The Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday that they were giving goaltender Chris Osgood a ten day mental breather. Later that day, Ty Conklin started in goal in the Wings 5-2 victory over Anaheim with Jimmy Howard backing him up. Osgood did not travel with the team to Minnesota. Instead, he stayed back to practice with goaltending coach Jim Bedard. Howard got the start in Minnesota.
"Jimmy's playing as well as he has probably at any point in his four-year (AHL) career and it's an opportunity for Chris to have 10 days to get a mental breather and clear his mind and work with (goaltending coach) Jim Bedard,'' Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "We need him to be at his best. We played him lots. When you get into bad habits early in the year, it just snowballs. My feeling is 10 days with no games, get his head cleared, work on his game and the hope is he gets back to where he was last year.''
As I am a PR intern for the Wings, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment on this particular situation. I will say that I have been impressed with Conks this season so if he is our starter in the playoffs, I'm not going to be stressed out about goaltending (well, moreso than I normally would - goaltending is always stressful in the postseason). Since I don't want to comment on this issue, I will quote and link what some other bloggers are saying about it so you can get a feel for the opinions going around the blogosphere.
IwoCPO at Abel to Yzerman:
How’s your stress level today? Yeah? Great. Well...consider that number. 23 games left in the regular season and we really have no clue who the goalie’s going to be to start Round 1. And even better? No matter who it is there’s going to be a pretty damn good reason to feel pretty frigging nervous.
You know Chris Osgood by now. You’ve watched him play hockey for fifteen years. You’ve seen him struggle so badly in huge games that the mere thought of him starting the next one was unrealistic. But he did and he surprised us. More than once. But this isn’t bouncing back from a bad goal. This is putting an entire season of flat-out terrible play behind you. Completely behind you. So far behind that you literally give up less than four or five bad goals over a period of almost two months and about twenty five pressure-packed playoff games.
Do you think Chris Osgood’s capable, mentally, of doing that? Seriously? If you say so…
George Malik at Snapshots:
Howard has to clear waivers to be sent down to Grand Rapids next year, so the Red Wings have to see how he will perform in the NHL sooner than later...And as he has yet to win a game at the NHL level, this is his one opportunity to strut his stuff. It was going to happen, and with three full days off after Saturday's game in Minnesota, this is the perfect time to give Howard a start.
Matt Saler at On The Wings:
This does not mean Osgood is effectively done. It means the Wings want a look at Jimmy and this happens to be a convenient time to get it. Osgood’s troubles provide an excuse to call Jimmy up, not a problem to which Howard is the solution.
Trisha and Lindsay at Hockeytown Static:
Osgood is taking some time off for what George Sipple is calling a 'mental breather'. George sounded a little upset that Ozzie didn't want to talk to him after practice the other day. I don't know. If I were him, I wouldn't want to talk to George Sipple right now either. The indication is that he'll get the start next Wednesday, against San Jose. I know it's been said that he plays his best under pressure to prove himself, but now that game is making me nervous. Not least of all because I won't actually be able to watch the first half of it.
Find-your-happy-place-mantra of the day, courtesy of Ken Holland - "the playoffs don't start today." And I can use that to assuage my raging hockey-panic for another month and a half.
Lost in a lot of discussion on whether or not Chris Osgood is going to be able to pull it together by the end of the season (and I'm pretty sure he'll pull it together eventually, but I don't know when) is Howard.
James Mirtle at From The Rink:
The only reason in my mind that Conklin hasn't been given more of a shot is Osgood's terrific run in the playoffs last season, but Detroit needs to focus on gearing up for the postseason this year. Sticking with Osgood when he's in a rut this deep will lead to an early exit.
My bet is that Conklin's their man this April.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy:
None of this should be seen as a slight to Ty Conklin, who's been great for the Wings. This is a moment of unabashed loyalty to a veteran player who's earned it, despite his struggles this season. (Which, again, brings the entire situation in unique juxtaposition with the Gainey/Kovalev benching; why does one feel like loyalty and the other feel like extreme scape-goating and threatening?)
Earlier this season, some Wings fans were downplaying the entire goalie controversy, but it's now become a rather furious point of contention. It's like that dopey book that had half the readers wearing T-shirts in the hopes the girl ended up with the werewolf and the other half hoping it was the vampire. (We refused to read the series because of its complete lack of pop-up elements and/or dinosaurs.)