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Red Wings: Story Behind the Storied Team

Most people know that it’s the Red Wings’ 19th consecutive appearance in the playoffs. While many will say it’s easy to get into the playoffs in the NHL the rest of the sports world would disagree. Not only are they the only NHL team to accomplish this feat, but they are the only professional team in the ENTIRE North American continent to make it to the playoffs 19 consecutive times. This is the 10th consecutive time the club has gotten 100 pts (not goals, points) in a season and the first time since 1990-1991 that they have not had home ice advantage. So what else is there that the Wings do that few of us know? Here’s their backstory and some fun facts about the team everyone loves to hate.

Detroit is one of two teams in the playoffs that has a rookie goaltender that is competiting for the Calder this year. In Boston Tuukka Rask is getting it done for the Bruins, he leads the league in fewest goals allowed. Jimmy Howard, however, is playing more than Rask and has veteran leadership as a mentor, teammate, and coach.

Of the sixteen teams in the playoffs there are only four coaches who have helped their team win a Stanley Cup. Mike Babcock, Dan Blysma, Peter Laviolette and Jacques Lemaire. Of those four Babcock and Lemaire have gold medals from coaching Team Canada this past Olympics. And of those two, Babcock has also helped get Team Canada to gold in the World Championships. He’s the first and only coach to be a member of the Triple Gold Club, the exclusive club where the creme de la creme have to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics, Stanley Cup, and a Gold in the World Championships. If that weren’t enough Babcock is looking to become the first coach to win a Gold Medal and a Stanley Cup in the same season.

Leadership on the ice and off the bench is easy to find with the Red Wings as well. Of the playoff bound teams Captain Nicklas Lidstrom has played in the most playoff games with 235. He leads playoff points with 165 and is second in goals with 46. Pavel Datsyuk lead the team in scoring for the fifth consecutive season. Even with the storied history of the Red Wings no other leader produced that streak.

Perhaps the biggest thing Detroit has going for them is confidence. They battled through injuries all season long. It seemed the Olympics could not have come at a better time. Two weeks for their players to rest. Two weeks for the injured players to miss without affecting the team. After the Olympic Break the Red Wings came back to show those who wrote them off why that was a mistake. In their last 21 games they went 16-3-2.

It only seems fitting that the team the Red Wings will face are the Phoenix Coyotes. While Wings fans are known for throwing an octupus on ice (each tentacle was to represent the # of wins needed to win a Cup in the old days when there were only six teams) it seems the newest trend in Arizona is to ‘throw a snake’ on ice. So here’s the question fans, which creature will come out on top: Snake or Octupus?

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