ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Chris Osgood played less than a season and a half in St. Louis between 2002-04, but in that short time he believes two St. Louis defenders on that 2002-03 team are among the best in the NHL of all-time.
Osgood was traded to St. Louis from the New York Islanders late in the 2002-03 season. The No. 1 defensive pairing at that time for the Blues was Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis, and Osgood says he didn’t realize how good they were until he had played with them.
But now believes those two, are on the same page with a seven time winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy, given to the best defender of the season:
“I’ll put them right with Nick Lidstrom everyday,” Osgood says. “Nick Lidstrom was a great defenseman and that’s not taking anything away from him obviously. But Chris Pronger was a great player, and Al MacInnis, their first passes, how good they were defensively, the respect they commanded and they could also add offensively. There are very few players in the league, ever, that could make a difference in a game and dictate a game and Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger are both those players.”
The Blues were 41-24-11-6 that season, second in the Central Division, and played the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs. And Osgood believed that team really had the talent and leadership, starting with MacInnis, to win the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, with a 3-1 lead in the series, the Blues lost the final three games and were eliminated.
As close to a title as he may have been in St. Louis, Osgood will always be known as a Detroit Red Wings goalie, with three Stanley Cups in 14 seasons with Detroit. But he says he loves to tell his home town friends all the stories about Pronger, who Detroit guys don’t like and MacInnis, who they really don’t know.
But Osgood says one of the biggest things he took away from his short time in St. Louis, was how much the town wants a Stanley Cup trophy.
He described the atmosphere of a a first-round NHL playoff series inside the Savvis Center, later to be named Scottrade Center, as ‘unbelievable.’
“It was like wow, what if we would have went to the second or the third round? What would it have been like in the city of St. Louis downtown? It would have been crazy and that was something we missed out on.”
And Osgood admits he still is a Blues fan.
“When I’m watching my T.V., I cheer for St. Louis. Sure I do,” Osgood says. “And I hope one day they get to the final, and hopefully win it for not only the fans in St. Louis and the city the players that have been there for a while as well.”
You can hear the entire interview with Osgood during the second intermission report during Thursday night’s Blues game against Detroit. Listen to the game live on KMOX.com/listen.
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