Detroit Red Wings
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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings
2019-20 Detroit Red Wings season
Detroit Red Wings logo.svg
HistoryDetroit Cougars
Detroit Falcons
Detroit Red Wings
Home arenaLittle Caesars Arena
CityDetroit, Michigan
ColorsRed, white[1][2]
MediaFox Sports Detroit
Talk Radio WXYT (1270 AM)
The Ticket (97.1 FM)
Owner(s)Ilitch Holdings
General managerSteve Yzerman
Head coachJeff Blashill
Minor league affiliatesGrand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Toledo Walleye (ECHL)
Stanley Cups11 (1935-36, 1936-37, 1942-43, 1949-50, 1951-52, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2007-08)
Conference championships6 (1994-95, 1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2007-08, 2008-09)
Presidents' Trophy6 (1994-95, 1995-96, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2007-08)
Division championships19 (1933-34, 1935-36, 1936-37, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1991-92, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11)

The Detroit Red Wings are a professional ice hockey team based in Detroit. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL)[3] and are one of the Original Six teams of the league.[4] Founded in 1926, the team was known as the Detroit Cougars until 1930. For the 1930-31 and 1931-32 seasons the team was called the Detroit Falcons, and in 1932 changed their name to the Red Wings.[5]

As of 2019, the Red Wings have won the most Stanley Cup championships of any NHL franchise based in the United States (11)[6] and are third overall in total Stanley Cup championships, behind the Montreal Canadiens (24) and Toronto Maple Leafs (13). The Wings played their home games at Joe Louis Arena from 1979 until 2017, after playing for 52 years in Olympia Stadium. They moved into the new Little Caesars Arena beginning with the 2017-18 season. The Red Wings are one of the most popular and successful franchises in the NHL; fans and sports commentators refer to the Detroit area as "Hockeytown", which has been a registered trademark owned by the franchise since 1996.[7]

Between the 1931-32 and 1965-66 seasons, the Red Wings missed the playoffs only four times. Between the 1966-67 and 1982-83 seasons, the Red Wings made the playoffs only two times. However, thereafter, from 1983-84 to 2015-16, they made the playoffs 30 times in 32 seasons, including 25-straight from 1990-91 to 2015-16 (not counting the cancelled 2004-05 season), at the time the longest streak of postseason appearances in all of North American professional sports. Since 1983-84, the Red Wings have tallied six regular season first-place finishes and have won the Stanley Cup four times (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008).

Franchise history

Early years (1926-1949)

Team photo from Detroit's inaugural season (1926-27). The franchise was known as the Detroit Cougars from 1926 to 1930.

Following the 1926 Stanley Cup playoffs, during which the Western Hockey League (WHL) was widely reported to be on the verge of folding,[8] the NHL held a meeting on April 17 to consider applications for expansion franchises, at which it was reported that five different groups sought a team for Detroit.[9] During a subsequent meeting on May 15, the league approved a franchise to the Townsend-Seyburn group of Detroit and named Charles A. Hughes as governor.[10]Frank and Lester Patrick, the owners of the WHL, made a deal to sell the league's players to the NHL and cease league operations. The new Detroit franchise purchased the players of the WHL's Victoria Cougars, who had won the Stanley Cup in 1925 and had made the Finals the previous winter, to play for the team. The new Detroit franchise also adopted the Cougars' nickname in honor of the folded franchise.[11]

Since no arena in Detroit was ready at the time, the Cougars played their first season at the Border Cities Arena in Windsor, Ontario.[12] For the 1927-28 season, the Cougars moved into the new Detroit Olympia, which would be their home rink until December 15, 1979.[13] 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.[14]

The Cougars made the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 1929 with Carson Cooper leading the team in scoring.[12][15] The Cougars were outscored 7-2 in the two-game series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.[16] 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.[17][18][19][20]

In 1932, the NHL let grain merchant James E. Norris, who had made two previous unsuccessful bids to buy an NHL team, purchase the Falcons. Norris' first act was to choose a new name for the team--the Red Wings. Earlier in the century, Norris had been a member of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, a sporting club with cycling roots. The MAAA's teams were known by their club emblem and these Winged Wheelers were the first winners of the Stanley Cup in 1893. Norris decided that a version of their logo was perfect for a team playing in the Motor City and on October 5, 1932, the club was renamed the Red Wings.[21] Norris also placed coach Jack Adams on a one-year probation for the 1932-33 NHL season.[22] Adams managed to pass his probationary period by leading the renamed franchise to its first-ever playoff series victory, over the Montreal Maroons.[23] The team then lost in the semi-finals to the New York Rangers.[24]

