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Osgood is deserving candidate

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – A trio of Red Wings sit atop the most current voting results that will decide the Western Conference’s starting roster for this season’s All-Star Game.

Unfortunately, the one player who is most deserving of making the All-Star Game isn’t even on this year’s ballot. Goalie Chris Osgood, perhaps the best feel good story in the league this season, has posted 13 wins in 15 decisions. But fans won’t find his name on the ballot.

“In my mind, he is an all-star,” said Henrik Zetterberg, who has received 175,270 votes. “He’s been playing really well for us. That stretch that we had with nine straight wins, a big part of that was him playing so well for us. Everything starts with the goalie and when he’s hot the team kind of plays better.”

Osgood, who turned 35 last month, has been stellar in relieving the Wings’ No. 1 netminder Dominik Hasek, who has battled through a hip injury this season.

Osgood is 13-1-1 and has a league-best 1.79 goal-against average and a conference-best .924 save percentage.

Five Red Wings – defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom (246,144 votes) and Brian Rafalski, forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk (134,661), and goalie Dominik Hasek on this year’s fan ballot. Fans have until January 2 to cast their votes for the starters of the January 27 game in Atlanta.

Lidstrom, who has won the Norris Trophy for five straight seasons as the league’s top defenseman, is the leading vote-getter among Western Conference players. Zetterberg and Datsyuk are second and fourth, respectively. Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf is in third place with 170,477 votes.

While the fans vote for the game’s starters, Osgood still has a very good chance at heading to Atlanta in late January. The league and commissioner Gary Bettman will finalize the Eastern and Western conference rosters.

“Has he played like an all-star?” Wings coach Mike Babcock asked. “Then he’s an all-star. That’s how I look at it, but that’s not how it works. The fans have a huge vote and history and all that type of stuff. I think it happens every year with guys that are having great individual years and sometimes they miss out.”

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