Lessons from Ozzie

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs2008/columns/story?columnist=frei_terry&id=3386495

Great article from Denver’s Terrry Frei on Chris Osgood as he and the Wings enter Round 3.

When Hasek was getting the starts, was Osgood feeling sorry for himself? Nope. He explains in the article he was-

“”just doing the right things in practice with [goaltending coach] Jim Bedard and staying ready. Even when I wasn’t playing, I felt confident, even before I went in, that I could do the job. Just being ready, so I wasn’t standing there doubting myself whatsoever …”

When sitting the bench, did Osgood sulk and assume his coach was not being fair? No chance. As he states above, he worked with the team’s goalie coach on his game to make sure when his chance came, he was ready.

An additional benefit to working hard in practice is a natural boost in confidence – a vital component to any successful goaltender.

When a goalie consistency works hard in practice by competing for every puck, naturally the goalie’s ability improves which, of course, leads to increased confidence. This is not rocket science… As I tell all my goalies, “how you perform in practice will dictate how you play in games.” Ozzie knows this and used practice as a confidence booster even when he knew he would not be playing.

So, if you are riding the pine for a few games, step up your practices – they will lead to the starts you want.

Also impressive from the article, Osgood’s willingness to learn a new tactic to stay in the game. As many say, “you can’t teach and old dog new tricks.” Well, Osgood proves that wrong.  Seeing his long career ending, Osgood went back-to-the-drawing-board to learn the butterfly to combine with his stand-up style. After being paid millions of dollars throughout his NHL career, Osgood could have taken the easier path (as most people would) and played another 1-2 years and retire. But, he has a burning desire to be one of the best and knew he had to incorporate new tactics to stay in the game. He worked hard and now is making saves (I saw several tonight) through his butterfly he may not have made a few years ago.

NET LESSON

The willingness to work hard and try new things has kept Chris Osgood in the NHL and he is now in a position to help get his team to the NHL Stanley Cup. As a goalie you should never immediately dismiss anything to could help you save the puck – it could end up helping you save pucks.

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