In 1934, the Red 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.[25] However, the Chicago Black Hawks defeated the Red Wings in the Finals, winning the best-of-five series in four games to claim their first title.[26] Two seasons later, the Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 1936, defeating Toronto in four games.[26] Detroit repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1937, winning over the Rangers in the full five games.[26] In 1938, the Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens became the first NHL teams to play in Europe, playing in Paris and London. The Wings played nine games against the Canadiens and went 3-5-1. They did not play in Europe again until the pre-season and start of the 2009-10 NHL season, in Sweden, against the St. Louis Blues.[27]

Making his NHL debut in 1946, Gordie Howe played alongside Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay from 1947 to 1951, forming the Production Line.

The Red Wings made the Stanley Cup Finals in three consecutive years during the early 1940s.[28] In 1941, they were swept by the Boston Bruins, and in 1942, they lost a seven-game series to Toronto after winning the first three games.[28] However, in 1943, with Mud Bruneteau and Syd Howe scoring 23 and 20 goals, respectively, Detroit won their third Stanley Cup by sweeping the Bruins.[28][29] Through the rest of the decade, the team made the playoffs every year, and reached the Finals three more times.[30][31][32][33][34][35]

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.[36] 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.[37][38] 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".[37] Lindsay's 33 goals propelled the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they were swept by the Maple Leafs.[34] Detroit reached the Finals again the following season, only to be swept again by Toronto.[35]

Gordie Howe era (1950-1966)

During the 1950 Stanley Cup semi-finals, Leo Reise Jr. scored the winning goal in overtime, which prevented the Maple Leafs from winning four straight championships.[39] In the Finals, the Red Wings defeated the New York Rangers in seven games. In Game 7, Pete Babando scored the game winner in double overtime.[39] After the game, Lindsay skated around the Olympia ice with the Stanley Cup.[40]

Team photo of the 1952 Detroit Red Wings. They won their fifth Stanley Cup that year.

After being upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1951 semi-finals, Detroit won its fifth Stanley Cup, in 1952, sweeping both the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, with the Production Line of Howe, Abel and Lindsay joined by second-year goaltender Terry Sawchuk.[41][42][43] Detroit became the first team in 17 years to go undefeated in the playoffs.[42][44] They also scored 24 playoff goals, compared to Toronto and Montreal's combined total of 5.[45] Abel left the Red Wings for Chicago during the off-season, and his spot on the roster was replaced by Alex Delvecchio.[46][47] In December 1952, James E. Norris died.[48] He was succeeded as team president by his daughter, Marguerite, which made her the first woman to head an NHL franchise.[48][49]

Following another playoff upset in 1953 at the hands of the Bruins,[50] the Red Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups, beating the rival powerhouse Montreal Canadiens. Both of the Stanley Cup Finals played between the two teams were decided in seven games. The seventh game during the 1954 Stanley Cup Finals was won with one of the oddest cup winning goals ever, when the 5'7" left winger Tony Leswick, known more for his relentless checking than scoring prowess, shot a puck towards the Montreal goal from the middle of the ice. Habs defenseman Doug Harvey tried to gain control of the wobbly puck with his glove, but instead redirected it past Montreal goalie Gerry McNeil.[51] The repeat of the series the season after was closely contested, as all of the games were won by the home team, with Detroit taking the seventh game. Montreal was sorely lacking its all-star Maurice Richard, who was suspended after hitting a linesman during the regular season, and the Red Wings' stars carried their team, as Lindsay scored four goals in a single game and Howe scored 20 points during the playoffs, 12 of which during the Finals, all new records in the league.[52]

The 1954-55 season ended a run of seven straight regular season titles, an NHL record.[53] During the 1955 offseason, Marguerite Norris lost an intra-family power struggle, and was forced to turn over the Red Wings to her younger brother Bruce.[54] Detroit and Montreal once again met, in the 1956 Stanley Cup Finals, but this time the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, their first of five in a row.[55] In 1957, Lindsay, who had scored 30 goals and led the league in assists with 55, teamed up with Harvey to help start the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA).[56][57] As a result, he and goaltender Glenn Hall were promptly traded to Chicago.[58]

In 1959, the Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.[59] However, within a couple of years, the franchise was able to rejuvenate itself. The Red Wings made the Finals in four of the next six years between 1961 and 1966.[60] However, they came away empty-handed.[60][61]

"Dead Wings" era (1967-1982)

On December 27, 1979, the Detroit Red Wings played their first game at Joe Louis Arena, moving from the Olympia.

