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The Detroit Red Wings is a professional ice hockey team based in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL), and are one of the Original Six teams of the NHL.

The Red Wings are one of the most popular hockey franchises in North America, so much that fans and analysts have nicknamed Detroit "Hockeytown." The Red Wings have won the most Stanley Cup championships (11) of any NHL franchise based in the United States, and are third overall in total NHL championships, behind the Montreal Canadiens (24) and Toronto Maple Leafs (13). They currently play home games in the 20,066 capacity Joe Louis Arenamarker after having spent over 40 years playing in Olympia Stadiummarker.

Between the 1933–34 and 1965–66 seasons, the Red Wings missed the playoffs only four times. After almost two decades as an also-ran, the Red Wings have made the playoffs in 23 of the last 25 seasons, including the last 18 in a row. This is the longest current streak of post-season appearances in all of American professional sports.

Franchise history

1926–49: Early years

When the Western Canada Hockey League folded after the 1925–26 WHL season, a deal was made, so that a new NHL expansion franchise in Detroit bought the rights to the players of one of the most successful of the teams in that league, the 1925 Stanley Cup champion Victoria Cougars. However, the NHL does not consider the Red Wings to be a continuation of the Victoria team.

Since no arena in Detroit was ready at the time, the new Detroit Cougars (named in Victoria's honor) played their first season in Windsor, Ontariomarker at the Border Cities Arenamarker. For the 1927–28 season, the Cougars moved into the new Detroit Olympiamarker, which would be their home rink until December 15, 1979. This was also the first season behind the bench for Jack Adams, who would be the face of the franchise for the next 36 years as either coach or general manager.

The Cougars made the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 1929 with Carson Cooper leading the team in scoring. The Cougars were outscored 7–2 in the two-game series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1930, the Cougars were renamed the Falcons, but their woes continued, as they usually finished near the bottom of the standings, even though they made the playoffs again in 1932.

NHL president Frank Calder sought a way to extinguish this league, and convinced the other owners of the NHL to let grain merchant James E. Norris buy the Falcons. Norris had made two previous unsuccessful bids to buy an NHL team. Norris' first act was to choose a new name—the Red Wings. Earlier in the century, Norris had played on one of hockey's early powers, the Montreal HC, nicknamed the "Winged Wheelers." Because of the team’s location in Detroit, the Motor City, Norris transformed the club's logo into the first version of the Red Wings logo as it is known today. He also gave Adams a year on his job on probation. The renamed franchise won its first playoff series in the NHL, over the now-defunct Montreal Maroons. They lost in the semi-finals against the New York Rangers.

In 1934 the Wings made the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time, with John Sorrell scoring 21 goals over 47 games and Larry Aurie leading the team in scoring. However, the Chicago Black Hawks had an easy time with Detroit in the finals, winning the best-of-five series in four games and winning their own first title.

The Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 1936, defeating Toronto in four games. Detroit repeated its championship season in 1937, winning over the Rangers in the full five games.

In 1938, the Wings and the Montreal Canadiens were the first NHL teams to play in Europe, playing in Paris, France and London, England. The Wings played nine games against the Canadiens and went 3-5-1. The Wings did not play in Europe again until the preseason and start of the 2009-10 NHL season in Sweden against the St. Louis Blues.

They made the Stanley Cup Finals in three consecutive years during the early 1940s. In 1941 they were swept by the Boston Bruins, in 1942 they lost a seven-game series against Toronto in the finals after winning the first three games, but in 1943, with Syd Howe and Mud Bruneteau scoring 20 goals apiece, Detroit won their third Cup by sweeping the Bruins. They remained a solid team through the rest of the decade, making the playoffs every year, and reaching the finals three more times.

In 1946, one of the greatest players in hockey history came into the NHL with the Red Wings. Gordie Howe, a right-winger from Floral, Saskatchewan, only scored seven goals and 15 assists in his first season and would not reach his prime for a few more years. It was also the last season as head coach for Adams, who stepped down after the season to concentrate on his duties as general manager. He was succeeded by minor league coach Tommy Ivan.

By his second season, Howe was paired with Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay to form what would become one of the great lines in NHL history—the "Production Line". Lindsay's 33 goals propelled the Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they were swept by the Maple Leafs. Detroit reached the Finals again the following season, only to be swept again by Toronto.

1950–66: The Gordie Howe Era

The Wings returned to the top in 1950, with Pete Babando scoring the game winner in double overtime of game 7 to beat the Rangers in the Finals. After the game, Lindsay skated around the Olympia ice with the Cup, beginning a tradition that continues today.

