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March 22, 2003 - Osgood hopes 4th time a charm
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Osgood hopes 4th time a charm

March 22, 2003

BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The Red Wings have faced goaltender Chris Osgood three times since they unloaded him to make room for Dominik Hasek in September 2001. But he was playing for the Islanders then.

When the Wings face Osgood for the fourth time today, he will be playing for the Blues -- the five-points-behind-in-the-Central-Division Blues. That changes everything.

"It will be different, because this is such a rivalry and this is my first time on this side," said Osgood, who has gone 3-0 since the Blues acquired him at the trade deadline -- but is 0-2-1 against the Wings. "I'm excited for this chance. It's a rivalry and big game, and (having played for the Wings) only adds to it for me."

Osgood said he enjoyed playing against the Wings, and several said they would have fun playing against Osgood. "Once he gets his Blues jersey on, he's a St. Louis Blue, he's not a Detroit Red Wing," coach Dave Lewis said. "He's no longer Chris Osgood that we know, he's Chris Osgood that they have."

Said forward Kris Draper: "We're going to battle. He knows it." Draper and Osgood aren't just former teammates. They lived together before they were married and roomed together on the road, and they remain close -- which has led to some back-and-forth action between friends.

The first time the two faced each other, Draper passed off on a breakaway, and Osgood let him hear about it afterward. The second time, Draper scored two goals in a 2-1 victory and claimed bragging rights. The third time, Osgood stoned Draper on a breakaway with about a minute left in the third period and got payback.

After Osgood made his St. Louis debut last weekend, Draper gave him a call. "I can't wait to see that Blue note on your chest for the first time," Draper told Osgood. Will the two talk before this game? Draper left a message for Osgood on Thursday. "I put my call in," Draper said with a smile. "I just kind of threw it out there. The ball's in his court now. It'll be interesting to see what happens."

NOTEBOOK: The Wings issued a statement to fans who must cross the U.S.-Canada border to reach Joe Louis Arena: Due to heightened security, fans should allow extra travel time to and from games and ensure all members of their party have proof of citizenship.