Joseph comes off a season where he carried the heavily-injured Toronto Maple Leafs to the Eastern Conference Finals before bowing out to the Carolina Hurricanes. Raised near Toronto, Joseph said it was difficult to leave his home team.
“It wasn’t a simple decision, that’s for sure.” he said at a Joe Louis Arena press conference. He also said he had to “weigh the pros and cons” and that the Wings gave him an “offer that was tough to refuse.”
Joseph, like Hasek before him, comes to Detroit as an acclaimed netminder who has never won the Stanley Cup. He twice made the Conference Finals, only to be eliminated by Hasek’s Buffalo Sabres in 1999 and the Hurricanes this year.
After holding a late-morning press conference in Toronto, where he was emotional in telling his old team that he was leaving, Joseph came to Detroit to announce his signing.
While saddened by leaving his home town, Joseph was not hesitant to come to greener pastures. “I’m excited about the Red Wings organization,” he stated. “Everyone knows what the Ilitch’s are about.”
“That’s the only mentality in Detroit, it’s the Cup or else.”
“With the loss of Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph was our first priority.” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said, later adding, “He’s our number one choice, we just think he’s the best goalie available.”
With Joseph’s signing in Detroit and Ed Belfour’s in Toronto, only Byron Dafoe and Mike Richter are left from the original pool of free agent goaltenders. The Rangers, Flyers and Blues are all reportedly still searching for a goalie.