Ninth in the Western Conference with 53 games left to play. I know it's still way too early to be worried, but it's unfamiliar territory. I know we're only one point out of a play-off spot and six points behind the Central Division leader, but the fact remains that we haven't had a firm grasp of a post-season spot all season. With nearly 30 games played, Chris Osgood realizes the challenge ahead of this team.
Ozzie told the Free Press this:
"For me, personally, I've got to get to the level I've been in the playoffs for this team right now. Last year we were so far ahead I didn't have to, but the position we're in now, I've got to get to that level now, and continue it through the rest of the regular season. I mean, we're going to get to a point here where there's 30 games left and it's going to be a dogfight. I've got to start stealing games and playing like I did in the playoffs."
Any animosity towards his young padawan learner? Howie has been playing better and better (with the Edmonton game the exception). But it doesn't look like Ozzie is angry about the kid getting more and more ice time:
"It's awesome for Jimmy. It was a blessing in disguise when I got sick and Jimmy got to go in and play real well. We're going to need Jimmy to be there. We've got a lot of games. I'm behind Jimmy 100%."
Remember how I talked about mental toughness? Well Ozzie has to be one of the most mentally-strong netminders in the game today. Let's see if Ozzie can turn into "STFU Ozzie" for a few games during the regular season this year.
Right now both goalies are showing decent records. But Howard's stats are actually a bit north of Ozzie's. Both could still be better.