Only a year after making the Finals, the Red Wings finished a distant fifth, 24 points out of the playoffs.[62] It was the beginning of a slump that they would not emerge from in almost 20 years. This period is derisively known as the "Dead Wings" era.[63]

One factor in the Red Wings' decline was the end of the old development system.[64] 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. They chafed under his rule in which he demanded short hair and no smoking, and put other rules in place regarding drinking and phone calls.[65] Harkness was forced to resign in 1974, ending the period colloquially referred to as "Darkness with Harkness".[66][67][68]

In the expansion season of 1967-68, the Red Wings acquired longtime star left-winger Frank Mahovlich from the defending Cup champions 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.[69][70][71] But this did not last. Mahovlich was traded to Montreal in 1971, and Howe retired after the 1970-71 season.[72][67] Throughout the decade, the Red Wings were hampered due to a number of factors.[73]

During the 1979-80 season, the Red Wings left the Olympia for Joe Louis Arena.[74] In 1982, after 50 years of family ownership, Bruce Norris sold the Red Wings to Mike Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars.[75]

Steve Yzerman era (1983-2006)

In 1983, the Red Wings drafted Steve Yzerman, a center from the Peterborough Petes, with their first-round pick. He led the team in scoring in his rookie year.[76] That season, with John Ogrodnick, Ivan Boldirev, Ron Duguay, and Brad Park, Detroit made the playoffs for the first time in six years.[77] Park ended up winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.[78] Park was later asked to coach the Red Wings, only to be sacked after just 45 games in 1985-86.[79] They did end up in last place with a 17-57-6 record for only 40 points.[80] This was the same year that the Red Wings added enforcer Bob Probert, one of the most familiar faces of the team in the 1980s and 1990s.[81]

Named team captain in 1986, Steve Yzerman captained the Red Wings until his retirement in 2006.

In the 1986-87 season, with Yzerman, now the captain following the departure of Danny Gare, joined by Petr Klima, Adam Oates, Gerard Gallant, defenseman Darren Veitch and new head coach Jacques Demers, the Red Wings won a playoff series for only the second time in the modern era.[82][83][84][85] They made it all the way to the conference finals against the powerful Edmonton Oilers, but lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions in five games.[85][86] In 1988, they won their first division title in 23 years. They did so, however, in a relatively weak division, as no other team in the Norris finished above .500.[87] As was the case in the previous season, they made it to the conference finals only to lose again to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Oilers in five games.[88]

In 1989, Yzerman scored a career-best 65 goals, but Detroit was upset in the first round by the Chicago Blackhawks.[89][90][91] The following season, Yzerman scored 62 goals, but the team missed the playoffs.[92][93]

After the season, Demers was fired and was replaced by Bryan Murray as the new head coach.[94][95] Murray was unable to get them back over .500, but they returned to the playoffs.[95][96] Yzerman was joined by Sergei Fedorov, who would be an award-winner and frequent all-star for the team in the 1990s.[97] In 1991, the team signed free agent Ray Sheppard, who would score a career-best 52 goals three years later.[98][99] In 1993, the Red Wings acquired top defenseman Paul Coffey.[100] Also joining the Red Wings around this time were draft picks Vladimir Konstantinov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood.[101][102][103][104][105]

The Russian Five and back-to-back Stanley Cups (1994-1998)

In 1993, former Montreal Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman was hired as the new head coach.[106] In his second season, the lockout-shortened 1994-95 NHL season, Bowman guided Detroit to its first Finals appearance in 29 years, only to be swept by the New Jersey Devils.[107][108][109]

During the 1995-96 season, they won an NHL record 62 games. After defeating the St. Louis Blues in seven games, the Red Wings would fall in the Western Conference finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.[110][111]

The following season, the Red Wings acquired Brendan Shanahan and Larry Murphy.[112][113] In the playoffs, they would defeat the St. Louis Blues, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Avalanche in the first three rounds. In the Finals, the Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers. It was their first Stanley Cup since 1955, breaking the longest drought (42 years long) in the league at that time. Mike Vernon was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.[114]