After being upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1951 semifinals, Detroit won its fifth Cup in 1952, sweeping both the Leafs and the Canadiens, with the Production Line of Howe, Abel and Lindsay joined by second-year goalie Terry Sawchuk. Detroit would become the first team in 17 years to go undefeated in the playoffs. They also scored an amazing 24 playoff goals, compared to Toronto and Montreal's combined total of 5. Abel left the Wings for Chicago following the season, and his spot on the roster was replaced by Alex Delvecchio.

James E. Norris died in December 1952. He was succeeded as team president by his daughter, Marguerite—the first (and as of the 2006–07 season, only) woman to head an NHL franchise. She made no secret of her dislike for Adams. While she could have summarily fired him, since he was still without a contract, she chose not to do so.

Following another playoff upset in 1953 at the hands of the Bruins, the Red Wings won back to back Stanley Cups in 1954; over Montreal, when Habs defenseman Doug Harvey redirected a Tony Leswick shot into his own net; and 1955 (also over Montreal in the full seven games). The 1954–55 season ended a run of eight straight regular season titles, an NHL record.

Also during the 1955 off-season, Marguerite Norris lost an intrafamily power struggle, and was forced to turn over the Wings to younger brother Bruce, who had inherited his father's grain business. Detroit and Montreal once again met in the 1956 finals, but this time the Canadiens won the Cup, their first of five in a row.

In 1957 Ted Lindsay, who scored 30 goals and led the league in assists with 55, teamed up with Harvey to help start the NHL Players' Association and, along with outspoken young netminder Glenn Hall, was promptly traded to Chicago (which was owned by James D. Norris, Bruce's elder brother) after his most productive year.

This was one of several questionable trades made by Adams in the late 1950s. For example, a year earlier, he had traded Sawchuk to Boston; while he managed to get Sawchuk back two years later, he had to trade up-and-coming John Bucyk to do it. It was one of the most one-sided trades in hockey history; Bucyk went on to play 21 more years with the Bruins. The Wings lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Bruins. In 1959 the Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.

Within a couple of years, Detroit was rejuvenated and made the Finals for four of the next six years between 1961 and 1966. However, despite having Delvecchio, Norm Ullman, Howe and Parker MacDonald as consistent goal-scorers, Lindsay's sudden one-year comeback in 1964–65, and Sawchuk and later Roger Crozier between the pipes, the Wings came away empty-handed. Adams was fired as general manager in 1963. He had coached for 15 years and served as general manager for 31 years on a handshake, and his 36–year tenure as general manager is still the longest for any general manager in NHL history.

1967–82: The "Dead Wings" Era

Only a year after making the Finals, the Red Wings finished a distant fifth, 24 points out of the playoffs. It was the beginning of a slump from which they would not emerge for almost 20 years. Between 1967 and 1983, Detroit only made the playoffs twice, winning one series. From 1968 to 1982, the Wings had 14 head coaches (not counting interim coaches), with none lasting more than three seasons. In contrast, their first six full-time coaches – Art Duncan, Adams, Ivan, Jimmy Skinner and Abel – covered a 42–year : period. During this dark era in franchise history, the team was derisively known as the "Dead Wings" or "Dead Things".

One factor was the end of the old "development" system, which allowed Adams to get young prospects to commit to playing for Detroit as early as their 16th birthday. Another factor was Ned Harkness, who was hired as coach in 1970 and was promoted to general manager midway through the season. A successful college hockey coach, Harkness tried to force his two-way style of play on a veteran Red Wings team resistant to change. The Wings chafed under his rule in which he demanded short hair, no smoking, and put other rules in place regarding drinking and phone calls. Harkness was forced to resign in 1973.

In the "expansion season" of 1967–68, the Red Wings also acquired longtime star left-winger Frank Mahovlich from the defending Cup champs in Toronto. Mahovlich would go on a line with Howe and Delvecchio, and in 1968–69, he scored a career-high 49 goals and had two All-Star seasons in Detroit.

But this could not last. Mahovlich was traded to Montreal in 1970, and Howe retired after the 1970–71 season. Howe returned to pro hockey shortly after to play with his two sons Mark and Marty Howe (Mark would later join the Red Wings at the end of his career) in the upstart World Hockey Association in 1972. Through the decade, with Mickey Redmond having two 50–goal seasons and Marcel Dionne starting to reach his prime (which he did not attain until he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings), a lack of defensive and goaltending ability continually hampered the Wings.

During 1979–80, the Wings left the Olympia for Joe Louis Arenamarker. In 1982, after 50 years of family ownership, Bruce Norris sold the Red Wings to Mike Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars Pizza.

