not happening, we’re not doing our job.”

Draper suffered a groin injury at training camp last year and eventually needed to have sports hernia surgery.

He played just 47 games last season and had six goals and five assists.

“We need to continue to work more young people onto the team,” Holland said. “You have to draft, develop and stick to the plan. Our plan is to slowly move more and more young people onto the team. I always hear about the old Red Wings and how we have older players. We’re not the old Red Wings.

“There will always be change,” Holland added. “It’s necessary. It’s good. We want an older element to our team. If you want to contend for the Stanley Cup, there has to be an older element.”

Draper was acquired by the Wings for just a dollar.

Former Wings assistant general manager Doug MacLean got Draper from the Winnipeg Jets on June 30, 1993 for future considerations, which wound up being a dollar.

In 1,157 games, Draper had 161 goals and 203 assists.

Draper won four Stanley Cups with the Wings.

Osgood’s numbers makes him a lock for Hockey Hall of Fame

DETROIT — Wings general manager Ken Holland ended his opening statement during Chris Osgood’s retirement announcement on Tuesday with, “Again, my congratulations to Chris on what I believe is a Hall of Fame career.”

Let the debate begin.

— First, an opening statement from the HOF hopeful.

“It would mean a lot to me,” Osgood said. “I personally think, because I know what I’ve had to do to get to where I’ve been at over the years, I feel like I deserve to be in.

“It’s never easy to play goalie for any team in the (NHL). It’s a tough position, no matter if your team is good or bad,” Osgood added. “You still have to make the saves and compete and deal with the pressures. You have to make the plays when they are needed most.

“During the playoffs I think I’ve done that,” Osgood continued. “That’s what is more important to me. Getting into the Hall of Fame means the world to me. If I said it didn’t, I’d be kidding myself and lying to you guys. Hopefully one day it happens.”

— Second, numbers that prove Osgood should be in the HOF, provided by Wings statistician Greg Innis.

1. There are 32 players currently enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame who played exclusively as a goaltender in the NHL or its fore-runners (PCHL or NHA). Only seven of those 32 (Patrick Roy, Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall, Ed Belfour and Grant Fuhr) have won more games than Osgood.

2. Osgood currently has 50 regular-season shutouts to his credit. Only 15 of those HOF goalies have more.

3. Osgood had just one regular season in which he finished with a record below .500. That was 2009-10, when he posted a 7-9-4 record. Of those goalies in the HOF, only three can make that claim (Ken Dryden, Bill Durnan and Roy).

4. Osgood has been on three Stanley Cup winning teams. Twenty of the goalies in the HOF have been on less.

5. In the playoffs, Osgood has won 74 games. Only five HOF netminders have won more (Roy, Fuhr, Billy Smith, Dryden and Belfour).

6. Osgood has recorded 15 postseason shutouts. Only Roy (23) has more among goalies in the HOF.

7. Of the 10 netminders who reached the 400-win plateau, only Martin Brodeur did it quicker (720 games, compared to Osgood’s 742).

— Third, a long-time teammate makes a case for Osgood.

“In ‘98 when we won the Cup, a lot of people were questioning if he could be a No. 1 goalie to win a Cup and he proved everybody wrong,” Kris Draper said. “(2008) was special for everybody, the way he handled the situation. He told all of us, ‘I’m ready if I get the call.’ He went on an unbelievable tear, solidified what a clutch goaltender he was and how he could win a big game. It’s something he didn’t get enough credit for.

“Anyone who’s played with him believes he’s a Hall of Fame goaltender, no questions asked,” Draper added. “The way he should be remembered is as a clutch performer. He always made the big save when he had to make the big save. He’s a Hall of Fame goaltender. To put up 400 wins and be in the Top 10, he should be very proud.”

— Fourth, Holland’s second chance to impress the selection committee.

“He has the 10th most wins in the history of the National Hockey League,” Holland said. “You think about all the great goaltenders. When you’re in the Top 10 of anything that’s been around 90 to 100 years it’s pretty special.

“People will say that he played on good teams and use that has a reason why he isn’t,” Holland added. “My response would be, most of the guys ahead of him on the list also played on good teams and if it’s so easy everyone would be doing it. It’s not easy winning 400 games and two Stanley Cups (as a starter), I don’t know the list but I’m sure it’s not a long list. It’s difficult playing on a real good team. Some goaltenders are good with it and some struggle with it. He has survived dealing with all that pressure.

I love his ability to bounce back.”

During Osgood’s conference call, he said he didn’t start thinking about the HOF until after winning the Cup in 2008.

“I’m not sure if I’ve done enough, but I’ve given it my best shot,” Osgood said. “To me, I hope I get in there. I hope people think I deserve to be in there.”

Osgood’s candidacy will be a hot topic leading up to the first year he can get on the ballot, 2014, and will probably continue to be bantered about until he either is elected or the date passes when no one really cares.

Like I’ve said before, in my mind the debate ended that Monday night in Colorado when he won his 400th game.

So again, congrats Chris Osgood, enjoy your retirement and get that speech prepared for once you are elected to go into to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

You have definitely earned it.