They are an Original Six hockey team and the winningest American franchise in the NHL. http://www.WatchMojo.com continues
our series on the Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time with a look at the Detroit Red Wings.
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Greatest Sports Franchises - the Detroit Red Wings
They are an Original Six hockey team and the winningest American franchise in the National Hockey League. Welcome to the WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be continuing our series of the most successful Sports Franchises with a look at the Detroit Red Wings.
Founded in 1926, the team traces its origins to the defunct Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League. The team played the home games of their inaugural season in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. However, by their second year they had relocated to the Detroit area to play in the Olympia Stadium. Their second year also marked the first year for Coach Jack Adams. This NHL legend has gone on to become the namesake for the trophy awarded to the league’s top coach.
The team struggled until 1932 when James Norris bought the team and christened them the Red Wings. It was Norris who introduced the club’s current logo, which is meant to represent the city’s role as the birthplace and center of the automotive industry. By 1936, the team won its first Stanley Cup, following up with another victory in 1937.
However, it wasn’t until 1946, the one of the all time greatest hockey players join the team, Canada’s Gordie Howe. A right-winger, he joined Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay in his second year. Those three went on to form the “Production Line,” which became one of the most dominant lines in league history.
The 1950’s and 60’s were house era with the Wings winning the Cup in 1950, ‘52, ‘54 and ‘55. By 1957, Ted Lindsay and the leading defenseman of his era, Montreal Canadien Doug Harvey, joined forces to help start the NHL Player’s Association. Because of this, Lindsay was swiftly traded, and this began a gradual slide for the once great team.
In the 1979-80 season, the Wings moves from the Olympia to the Joe Louis Arena. 1982 saw the changing of the guard, as the Norris family sold the club to the founder of Little Caesars’ Pizza, Mike Ilitch.
The following year, marked the beginning of a new era with the club drafting, Steve Yzerman with a fourth of pick in the 1983 amateur entry draft. But the team kept missing the playoffs so Coach Jacques Demers was fired and rumors of Yzerman’s impending trade persisted. Good thing the team didn’t pull the trigger, as the best was yet to come.
By 1994, former Canadians coach Scotty Bowman joined the team and took them in a markedly European direction. The result, however, was victorious. Slowly but surely, the team signed talented players and there success through other to join the club. Names like, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Darren McCarty, goaltender Mike Vernon, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Pavel Datsyuk filled the rosters.
The Red Wings won the Cup in 1997 for the first time since 1955, finally making the “Legend of the Octopus” bear fruit. This strange tradition sees an octopus thrown into the ice surface for good luck during playoff games. The victory in 1997 ended the longest Cup drought in the league.
Vladimir Konstantinov’s career was cut short following the 1997 Stanley Cup win as a result of limousine crash. The team dedicated the next season to their recovering teammate, and repeated as Champions in 1998.
In 2005, they hired former Anaheim Ducks coach Mike Babcock, and he led the team to yet another win in 2008. That team featured such stars as Henrik Zetterberg and goalie Chris Osgood, who had replaced a struggling Dominik Hašek.
Today, with 11 wins, the team trails only the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs in total Stanley Cup victories.
After years of struggles, the Wings have recaptured the spirit of their glory days of the mid-20th century, and are perennial favorites to go all the way.