1983–1993: The Yzerman Era Begins

In 1983 the Wings drafted Steve Yzerman, a center from Cranbrookmarker, British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker. He led the team in scoring in his rookie year, and started the Wings' climb back to the top. That season, with John Ogrodnick scoring 42 times and Ivan Boldirev and Ron Duguay also with 30–goal seasons, Detroit made the playoffs for the first time in six years. Defenseman Brad Park, acquired from the Boston Bruins in the 1983 free-agent market, also helped the Wings reach the postseason and ended up winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy the same season.

Later Park was asked to coach the Wings, but was sacked after 45 games in 1985–86. He admitted, “I took over a last-place team, and I kept them there.” They did indeed end up in the basement with a 17–57–6 record for only 40 points. This was the same year that the Wings added enforcer Bob Probert, one of the most familiar faces of the Wings in the 1980s and 1990s.

By 1987, with Yzerman joined by Petr Klima, Adam Oates, Gerard Gallant, defenceman Darren Veitch and new head coach Jacques Demers, the Wings won a playoff series for only the second time in the modern era. They made it all the way to the conference finals against the powerful and eventual Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers, but lost in five games. In 1988 they won their first division title in 23 years (since 1964–65, when they finished first in a one-division league). They did so, however, in a relatively weak division; no other team in the Norris finished above .500. As was the case in the previous season, they made it to the conference finals only to lose again to the eventual cup champion Oilers in five games.

In 1989, Yzerman scored a career-best 65 goals, but Detroit was upset in the first round by the Chicago Blackhawks. The following season Yzerman scored 62 goals, but the team missed the playoffs. Rumors spread that maybe "Stevie Wonder" should be traded.

But it was Demers, not Yzerman, who got the pink slip. New coach Bryan Murray was unable to get them back over .500, but they returned to the playoffs. Yzerman was joined by Sergei Fedorov, who would be an award-winner and frequent all-star for the team in the 1990s. In 1992, the team acquired Ray Sheppard, who had a career-best 52 goals two years later; and in '93, top defenseman Paul Coffey. Also joining the Red Wings around this time were draft picks like Slava Kozlov, Darren McCarty, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Nicklas Lidstrom.

1994–2004: The Russian Five and return to glory

The Yzerman trade rumors ended very soon after Scotty Bowman got behind the Motown bench in 1993. In his second season, the lockout-shortened 1994–95 NHL season, he guided Detroit to its first Finals appearance in 29 years, only to be promptly swept by the New Jersey Devils, who won the Stanley Cup for the first time, as they brought it from "the Gardenmarker to the Garden Statemarker," as the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup the year before.

The Wings kept adding more star power, picking up Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov, and goaltender Mike Vernon in trades and winning an NHL record 62 games in 1996. After defeating the St. Louis Blues (with a Game 7, double-overtime goal by Yzerman), the Wings would fall in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche (formerly Quebec Nordiques).

The following year, Detroit, joined by Brendan Shanahan and Larry Murphy during the season, once again reached the Finals in 1997. After defeating the St. Louis Blues in six games, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Colorado Avalanche in the first three rounds, the Wings went on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in four straight games in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was the Wings' first Stanley Cup since 1955, breaking the longest drought (42 years long) in the league at that time. Mike Vernon accepted the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the 1997 playoffs.

Tragedy struck the Wings six days after their championship; defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov, one of the "Russian Five", suffered a brain injury in a limousine accident, and his career came to an abrupt end. Wings trainer Sergei Mnatsakanov suffered similar injuries. Red Wings defenseman Slava Fetisov was also injured in the accident, but was released from the hospital the next day. The Red Wings dedicated the 1997–98 season, which also ended in a Stanley Cup victory (another sweep, this time over the Washington Capitals), to Konstantinov, who came out onto the ice in his wheelchair on victory night to touch the Cup. Yzerman, who had won the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason Most Valuable Player that year, immediately gave the Cup to Konstantinov after he hoisted it. He later reported that he had intended to pass it to goalie Chris Osgood for his stellar surprise performance. "Not very often does a moment in hockey transcend sports," remarked Brendan Shanahan later.

The following season, the Wings looked poised to "three-peat" for the first time in franchise history, acquiring three-time top blueliner Chris Chelios from his hometown Chicago Blackhawks in March 1999, but it was not to be as they would end up losing the Western Conference Semifinals to Colorado in six games.

The Wings had built up a fierce rivalry with the Avalanche in this time. With the Red Wings beating the Avs in the third round in 1997, and Colorado beating Detroit in the second round in both 1999 and 2000, the battles between these two teams had become one of the fiercest in sports. During a game on March 26, 1997, a brawl ensued between Colorado goalie Patrick Roy and his Detroit counterpart Mike Vernon. In a separate fight, Darren McCarty paid back Avalanche player Claude Lemieux for his hit from behind on Kris Draper the year before. Fittingly, it was Darren McCarty who scored the overtime goal to give the Red Wings the 6–5 victory in the game that became known as "Fight Night at the Joe."

