Red Wings' Chris Osgood Hopes To Return Next Season

Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood hasn't played since early January and probably won't for the remainder of the season, but he's confident that he can return to the game next year.

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"I'm coming back next year,'' Osgood said. "But I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about getting ready to play if they need me to play (this season).''

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"I just want to keep playing because I have fun playing. That would be the main reason. And I still know I can. That would be the main reason I would come back.''

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Osgood had sports hernia surgery in January and has been out ever since. In the meantime, Joey MacDonald has been backing up starter Jimmy Howard and has played well in his absence. MacDonald will start the playoffs as the backup, even if Osgood comes back and gets a couple practices in soon, according to general manager Ken Holland.

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"You can't be out three months and have two practices and come in and be Chris Osgood, it's impossible. It says Osgood on the back of his jersey, but it's not Osgood. That's why Jimmy Howard is No. 1, Joey Mac's No. 2. The longer we can play, if we get to a point where somebody gets injured, then obviously we'll make a decision, do we dress Osgood as the backup?''

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But if Osgood wants to return, will the Red Wings take him back? Osgood is in the final year of his contract and is pushing 40. Will the Red Wings re-sign him out of loyalty? Joey MacDonald has shown he is a capable netminder in a backup role and can come in every now and then and get a win in Howard's absence. If Detroit decides that Osgood is not an option anymore, they may very well stick with MacDonald as the No. 2.

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