DETROIT -- He's the reason Detroit Red Wings fans started chewing their fingernails in unison last week, when it was announced that veteran goalie Chris Osgood was being put on long-term injured reserve.
Without the 38-year old Osgood -- who's won three Stanley Cups with Detroit -- it means that 31-year old Joey MacDonald will back up starter Jimmy Howard until at least April 8, when Osgood will first be eligible to return.
In reality, MacDonald might be around through the playoffs if Osgood's surgically-repaired groin doesn't heal enough in time -- which leaves MacDonald just one serious injury away from starting full-time.
You can imagine the anxiety level, then, this past Saturday at Joe Louis Arena when Howard left a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period with a shoulder injury. Even Howard was worried until an MRI confirmed that it was just a minor shoulder sprain.