In 2001, Detroit, the league's second-best team in the regular season, were upset in the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings. During the summer that followed, they acquired legendary goalie Dominik Hasek (the defending Vezina Trophy winner) in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres. They also landed left-wing Luc Robitaille and right-wing Brett Hull through free agency, all three are now retired. Rookie center Pavel Datsyuk joined the Wings from the Russian Super League the same year. The Wings became the hands-down favorite to win the Cup in 2002. They did not disappoint, posting the league's best record in the regular season and defeating Colorado in seven games in the Western Conference Finals after beating the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues in rounds one and two. The Red Wings went on to capture another Cup in five games over the Cinderella-story Carolina Hurricanes, with Nicklas Lidstrom winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff's Most Valuable Player. Bowman and Hasek both elected to retire after the season. Yzerman, Hull, and Robitaille were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Famemarker in 2009, and some speculate that a total of ten players from the 2001-02 team may be inducted, which may beat the record set by the 1956-57 Montreal Canadiens.

The 2003 season saw the Red Wings promote associate coach Dave Lewis to the head coach position after Bowman's retirement. Needing a new starting goaltender after Hasek's retirement, the Red wings signed Curtis Joseph from the Toronto Maple Leafs to a three year, $24 million deal. Also new to the lineup was highly touted Swedish prospect Henrik Zetterberg. The Red Wings finished the season second in the Western Conference and third overall in the NHL. The Red Wings were favored in their first round matchup against the 7th seeded Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. But the Ducks shocked the hockey world by sweeping the Red Wings in four games, thanks in large part to the strong performance of Ducks goaltender J. S. Giguere. The Ducks later advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost in Game 7 to the New Jersey Devils.

Longtime Wing Sergei Fedorov signed with the Mighty Ducks as a free agent during the offseason, after a long contract dispute. More importantly, Dominik Hasek decided to come out of retirement, and joined the Wings for the 2003–04 season. This caused a problem for the Wings, as Joseph still had 2 years remaining on his contract. The Wings also added defenseman Derian Hatcher from the Dallas Stars via free agency, as well as forward Ray Whitney from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Joseph, despite being one of the highest-paid players in the NHL, had to spend part of the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate. The Wings attempted to trade him; but, perhaps because of his large contract, there were no suitors. Ultimately, Hasek called it quits after just 14 games because of a groin injury, and Joseph became the Wings' No. 1 goalie again, and helped lead the team to the top of the Central Division and the National Hockey League standings. Hatcher was also injured just a few games into the regular season with a torn MCL. Hatcher would not return until the end of the regular season. The Wings acquired veteran center Robert Lang from the Capitals at the trade deadline.

The Red Wings eliminated the Nashville Predators in six games in the first round of the playoffs, which led to a second round matchup with the Calgary Flames. In Game 5, with the series tied at two games apiece, a deflected puck struck Steve Yzerman in the left eye, sidelining him for the remainder of the playoffs. The Red Wings lost that game 1–0, and were eliminated the next game in Calgary by the same score in overtime. While the Red Wings have remained one of the NHL's strongest franchises with regard to finances, it was estimated that they could only be profitable if they advanced to the Conference Finals in the playoffs.

During the 2004 offseason, the Wings focused on keeping players they already had instead of being active on the free agent market. They re-signed Frank J. Selke Trophy-winning forward Kris Draper, who had just had a career season, to a four-year deal, and captain Yzerman to a one-year deal. They also re-signed Brendan Shanahan, Jiri Fischer, Jason Williams, and Mathieu Dandenault as well head coach Dave Lewis. Deals were not reached with veteran defensemen Chris Chelios and Mathieu Schneider or star forward Pavel Datsyuk before the NHL owners triggered their lockout on September 15. There also was a parting of ways with veteran forward Brett Hull, who signed with the Phoenix Coyotes as did forward Boyd Devereaux.

2005 and beyond: New era for Detroit

On July 15, 2005, Mike Babcock, former bench boss in Anaheim, became the new head coach for the Wings.

On August 8, the Wings brought back goaltender Chris Osgood, who had spent time with the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues since his last stint in Detroit, by signing him to a one-year contract.

Approximately fourteen minutes into a game on November 21, 2005 against the Nashville Predators, defenseman Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure and collapsed on the bench. His heart had stopped, and he was resuscitated by CPR and an AED. The game was canceled because of his injury, and was made up on January 23, 2006. This was the first time in NHL history a game had been postponed by injury. The game was played for the full 60 minutes; however, the Predators were allowed to maintain their 1–0 lead from the original game and won, 3–2.

For the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italymarker, the NHL again agreed to allow players to participate for their home countries. The Red Wings sent 10 players to the competition. Gold medal winners from Team Sweden included Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Holmstrom, and Niklas Kronwall. Robert Lang represented the Bronze medal winning Team Czech Republic.

The Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy with a 58–16–8 record, earning them 124 points.( NHL Standings), and secured home ice advantage for the entire playoffs.The Detroit Red Wings opened the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers with a 3–2 overtime victory at Joe Louis Arenamarker. However, the Oilers won 4 of the next 5 games to take the series.

After the playoffs, Detroit management informed goaltender Manny Legace that he would not be a part of the team next season, while Chris Osgood and Nicklas Lidstrom signed 2–year extensions.

Continuing the shakeup of the Red Wings roster, July 9 brought the signing of alternate captain Brendan Shanahan to a free agent deal with the New York Rangers after spending the previous 9 seasons with the club. Shanahan turned down equal offers from the Wings and Montreal Canadiens to sign with the Rangers, stating that he felt he was part of the Red Wings past, not future. July 31 brought the re-signing of Dominik Hasek to a one-year deal from the Ottawa Senators, marking the beginning of his third stint with the Wings.
Nicklas Lidstrom, the current captain of the Wings

Perhaps the biggest change to the roster in the off season was the announcement that Steve Yzerman would retire from playing hockey after playing 23 seasons with the Wings. He subsequently was offered the job of Vice President of Operations, and remained with the team. Not long after, it was announced that Yzerman's number 19 would be retired during the following season. Yzerman retired with the distinction of having been the longest serving team captain in NHL history.

The Red Wings opened the 2006–07 season with Steve Yzerman "passing the torch" to Nicklas Lidstrom when Lidstrom was named Captain for the 2006–07 season. The Red Wings retired Steve Yzerman's jersey number 19 on January 2 before a game with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Red Wings hold the longest current playoff streak of all professional North American sports teams, at 18 consecutive seasons.

At the 2007 NHL trade deadline, the Wings acquired forwards Kyle Calder and the injured Todd Bertuzzi. Calder came to Detroit in return for Jason Williams. Bertuzzi was acquired from the Florida Panthers for conditional draft picks and prospect Shawn Matthias. That April, the Wings signed Pavel Datsyuk to a seven-year contract extension, along with re-signing gritty forward Kirk Maltby to a three-year deal. The Wings finished first in the Western Conference and tied for first in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, but the Sabres were awarded the Presidents' Trophy by virtue of having the greater number of wins.

Game 1 of the opening round saw the Red Wings' 452–game home sellout streak (dating back to December 10, 1996) come to end with an announced crowd of 19,204. They advanced to the third round of the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs after defeating the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks both in six games, coming back three straight after the Sharks' 2–1 series lead. The Red Wings lost to the eventual Stanley Cup winning team - the Anaheim Ducks, in the Western Conference Finals four games to two. In doing so, the 2007 Playoffs marked the most successful run for Detroit since their 2002 Stanley Cup Championship, finishing two games away from a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.

On July 1, free agent defenseman Mathieu Schneider signed a deal with the Ducks. However, Detroit filled the void by immediately signing former New Jersey Devil and Dearborn, Michiganmarker native Brian Rafalski to a 5–year deal. A short time later, Todd Bertuzzi followed in Schneider's footsteps to a free agent deal with Anaheim. Kyle Calder signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Kings and Robert Lang signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings then signed former St. Louis Blues captain Dallas Drake to a 1 year deal. Drake was originally drafted by Detroit in 1989 and played for them from 1992–1994 before being traded to Winnipeg.

To start the 2007–2008 campaign, Henrik Zetterberg recorded at least a point in each of Detroit's first 16 games, setting a club record. At the 2008 trade deadline, the Red Wings announced that they had signed former Wing Darren McCarty to a one year contract for the remainder of the season. The Red Wings also acquired defenseman Brad Stuart from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a second-round pick in 2008 and a fourth-round pick in 2009. Nearing the end of the 2007–2008 season, Detroit signed Michigan State Universitymarker senior Justin Abdelkader to a three-year contract.

The Red Wings won their eleventh Stanley Cup on June 4, 2008, against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals by a score of 3-2. This was their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years. Henrik Zetterberg scored the Stanley Cup winning goal and was also named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs. Nicklas Lidstrom became the first European Captain to win the Stanley Cup.

