Detroit's deficit in net?

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

For the Detroit Red Wings, it's a yearly debate.

Their goaltending always seems to come into question heading into the playoffs.

This season, there are concerns once again as Chris Osgood and Ty Conklin, have at times, made an adventure out of stopping pucks.

"We have every bit of confidence in either one of our goalies," Red Wings winger Kirk Maltby said yesterday.

"It's sports, and people are going to say what they want, regardless of how things are going. It doesn't matter what position you play or who you are, it's always 'What have you done for me lately?' Rightfully so or not, it's just the nature of the beast."

Last night, Conklin got the start against the Edmonton Oilers. It's the second time he's played his former team at Rexall Place.

"There is a lot of different faces over there," Conklin said. "It's been a while since I've played here; I've played with three different teams since then.

"But I had a great time here, I really enjoyed it. The last time I played here, I was with Columbus and we got beat pretty handily. But when I was here with the Oilers, I had some good times."

Conklin was expected to get the start after the Red Wings lost Monday night in Calgary.

The former Oiler got in some unexpected work against the Flames as Osgood struggled in the 5-3 loss, giving up three bad goals before he was pulled.

The poor performance renewed concerns heading into this post-season about the team's goaltending. It's something Osgood has been through before.

As a rookie, Osgood was nearly run out of town when he took the brunt of the blame for an early playoff exit.

He was then not given his share of credit when he backstopped the team to a Stanley Cup championship.

"Ozzie has the perfect temperament when it comes to playing here," Maltby said. "He doesn't let things bother him, he just goes out and plays, keeps adding wins. He's got Stanley Cups, and as a teammate that's all you can ask of him."

Osgood is not the only Wings goaltender to be given a rough ride in Detroit.

It seems to be an annual rite of passage.

Even last season when they went on to win the Stanley Cup, Dominik Hasek was the team's starter, but quickly lost his job in the playoffs.

"I think with the goalies, it's partially a Detroit thing," Maltby said. "I remember when I got here in 1996, it always seemed like the first target on the map was the goaltending, which is wrong, but that's just the way it is.

"In football it's the quarterback. There is always one that seems to get a little more heat from the media and fans, but everyone is professional about it. We're all men here, and as an organization we know who is capable of what and we take responsibility as a team."

The goaltending carousel never seems to cease with the Red Wings.

Last season Osgood was around to bail out Hasek, who in turn had taken over from Manny Legace, the scapegoat in 2006 when they lost to the Oilers in the opening round of the playoffs.

"We had Dom (Hasek) that first year when he came in, won the Stanley Cup, then he was one and done," Maltby said. "Then Cujo (Curtis Joseph) came in and played well, and I don't think he was the reason why we didn't go far. I don't think our goaltending, since I've been here, has ever been the reason why we didn't win a game or a series."

Legace didn't last long after losing the series to the Oilers. The Red Wings did not re-sign him and he eventually moved on to the St. Louis Blues.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos