Chris Osgood knew full well that the Videotron Center corridor down which his young team, the Detroit Red Wings, walked had been walked on several times. Patrick Roy, the man against whom he had one of the most memorable battles in NHL history, will soon be 26 years old.
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On April 1, 1998, in one of the defining moments in the massive rivalry between the Red Wings and Avalanche, Osgood and Roy dropped gloves and punched each other in front of a cheering crowd at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The scene clearly left an impression, judging by the blog posts fans are still writing about it. Not to mention the fact that ESPN produced a documentary about the great rivalry between the two teams, and that reconstructions of the fight can be found on the web… in Lego blocks.
His mother and wife were unable to go
So we might think the head coach of the mighty little Red Wings would be tired of hearing about this famous duel, but he was the first to utter the words “Patrick” and “Roy,” shortly before his team lost 4-0. Losing to the Adirondack Wings in the Quebec Pee-Wee Championship on Monday.
“I didn't want my wife [Jenna] “There was a lot of animosity,” the former goalie said, when asked specifically about the rivalry between the city that welcomed the Nordiques after their departure from Quebec, and Detroit. “When we attended the games between our two teams, there was a lot of animosity.”
He continued: “Neither my mother.” She had to go there once, but I ended up fighting with Patrick Roy in the previous match… Moreover, I know he led the Remparts here for a long time.
A photo of the signature
For those wondering: The two men buried the hatchet long ago. Osgood wouldn't go so far as to say they “became friends,” but the two goalkeepers have had some opportunities to speak since then.
Particularly in 2013, when Osgood interviewed Roy for Bally Sports Detroit, at a time when the four-time Stanley Cup goaltender was leading the Avalanche.
The interview in English is available here
He added: “We were fierce competitors, but our relationship developed over time.” We've also spoken on a few occasions since this interview.
He praised him, saying: “He is one of the best goalkeepers ever.”
And Osgood has a small request from Roy. But no, this is not revenge!
He even has a picture he would like to sign if the opportunity arises. “Maybe in New York one day!” He added, smiling.
“Good for hockey”
Of course, the Red Wings' young head coach has heard a lot about this battle since he set foot in Quebec a few days ago.
“I love it,” he confirms. It's part of people's memories, and I love meeting people and talking to them. He was good at hockey.”
Chris Osgood hadn't set foot in Quebec since his only encounter against the Nordiques, in 1993. But the former Red Wings goaltender well remembered that game Monday at Coliseum-Pepsi Arena, just a few steps from the Videotron Centre.
“I was 20,” he says. I was nervous! I didn't get a chance to visit at the time, but I always wanted to come back here. I'm Canadian, so I love it. I'm having a really good time.”
“It was only my second match [à l’étranger]Adds Osgood, now 51 years old. The first was against the Maple Leafs. So that was huge for me! They had Joe Sakic, and the goalie was Jocelyn Thibault.
At that time, he had no idea that many members of this franchise would become his arch enemies once they arrived in Colorado. He was also a long way from imagining that he would return to Quebec, nearly 30 years later, to lead a “Pee Wee” version of the Red Wings.
Detroit in the heart
But it's clear that Ozzie and Detroit have built a great love story from his 13 seasons with the Wings, and since his son Max – a defenseman – is part of the Red Wings Jr. program, he wouldn't turn down the opportunity to lead a team wearing jerseys. Embroidered with the famous red wing.
Nor catch an octopus on the ice, as that Red Wings tradition carries over to the Pee-Wee Championship.
“I wanted to give back to hockey,” he explains. I've been in Detroit for 31 years, and I'm thrilled to be leading these boys who are proud to represent the city.