On July 2, 2008, the Detroit Red Wings announced the signing on unrestricted free agent Marian Hossa to a one year deal worth approximately $7.4 million. Hossa was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins team that the Red Wings defeated in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final. Hossa reportedly turned down several other longer termed and higher paid offers from other teams to join the Red Wings, stating that he felt Detroit gave him his best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. The Red Wings also re-signed free agents Brad Stuart and Valtteri Filppula to four and five year deals, respectively. The Red Wings also signed goaltender Ty Conklin to a one year deal upon the retirement of Dominik Hasek; Conklin was also a member of the Penguins the previous season along with Hossa. Winger Dallas Drake announced his retirement in July, and in early August it was announced that former coach Scotty Bowman had taken a senior advisor position with the Chicago Blackhawks, citing the opportunity to work with his son (Chicago assistant GM Stan Bowman) was too good to pass up.

From the beginning of the 2008–09 season to New Year's Day, the Wings enjoyed success, although second to the San Jose Sharks. On January 1, 2009, the Red Wings played the Chicago Blackhawks in the third NHL Winter Classic at Chicago's Wrigley Fieldmarker, beating them 6-4. Ty Conklin was the starting goaltender for the Red Wings; he also started in net for the 2003 and 2008 Winter Classic. In those games, he played for the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively.

It was announced in February 2009 that the Red Wings would start the 2009–10 season in Stockholm, Swedenmarker against the St. Louis Blues inside the Globe Arenamarker. At the time of the announcement, 8 of Detroit's players were from Sweden: Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Mikael Samuelsson, Andreas Lilja, Henrik Zetterberg and team captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

On March 15, 2009, the Red Wings defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets to became the first team in NHL history to top 100 points in nine straight seasons, breaking a tie with the Montreal Canadiens (1974–75 through 1981–82).

The Red Wings entered the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the second overall seed in the Western Conference, second only to the San Jose Sharks, as well as heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup for a second consecutive year. They were matched up with the Columbus Blue Jackets, appearing in their first ever postseason. The Red Wings handily won the first three games of the series and, in a back and forth Game 4, swept Columbus out of the playoffs with a 6-5 win. With the series win, the Red Wings become the first defending Stanley Cup champions to advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs since the Colorado Avalanche in 2002.

The Red Wings next matchup were the 8th seeded Anaheim Ducks, who had upset the first seeded San Jose Sharks in six games. The teams split the first two games in Detroit before Anaheim took a 2-1 series lead in Game 3, which featured a controversial non-call on a would-be tying Detroit goal by Marian Hossa with under a minute remaining in regulation. Detroit would bounce back to tie the series with a Game 4 win, and then took a 3-2 series lead in Detroit after a win in Game 5. Anaheim was able to avoid elimination with a victory in Game 6, which set up the deciding Game 7 in Detroit. With the teams tied 3-3, Detroit's Daniel Cleary scored the winning goal with three minutes remaining to eliminate Anaheim and send Detroit to the Western Conference Finals against their fellow Original 6 rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. Through the first four games of the series, Detroit achieved a 3-1 lead setting up the potential game-deciding Game 5 in Detroit, where the Red Wings advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals with a 2-1 overtime victory, the winner being scored by Darren Helm.

The Red Wings would face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals for a second consecutive year, but this series would feature a different outcome. Detroit missed a chance to win the Stanley Cup on Pittsburgh ice in Game 6, setting up a Game 7 showdown at Joe Louis Arena. Pittsburgh defeated the Red Wings by a score of 2-1, becoming only the 2nd NHL team to lose The Cup at home in Game 7.

During the 2009 Offseason, the Red Wings were unable to re-sign forwards Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky, who signed 12 and 2 year deals respectively with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings also lost free agent forward Mikael Samuelsson to the Vancouver Canucks, Jiri Hudler to a KHL club, and goaltender Ty Conklin to the St. Louis Blues. Red Wings general manager announced that Red Wings prospect goaltender Jimmy Howard would be backup to Chris Osgood for the next season. After the controversy regarding Hudler and the KHL, the Wings would sign Patrick Eaves and three former Red Wings Andy Delmore, Jason Williams and Todd Bertuzzi to deals as well as resigning Ville Leino.

As announced in February, the Red Wings began the 2009-10 NHL Season in Stockholm, Swedenmarker, falling in both games to the St. Louis Blues by scores of 4-3 and 5-3, respectively.

During the first month of the season, the Red Wings would lose three of their top players to injury as Johan Franzen would have a knee injury in their home opener at Joe Louis Arenamarker, Valteri Filppula with a broken wrist at Rexall Placemarker in Edmontonmarker and Jason Williams to a broken leg in Torontomarker. However aside from all the injuries the Red Wings have maintained a winning record, they also claimed Drew Miller off of waivers in November 2009. Against the Canadiens on November 21, the injury-riddled Wings would lose 2nd line defenseman Nicklas Kronwall to a sprained MCL as a result of a knee-on-knee hit by Montreal enforcer Georges Laraque.

