Archive for July, 2011

Draper Retiring

Disappointing, but expected news today: Kris Draper’s calling it a career tomorrow after being forced out of a spot with the Wings by youth.

Put bluntly, this sucks. Draper is not what he once was, but as the Wings get less finesse-reliant on the backend and more angled toward speed and physicality on the front-end, I’m wondering if we aren’t going to regret letting him go while holding on to a player that increasingly doesn’t look like he fits on this team: Jiri Hudler. As big a soft-spot as I have for Huds, I would gladly take a two-pick trade in exchange for him and keep Draper. He’d likely be a better fit elsewhere and shipping him out would relieve us of some of his drag.

But, unfortunately, we’re keeping Hudler and losing a hard-core leader of men. As well as a monster playoff beard.

The guys who are more directly being tapped to step into Draper’s role have big shoes to fill.

Welcome Back, Conks

Ty Conklin is back in red-and-white for one year, reportedly for less than $1 million. Conklin’s numbers last year weren’t super great through 20 games, but playing behind a tighter defense and more puck possession-oriented team should help him address that. He just needs to spell Jimmy regularly, and his prior stint with the Wings demonstrated he can manage that, so no worries.

With Osgood’s body breaking him down into retirement, this is the next best outcome.

It’s Official: Osgood Retires

I  have the press release in my inbox and tweets from the conference call confirming it. Chris Osgood is hanging them up after 17 seasons.

I’ve felt most of this off-season that a retirement was probably his smartest choice, but that doesn’t mean I was prepared in some ways for this day. Chris Osgood has been the goalie in Detroit for most of my time as a fan. This retirement marks the end of an era. The fact that another year would have been a diservice to both himself and the team doesn’t change the sense of loss from closing such a successful chapter of Detroit hockey history. It’s not the way I would have chosen for him to go out, but the ideal wasn’t possible.

I’m kind of at a loss for words.

There are so many memories associated with Osgood,  but a couple stand out: his 2-0 shutout of Dallas in Game 6 of the ’98 WCF following his surrendering of the Langenbrunner lob, and his irritated interview following Game 1 of the 2009 playoffs. He had higher highs than that, but those two moments epitomize his best qualities: the mental toughness and inner belief that led to his standing strong against a ton of pressure.

Thanks for the memories, Ozzie. See you around.

Khan: Osgood Retiring

Khan has it from a source, and his quotes from Osgood’s agent seem to back up that story. However, there are conflicting reports out there. The “Osgood’s retiring” angle seems to have the most steam at the moment, though.

According to Khan, Oz will take a spot with the organization working with young goalies in the system, which would be a perfect job for him.

Khan also says the Wings should be signing Ty Conklin this week, which jives with what I was getting at yesterday with the timing of this announcement: it’s aimed at getting the new #2 locked up.

More if/when it’s official.

Osgood Conference Call Tomorrow

So says the official Twitter account. What’s your guess? I’d say it’d be a little weird to announce he’s re-signing by conference call except that, as @riceadam reminded me, Nick announced his return by one (the day of). But Osgood’s not Lidstrom. Seems like a press release could have served for a returning backup. But if they’re announcing he’s retiring, and maybe taking a position with the team, going above and beyond a release makes more sense.

Paul points out that Kenny’s on vacation (so, for that matter, is Osgood), so that at least explains the fact that it’s a call rather than an in-person press conference. Just speculating, but it may be that they’d want to get him announced as retired immediately rather than wait until their vacations are over, while on the other hand, a re-signing could have waited. Who knows, though.

If he is coming back, though, we can all stop saying “if he’s healthy.” He wouldn’t be coming back if he weren’t healthy enough to at least start the season. What happens after that is anybody’s guess, but the Wings aren’t going to  bring him back just because he wants to unless he checks out physically.