Misfortune befell the Red Wings six days after their championship; defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov, one of the members of the "Russian Five", suffered a brain injury in a limousine accident, and his career came to an abrupt end.[101][115][116] As a result, the team dedicated the 1997-98 season to him.[116] The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in four games, this time over the Washington Capitals, and Konstantinov was brought onto the ice in his wheelchair so he could touch it.[116]

Superstar acquisitions and more success (1999-2006)

The following season, the Red Wings appeared to be poised to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup when they acquired three-time top blueliner Chris Chelios from his hometown Chicago Blackhawks in March 1999.[117][118] Also acquired at the trade deadline were defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, winger Wendel Clark, and goaltender Bill Ranford.[118] Despite high aspirations, however, Detroit would end up losing in the Western Conference semi-finals to Colorado in six games.[119] In 2000, the Red Wings would finish second in the Central Division. Just like the previous season, however, they would lose to the Avalanche in the Western Conference semi-finals.[120][121]

The Red Wings were invited to the White House in November 2002, after winning the Stanley Cup.

In 2001, Detroit, the NHL's second-best team in the regular season, were upset in the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings.[122][123] During the ensuing offseason, the team acquired goaltender Dominik Hasek (the defending Vezina Trophy winner) and forwards Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull.[124][125][126] Russian prospect Pavel Datsyuk also joined the team.[127] Strengthened by the additions, the Red Wings posted the league's best record in the 2001-02 regular season and defeated Colorado in seven games in the Western Conference finals after beating the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues in rounds one and two.[128] The Red Wings then went on to capture another Stanley Cup, in five games, over the Carolina Hurricanes, with Nicklas Lidstrom winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' MVP.[128] Bowman and Hasek both retired after the season.[129][130]

The off-season saw the Red Wings promote associate coach Dave Lewis to the head coach position after Bowman's retirement.[131] In the market for a new starting goaltender after Hasek's retirement, they signed Curtis Joseph from the Toronto Maple Leafs to a three-year, $24 million deal.[132] Also new to the lineup was highly-touted Swedish prospect Henrik Zetterberg.[133] The Red Wings finished the season second in the Western Conference, which pitted them in the 2003 playoffs against the seventh-seeded Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.[134][135][136] The Mighty Ducks shocked the hockey world when they swept the Red Wings in four games en route to a Finals appearance.[136][137][138]

In the offseason, long time Red Wing Fedorov signed with the Mighty Ducks as a free agent.[139] Additionally, Hasek opted to come out of retirement and join the Red Wings for the 2003-04 season.[140] Joseph, despite being one of the highest-paid players in the NHL, spent part of the season in the minor leagues.[141] Hasek himself would be sidelined with a groin injury.[142] Notwithstanding, the Red Wings would finish atop of the Central Division and the NHL standings.[143][144] The Red Wings eliminated the Nashville Predators in six games in the first round of the 2004 playoffs, which led to a second round match-up with the Calgary Flames.[145] The teams split the first four games, and headed to Detroit for a pivotal Game 5, which the Red Wings lost 1-0.[146] They were then eliminated two nights later in Calgary by the same score in overtime.[147] The Red Wings did not play in the 2004-05 season due to the lockout, which cancelled the entire NHL season.[148]

Red Wings during a game in the 2005-06 season. The Red Wings would go on to win that season's Presidents' Trophy.

On July 15, 2005, Mike Babcock, former head coach in Anaheim, became the new head coach for the Red Wings.[149] On November 21, 2005, defenseman Jiri Fischer went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the bench during a game against the Nashville Predators.[150] The game was cancelled because of his injury and was made up on January 23, 2006.[151] This was the first time in NHL history a game had been postponed due to an injury.[152] While the game was played for the full 60 minutes, the Predators were allowed to maintain their 1-0 lead from the original game and won 3-2.[151] The Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy with a 58-16-8 record, earning them 124 points and secured home ice advantage for the entire playoffs.[153][154] They opened the 2006 playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers with a 3-2 overtime victory at Joe Louis Arena, but the Oilers won four of the next five games to take the series.[155][156]

Continuing the shakeup of the Red Wings roster, the offseason saw the departure of Brendan Shanahan, the return of Dominik Hasek and the retirement of Steve Yzerman.[157][142][158] Yzerman retired with the additional distinction of having been the longest-serving team captain in NHL history.[159]

Nicklas Lidstrom and the "Euro-Twins" era (2006-2012)

The Red Wings opened the 2006-07 season with Nicklas Lidstrom as the new captain.[160] The team retired Yzerman's jersey number 19 on January 2, 2007.[161][162] The Red 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 because they had more wins.[163][164][165] Detroit advanced to the third round of the 2007 playoffs after defeating Calgary and the San Jose Sharks both in six games, coming back to win three-straight after the Sharks had a 2-1 series lead.[166][167][168] The Red Wings would then lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference finals in six games.[136][169]

Niklas Kronwall handing over the Stanley Cup after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.

