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December 18, 2002 - Osgood chills with friendly foes
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Osgood chills with friendly foes

December 18, 2002

BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- More than 14 months have passed since the Islanders claimed Chris Osgood from the Red Wings in the waiver draft. But, in many ways, he's still one of the boys.

Osgood went to a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with former teammates Kris Draper, Manny Legace and Darren McCarty on Monday night. Tuesday morning, he stopped in to see Wings coach Dave Lewis and stood in the hallway laughing with Draper. "To me, it's just another game against my friends," Osgood said before facing the Wings on Tuesday night. "I just have fun playing against them."

Osgood closely watched the Wings' playoff run. He returned to his Detroit-area home after Game 1 of the Western Conference finals; he said he thought about coming down to Joe Louis Arena but decided not to, because he didn't want to bother anybody, and he gained a new perspective on Detroit playoff hockey. He returned to his summer place in Vernon, British Columbia, after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals; that's where he watched the Wings lift the Cup without him.

"Wished I was there," Osgood said, "but I was happy to see them win."

Although he didn't attend any Cup parties, Osgood saw some of the Wings in the off-season. On the golf course, Draper never mentioned that he scored twice on Osgood in the Wings' 2-1 victory Nov. 2 last season. "He was afraid to," Osgood said, smiling. "I bulked up in the summer."

FEDOROV FINED: The NHL fined center Sergei Fedorov $1,000, the maximum under the collective bargaining agreement, for his hit on Minnesota defenseman Willie Mitchell last Thursday night. Fedorov left his feet and drilled Mitchell into the end boards in the final minute of the Wings' 3-2 loss. Mitchell suffered a concussion and is out indefinitely. Asked if he thought the hit was clean, Fedorov said: "I don't know. It's hard for me to judge. I know my intentions were just to take the body and strip the puck out because it was important -- last part of the game." Fedorov said he didn't mean to leave his feet. "I don't think I jumped," he said. "I gained a lot of speed and skated sideways into the check, so maybe that's why my feet were a little bit off the ice."

NOTEBOOK: Defenseman Jesse Wallin left in the second period with a hyperextended left elbow but returned in the third. . . . Defenseman Patrick Boileau and forward Jason Williams were healthy scratches. . . . "Motor City Mitten Madness" is back for the ninth straight year. At Thursday night's game against Dallas and at Saturday night's game against the New York Rangers, the Wings will collect gloves, hats, scarves and other winter wear for distribution to Detroit-area homeless shelters and warming centers. Each donor will have a chance to win merchandise autographed by McCarty.