Team information


The Red Wings, like all NHL teams, updated their jerseys (traditionally known in hockey as "sweaters") to the new Rbk Edge standard for the 2007–08 NHL season. The Red Wings kept their design as close as possible, with a few exceptions: On the road (white) jersey, there is more red on the sleeves as the color panel begins closer to the shoulder. The white sleeve numbers on both jerseys were also moved up a bit, creating more red space between the bottom of the number and the wraparound white trim. The letters of the captain and alternate captains were moved to the player's right shoulder; Detroit is the only team in the league that made this change, although the 2008 NHL All Star jerseys featured this as well. All teams now have an NHL shield panel on the front of the jersey near the collar, and a rounded hemline at the bottom of the jersey which goes up at the hips, providing more mobility.

The Red Wings have not used any alternate logos or uniforms since the trend became popular in the 1990s, the sole exceptions were select games of the 1991–92 season commemorating the league's 75th Anniversary, and for a commemorative game in 1994 at Chicago Stadiummarker. Those jerseys were based on the uniforms worn by the team (then the Detroit Cougars) in 1927–28. The throwbacks are primarily white with five red horizontal stripes on the body, the broadest middle stripe bearing "DETROIT" in bold letters, and three red stripes on the sleeves.

The striped throwbacks have been a popular design, as replicas continue to be marketed by the NHL. This jersey was also a basis for the uniforms worn by Wayne Gretzky's team of NHLPA All-Stars, nicknamed the "99ers", for their exhibition tour in Europe during the 1994–95 NHL lockout; a picture of Gretzky in this jersey was used for the cover art of a video game bearing his name.

Alternate jerseys for the RBK Edge system are expected for 2008–2009, but Detroit has thus far opted not to use alternates.

The Red Wings wore alternative "Retro" jerseys for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic in Chicago. The one-time jerseys were based on the uniforms worn by the then-Detroit Cougars during their inaugural season of 1926–27. These jerseys were white, with a single bold red stripe on the sleeves and chest, and a uniquely-styled white Old English "D" (a Detroit sports tradition, also currently used by the Detroit Tigers but formerly used by both the Wings and the University of Detroit Titansmarker) centered on the chest stripe. These jerseys were also worn for their final 2009 regular season home game, again against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Fan tradition: The Octopus

The "Legend of the Octopus" is a sports tradition during Detroit Red Wings playoff games, in which an octopus is thrown onto the ice surface for good luck.

During the playoffs, Joe Louis Arenamarker is generally adorned with a giant octopus with red eyes, nicknamed "Al" after Joe Louis Arena head ice manager Al Sobotka.

The 1952 playoffs featured the start of the tradition—the octopus throw. The owner of a local fish market, Peter Cusimano, threw one from the stands onto the ice. The eight legs were purportedly symbolic of the eight wins it took to win the Stanley Cup at the time. The Red Wings went on to sweep both of their opponents that year en route to a Stanley Cup championship. The NHL has, at various times, tried to eliminate this tradition but it continues to this day.

There is a certain etiquette that must be followed for fans that wish to throw octopuses onto the ice. The most appropriate time to throw an octopus onto the ice is after the national anthem is sung or after the Red Wings have scored a goal. Under these circumstances, the cephalopod must be thrown onto the ice surface in an area that is clear of all players. It is never acceptable to aim for opposing players. Beforehand, octopuses are usually boiled to reduce the amount of "slime" coating and facilitate the time it takes to clean up the ice and prevent further delay. Since Joe Louis Arena does not condone the throwing of any foreign objects onto the ice, fans often sneak the mollusks in wrapped around their bellies in trash bags. The boiling process also lessens the odor and allows the fans to get past security. Tactics are also used to protect the identity of octopus-throwers from arena security. It is common practice for the hurler to ask the surrounding people to stand up with him to shroud the task in anonymity.

Al Sobotka is the man responsible for removing the thrown creatures from the ice. He is known for swinging the tossed octopuses above his head when walking off the ice. On April 19, 2008, NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell sent a memo to the Detroit Red Wings organization that forbids Zamboni drivers from cleaning up any octopuses thrown onto the ice and that violating the mandate would result in a $10,000 fine. Instead, it will be the linesmen who will perform this duty. In an email to the Detroit Free Press, NHL spokesman Frank Brown justified the ban because "matter flies off the octopus and gets on the ice" when Al Sobotka does it. This ban, however, was later loosened to allow for the octopus twirling to take place at the zamboni entrance.


The Red Wings' flagship radio stations are Detroit sister stations WXYT-AMmarker 1270 and WXYT-FMmarker 97.1. Games are carried on both stations unless there is a conflict with Detroit Lions football or Detroit Tigers baseball. There are several affiliate stations through Michigan, Northwestern Ohio, and Southwestern Ontario.