To start the 2007-08 campaign, Zetterberg recorded at least a point in each of Detroit's first 17 games, setting a club record.[170] The Wings cruised to the playoffs, where they faced the Nashville Predators.[171] After goaltender Dominik Hasek played poorly in Games 3 and 4 of the series, both losses, head coach Mike Babcock replaced him with Chris Osgood.[172] Osgood never left the net for the remainder of the playoffs, as the Red Wings came back in that series on their way to winning their 11th Stanley Cup.[173][174] The final victory came in Game 6 on June 4, 2008, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2. This was the Red Wings' fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years.[174] Zetterberg scored the winning goal in the decisive game, and was also named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.[174] It was the first time a team captained by a non-North American player (Lidstrom) won the Stanley Cup.[175]

On July 2, 2008, the Red Wings announced the signing of Marian Hossa.[176] On January 1, 2009, the Red Wings played the Chicago Blackhawks in the second NHL Winter Classic at Chicago's Wrigley Field, defeating them 6-4.[177] Although they finished second in the conference to the San Jose Sharks, the Wings became the first team in NHL history to top 100 points in nine straight seasons.[178][179] In the playoffs, the Red Wings swept the Columbus Blue Jackets, then defeated the eighth-seeded Anaheim Ducks in a hard-fought seven game series.[180][181] They took on the vastly improved Chicago Blackhawks in the conference finals, winning in five games.[182] The Red Wings would face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals for a second consecutive year, but this series would feature a different outcome as the Penguins defeated the Red Wings in seven games.[183] The Red Wings became only the second NHL team to lose the Stanley Cup at home in Game 7.[184]

Nicklas Lidstrom during the 2009-10 season. Named captain in 2006, he maintained the position until his retirement in 2012.

The Red Wings began the 2009-10 NHL season in Stockholm, losing both games to the St. Louis Blues 4-3 and 5-3, respectively.[185] They were plagued by injuries throughout the season and lost the second most man games to injury, with only the last place Edmonton Oilers losing more.[186][187] The beginning of the season was a struggle for the Red Wings, with key players out of the lineup, including Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall.[186] After the Olympic break, Detroit posted a record of 13-3-2 and earned 28 points, the most by any team in the NHL.[188] This run helped them secure the fifth playoff seed in the Western Conference.[189] Detroit won their first-round playoff series over the Phoenix Coyotes in seven games.[190] In the second round, they would be defeated by the San Jose Sharks in five games.[191]

A healthier Red Wings team finished the 2010-11 NHL season with a 47-25-10 record and 104 points to win the Central Division title.[192] They once again faced the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs, this time sweeping them 4-0.[193] The Red Wings then went go to face the Sharks in round two. After losing the first three games of the series, the Red Wings won three consecutive games to force a Game 7, becoming just the eighth team in NHL history to accomplish the feat.[194][195] The Red Wings lost Game 7 to the Sharks by a score of 3-2 and were eliminated.[196]

During the 2011 off-season, Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski retired.[197] Detroit soon signed free agent defenseman Ian White to take his place.[198] Long-time Red Wings Chris Osgood and Kris Draper also announced their retirement from hockey, with both soon taking positions within the club.[199][200] Detroit signed goaltender Ty Conklin for his second tour of duty with the team.[201] Tragedy struck the organization and the rest of the NHL upon the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, which killed former Red Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon and defenseman Ruslan Salei, who had joined the KHL team during the summer. Stefan Liv, a former Red Wings goaltending prospect, was also among the fatalities.[202][203] The Red Wings then added a patch to the left arm of their uniforms with the trio's initials.[204]

During the season, the Red Wings won an NHL-record 23 consecutive home games.[205][206] The Red Wings also made the NHL playoffs, extending their streak of 21-straight playoff appearances, as the fifth seed.[207][208] They were defeated in five games by their opening round opponent, the Nashville Predators.[209] On May 31, 2012, Nicklas Lidstrom retired.[210]

The final seasons at Joe Louis Arena (2012-2017)

Ken Holland and Mike Babcock named Henrik Zetterberg as the team captain in 2013.

