Friday, July 07, 2006

Stuck In A Time Warp: Belfour, Hasek Again Options For Red Wings

In the late 1960's, the St. Louis Blues, NHL neophytes, employed as their goaltending tandem Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall. Each was in his 40's. But hold the Geritol. Plante/Hall led the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals. Such a nice effort for their young coach. His name was Scotty Bowman.

Today the Red Wings are in search of a goaltender. The same refrain. The club bid adieu to Manny Legace, telling him that he was free to shop his services around the league, as of July 1st. The polite firing.

The search has only been half completed. Chris Osgood will be back, but he's not being regarded as the #1 goalie. Another repeated refrain. Indications are the search's second half will be wrapped up with the signing of 41 year-old Ed Belfour.

Osgood is going to be 34 before the end of the 2006-07 season. A Belfour/Osgood two-headed goalie would give the Red Wings 75 years worth of age in net. Close to the amount of years of Plante/Hall.

Still, no Geritol. But you might want to invest in Doan's Pills, and whatever OTC groin medication is out there nowadays.

Belfour is coming off major back surgery, and a lousy season. Osgood is still recovering from a groin injury, and a so-so season.

Two significant injuries, two seasons not worth a hill of beans. Yet this might be the duo that GM Kenny Holland commits himself to for next season.

Belfour was in town the other day, taking a physical. A strenuous one, by all accounts. He passed.

Hurdle One cleared.

Naturally, Belfour says he "feels great." He can't wait to get back onto the ice, presumably to prove to everyone that there's still some goaltending left in his tank. The usual things you say when you're selling yourself to a potential suitor.

In 2002, after Dom Hasek retired, the Red Wings had their choice of Curtis Joseph and Belfour as replacements. Joseph was the expensive one. Belfour was the cheaper and, supposedly, inferior one.

Belfour had a wonderful season. Joseph struggled at times, then presided over a four-game sweep at the hands of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the first round of the 2003 playoffs.

Now Belfour is an option for the Red Wings again. And so is Hasek, apparently.

The buzz is that Hasek intrigues Holland, so much so that the Dominator might get a look-see as well.

Hasek is 41, and will turn 42 in January.

But both Hasek and Belfour are at least younger than one of the defensemen that will protect them, 44 year-old Chris Chelios.

Let's do the time warp again!

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