The Red Wings' exclusive local television rights are held by Fox Sports Detroit.


During many home games on FS Detroit where Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond are in the booth, Larry Murphy also provides analysis "between the benches" during games.

Season-by-season record

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Red Wings. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Detroit Red Wings seasons

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime losses; Pts = Points; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; PIM = Penalties in minutes

Records as of May 21, 2007.

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
2004–05 Season cancelled because of 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–061 82 58 16 8 124 305 209 1127 1st, Central Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Oilers)
2006–07 82 50 19 13 113 254 199 982 1st, Central Lost in Conference Finals, 2–4 (Ducks)
2007–08 82 54 21 7 115 257 184 937 1st, Central Stanley Cup Champions, 4–2 (Penguins)
2008–09 82 51 21 10 112 295 244 824 1st, Central Lost in Finals, 3–4 (Penguins)

1 As of the 2005–06 NHL season, all games will have a winner; the OTL column includes SOL (Shootout losses).

Notable players

Current roster

Team captains

Honored members

Hall of Famers:



Numbers out of circulation

Retired jerseys:
The banners hanging at Joe Louis Arena.
  • 1 Terry Sawchuk, G, 1949–55, 1957–64 & 1968–69, number retired March 6, 1994
  • 7 Ted Lindsay, LW, 1944–57 & 1964–65, number retired November 10, 1991
  • 9 Gordie Howe, RW, 1946–71, number retired March 12, 1972
  • 10 Alex Delvecchio, C, 1950–73, number retired November 10, 1991
  • 12 Sid Abel, LW, 1938–52, number retired April 29, 1995
  • 19 Steve Yzerman, C, 1983–2006, number retired January 2, 2007 (the banner features the captain "C" to honor his tenure as the longest serving captain in NHL history)

Retired numbers:
  • 6 Larry Aurie, RW, 1927–1939, following his retirement from the NHL. This was the first number ever retired by the Detroit Red Wings; however, Aurie does not have a banner hanging in Joe Louis Arena. The NHL's official information publication, the Official NHL Guide And Record Book, listed the number as being retired from 1975 until 2000 when reference to it was removed at the request of the Red Wings organization. The team no longer considers the number to be retired, although it is not available for use.
  • 16 Vladimir Konstantinov, D, 1991–97, following a career-ending vehicular accident.
  • 99 Wayne Gretzky, Although he was never a member of the Red Wings, his number was retired league-wide February 6, 2000

First-round draft picks

Franchise scoring leaders

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Red Wings player

Points Goals Assists
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Gordie Howe RW 1687 786 1023 1809 1.07
Steve Yzerman C 1514 692 1063 1755 1.16
Alex Delvecchio C 1549 456 825 1281 0.83
Nicklas Lidstrom* D 1330 229 771 1000 0.75
Sergei Fedorov C 908 400 554 954 1.05
Norm Ullman C 875 324 434 758 0.87
Ted Lindsay LW 862 335 393 728 0.84
Brendan Shanahan LW 716 309 324 633 0.88
Reed Larson D 708 188 382 564 0.80
John Ogrodnick RW 539 259 275 534 0.99
Player Pos G
Gordie Howe RW 786
Steve Yzerman C 692
Alex Delvecchio C 456
Sergei Fedorov C 400
Ted Lindsay LW 335
Norm Ullman C 324
Brendan Shanahan LW 309
John Ogrodnick RW 259
Nicklas Lidstrom* D 228
Vyacheslav Kozlov RW 202
Player Pos A
Steve Yzerman C 1063
Gordie Howe RW 1023
Alex Delvecchio C 825
Nicklas Lidstrom* D 769
Sergei Fedorov C 554
Norm Ullman C 434
Ted Lindsay LW 393
Reed Larson D 382
Pavel Datsyuk* C 351
Brendan Shanahan LW 324

NHL awards and trophies

Stanley Cup

Presidents' Trophy

Clarence S. Campbell Bowl

Prince of Wales Trophy

Art Ross Trophy

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Calder Memorial Trophy

Conn Smythe Trophy

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Hart Memorial Trophy

James Norris Memorial Trophy

Jack Adams Award

King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Lester B. Pearson Award

Lester Patrick Trophy

NHL Plus/Minus Award

Vezina Trophy

William M. Jennings Trophy

Mark Messier Leadership Award

NHL All-Rookie Team

Franchise individual records

This is a partial list. For the more franchise records, see Detroit Red Wings records

See also


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  4. Detroit Red Wings Radio Network affiliate list
  5. FSN Detroit Nets Pro Sports 3 pointer

External links

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