Zetterberg was named successor to Lidstrom as team captain.[211] On July 1, 2012, the first day of the NHL free agency period, the Red Wings signed Swiss forward Damien Brunner to a one-year, entry-level contract; forward Jordin Tootoo to a three-year, $5.7 million contract; and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a two-year, $3 million deal.[212][213][214]

The team won their final four games of the 2012-13 season to earn the seventh seed of the playoffs. The Red Wings' 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on April 27, 2013 preserved their streak of 22 consecutive playoff appearances. As the seventh seed in the 2013 playoffs, the Red Wings faced the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks.[215] They survived a fierce battle that included four overtime games, winning the series 4-3 after a 3-2 Game 7 victory in Anaheim.[216] The next round pitted the Red Wings against the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks. Despite jumping out to a 3-1 series lead, the Red Wings would ultimately lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champions in seven games.[217][218]

On July 5, 2013, the Red Wings signed long time Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson to a one-year contract and long time Florida Panther Stephen Weiss to a five-year contract.[219][220] In the 2013-14 season, the Red Wings moved to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference as part of the NHL's realignment.[221] Prior to the team's move to the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings was the last Western Conference franchise located in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. On April 9, 2014, the Red Wings clinched their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.[222] They would be eliminated in the first round by the Boston Bruins.[223]

On April 9, 2015, the Red Wings clinched their 24th consecutive playoff appearance, thus extending their streak.[224] The team was eliminated in the first round by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Petr Mrazek had earned the starting goaltender role from Jimmy Howard, and Kronwall was suspended for Game 7 as Tampa Bay erased a 3-2 deficit to win the series.[225][226] Mike Babcock, concluding the final year of his contract, left the Red Wings to become the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.[227]Jeff Blashill, head coach of the Red Wings' top minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, was named his successor on June 9.[228]

On April 9, 2016, despite the Red Wings losing 3-2 to the New York Rangers, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Boston Bruins 6-1 as the Red Wings narrowly made the playoffs and extended their streak to a 25th season.[229] They would lose in the first round to the Lightning in five games.[230]

On February 10, 2017, club owner Mike Ilitch died.[231] The Red Wings' playoff appearance streak ended after 25 seasons in the 2016-17 season.[232] The Red Wings won their last game at Joe Louis Arena 4-1 on April 9, 2017, against the New Jersey Devils.[233]

The opening of Little Caesars Arena and rebuilding (2017-present)

The Red Wings played their first regular season game at Little Caesars Arena on October 5, 2017, winning 4-2 over the Minnesota Wild.[234] The Red Wings finished the 2017-18 season with a 30-39-13 record. They missed the playoffs for the second season in a row, marking the first time since the early 1980s the team missed the playoffs in consecutive years.[235][236] The Red Wings finished the 2018-19 season with a 32-40-10 record, missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season.[237]

On April 19, 2019, the Red Wings announced that Steve Yzerman would rejoin the team as general manager and executive vice president.[238]

Team information

Logo and uniforms

The alternate logo used by the Red Wings from 1932 to 1934.

The Red Wings' jerseys (traditionally known in hockey as "sweaters") have been more or less the same since the 1930s - a white or red base with red or white piping. The only significant changes have been the replacement of the word Detroit with the "winged wheel" logo in 1932, and vertical arch lettering for the players' names and block letters in 1983.[239] The Red Wings only wear the vertical arched letters in the regular season and playoffs, while using straight serifed nameplates during the preseason.[240][241]

The Hockey News voted the Red Wings' "winged wheel" logo the second best in the league in 2008.[242] The Red Wings, like all NHL teams, updated their jerseys to the new Rbk Edge standard for the 2007-08 NHL season.[243] The Red Wings kept their design as close to original as possible, the exceptions being: On the road (white) jersey, there was more red on the sleeves as the color panel began closer to the shoulder, and the letters of the captain and alternate captains were moved to the right shoulder.[244][245]

When Adidas became the uniform outfitter starting with the 2017-18 season, the Red Wings kept the same basic look.[246][247]

The Red Wings have rarely 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 on January 27, 1994 at Chicago Stadium.[248][249] Those jerseys were based on the uniforms worn by the team (then the Detroit Cougars) in 1927-28.[250] 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.[248][249] This jersey served as the 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.[251]

The Red Wings wore alternative "retro" jerseys for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic in Chicago. The jerseys were based on the uniforms worn by the Detroit Cougars during their inaugural season of 1926-27.[252] These jerseys were white, with a single bold red stripe on the sleeves and chest, and a uniquely styled white Old English D centered on the chest stripe.[253] These jerseys were also worn for their final 2009 regular season home game, again against the Chicago Blackhawks.[254] The Red Wings again used an alternate jersey mimicking throwback jerseys for the 2014 NHL Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.[255]

The Red Wings wore a specially designed one-time only jersey for their Stadium Series game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche on February 27, 2016. The majority of this jersey was the traditional red, decorated with a thick diagonal white stripe running from the player's right shoulder across the front towards the left hip. The bottom of each sleeve featured a thick white stripe from wrist to elbow. The crest on the front of the jersey was a stylized red D. The words "Red Wings" were printed in all capital letters on the left side of the collar, and the phrase "EST. 1926" was printed inside the back of the collar. These jerseys featured the current Red Wings logo on the left shoulder cap. The names and numbers were printed larger than traditional NHL jerseys to increase visibility and player identification for fans watching the game at Coors Field, a stadium traditionally used for Major League Baseball.[256][257][258]

The Red Wings unveiled a uniform patch on September 27, 2016 to honor Gordie Howe, who died on June 10, 2016. The patch was a depiction of Howe's jersey number 9, and was worn by the team above the logo on the front of the jersey on the left side of the chest for all 82 regular season games during the 2016-17 season.[259]

The Red Wings wore a specially designed one-time only jersey for the Centennial Classic in Toronto against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 1, 2017. It was a white jersey that had four stripes on the arms. Three of the stripes were red, while the fourth was silver. On the silver stripes were the years the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. The logo and numbers were outlined in silver.[260]

The Red Wings' logo received significant media attention in August 2017 when it was discovered that a white supremacist group used a modified version of it, in which the wheel's spokes consisted of the occult SS symbol Black Sun; it was the aegis of their shields during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. As a result, the Red Wings condemned the group for the usage of the logo and threatened legal action.[261][262]

Fan traditions

During the playoffs, Joe Louis Arena was adorned with a giant octopus, nicknamed Al. This stems from a fan tradition.

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.[263] During the playoffs, Joe Louis Arena was generally adorned with a giant octopus with red eyes, nicknamed "Al" after head ice manager Al Sobotka.[264]

The 1952 playoffs featured the start of the octopus throw. The owner of a local fish market, Peter Cusimano, threw one from the stands onto the ice. The eight legs are 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.[265][266]

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 Red Wings organization that forbade Zamboni drivers from cleaning up any octopuses thrown onto the ice; he said that violating the mandate would result in a $10,000 fine.[267] Instead, it was to be the linesmen who performed this duty.[267] 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 Sobotka does it.[267] This ban was later loosened to allow for the octopus twirling to take place at the Zamboni entrance.[268]

Typically during the last minute or two of games that the Red Wings are winning, especially around the end of the season and during the playoffs, fans are known to start singing along to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." The song is played over the PA system and continues until it is muted while the crowd sings the words "Born and raised in South Detroit", then the song resumes over the speakers in the arena.[269][270][271]


The Red Wings' flagship radio stations are Detroit sister stations WXYT-AM 1270 and WXYT-FM 97.1. Games are carried on both stations unless there is a conflict with Detroit Tigers baseball. There are several affiliate stations throughout Michigan and Southwestern Ontario.[272]

The Red Wings' exclusive local television rights are held by Fox Sports Detroit.[273]


  • Ken Daniels: Television play by play announcer.
  • Mickey Redmond: Television color commentator (home games and select away games).
  • Chris Osgood: Television color commentator (select away games that Redmond does not attend) and studio analyst (when not color commentator during play).
  • Larry Murphy: Studio analyst and television color commentator (select away games that Redmond and Osgood do not attend).
  • John Keating: Television pre-game and post-game show host.
  • Ken Kal: Radio play by play announcer.
  • Paul Woods: Radio analyst.
  • Trevor Thompson, Mickey York: TV pre-game and post-game show hosts and reporters.
  • Jeff Riger: Primary radio intermission and post-game host.

Honored broadcasters

Four members of the Red Wings organization have received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award:

Lynch called the first locally televised game at Olympia for the original WWJ-TV in 1949.[274] He remained with the organization for 63 years, serving as director of publicity from 1975 to 1982, and was the public address announcer from 1982 until his death in 2012.[274] From 2008 to 2012, a second PA announcer was added to work alongside him, first John Fossen, then Erich Freiny.[278][279] Freiny took over as the sole PA announcer following Lynch's death.[279]

Season-by-season record

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Detroit 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, ROW = Regulation + OT wins, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2014-15 82 43 25 14 100 235 221 3rd, Atlantic Lost in First Round, 3-4 (Lightning)
2015-16 82 41 30 11 93 211 224 3rd, Atlantic Lost in First Round, 1-4 (Lightning)
2016-17 82 33 36 13 79 207 244 7th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2017-18 82 30 39 13 73 217 255 5th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2018-19 82 32 40 10 74 227 277 7th, Atlantic Did not qualify


Current roster

Updated August 14, 2019.[280][281]

Hall of Fame members

The Detroit Red Wings acknowledge an affiliation with a number of inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Red Wings inductees include 63 former players and 11 builders of the sport.[282] The 11 individuals recognized as builders by the Hall of Fame includes former Red Wings executives, general managers, head coaches, and owners. In addition to players and builders, several broadcasters were also awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Budd Lynch, a radio play-by-play announcer, was the first Red Wings broadcaster to be awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. Lynch also served as Detroit's public address announcer from 1985 until his death in 2012. In addition to Lynch, Bruce Martyn, Mickey Redmond, and Dave Strader have also won the award.[282][275]

Retired numbers

Detroit Red Wings retired numbers
No. Player Position Career Number retirement
1 Terry Sawchuk G 1949-1955
March 6, 1994[283]
4 Red Kelly D 1947-1960 February 1, 2019[284]
5 Nicklas Lidstrom D 1991-2012 March 6, 2014[285]
7 Ted Lindsay LW 1944-1957
November 10, 1991[286]
9 Gordie Howe RW 1946-1971 March 12, 1972[287]
10 Alex Delvecchio C 1950-1974 November 10, 1991[288]
12 Sid Abel C 1938-1943
April 29, 1995[289]
19 Steve Yzerman C 1983-2006 January 2, 2007[162]

The Red Wings have retired eight numbers. The first number the Red Wings retired was No. 9 in 1972 in honor of Gordie Howe, who played right wing for the team from 1946 to 1971.[287] Howe won both the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy six times each and won the Stanley Cup as a Red Wing four times.[290] In 2007, the Red Wings retired Steve Yzerman's No. 19.[162] During Yzerman's career, he won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the Lester Patrick Trophy, and the Ted Lindsay Award.[291] Yzerman served as Detroit's captain for 19 seasons, an NHL record, and won the Stanley Cup three times as a player with the Red Wings.[162][291] The most recent retired number is Red Kelly's No. 4, which was retired on February 1, 2019.[284] During Kelly's 13-year career with the Red Wings, he won four Stanley Cups, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy three times, and the James Norris Memorial Trophy once.[292]

The banners of seven retired numbers. The banners, from left to right, read "Lidström 5" "Yzerman 19" "Sawchuk 1" "Delvecchio 10" "Lindsay 7" "Abel 12" "Howe 9". The Yzerman banner has a small C at the top right corner.
The banners of retired numbers hanging at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have also made the number 6 of Larry Aurie and the number 16 of Vladimir Konstantinov no longer available for issue. However, the numbers are not considered to be officially retired.[293] Although Aurie's number was retired in 1938 by James E. Norris, current team owners do not consider the number to be retired.[294] Konstantinov's number has not been issued to any player since he was permanently disabled in a vehicle accident after the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.[295] Number 99 is also unavailable as it was retired by the league in honor of Wayne Gretzky.[296]

Team captains

All the players who have served as team captain with the Detroit franchise.[297]

First-round draft picks

Franchise leaders

All-time leading scorers

These players rank in the top ten in franchise history in scoring as of the end of the 2018-19 season. Figures are updated after each completed NHL season.[298]

  •  *  - current Red Wings player

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game

All-time leading goaltenders

These players rank in the top ten in franchise history for wins as of the end of the 2018-19 season. Figures are updated after each completed NHL season. There is a four-way tie for ninth place in postseason wins, resulting in twelve players listed in that table.[299]

  •  *  - current Red Wings player

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OT = Overtime losses; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average; * = current Red Wings player

Franchise individual records

Recording six shutouts during the 2002 playoffs, Dominik Hasek set the franchise record for the most shutouts in a single postseason.

See also



  1. ^ a b Inductee only played for the Red Wings, and was not a team executive or members of the coaching staff. Despite their induction in the builders category, the team continues to acknowledge an affiliation with the Hall of Famer.


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