Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Greatest Detroit Red Wings of All-time

I've recently posted a list of the first and second teams of the all-time best Detroit Tigers players and thought I should also make a list of the best Red Wings players of all-time.  Here is that list:

First Team:

Goalie: Terry Sawchuk- The greatest goalie in team history, and maybe the greatest ever.  Played for the Wings from 1949-1955, 1957-1964 and the 1968-69 season.  Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971.  Stanley Cup championship (1952, 1954, 1955), Calder Memorial Trophy (1951), Vezina Trophy (1952, 1953, 1955), Lester Patrick Award (1971), First Team All-Star (1951-1953), Second Team All-Star (1954, 1955, 1959), Played in NHL All-Star Game (1950-1956, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1968).  Holds the team records for games played, wins and shutouts.  His number 1 sweater was retired by the Red Wings in 1994.  The Red Wings signed him to a professional contract in 1947, and he quickly progressed through their developmental system, winning honors as the Rookie of the Year in both the U.S. and American Hockey Leagues.  Sawchuk also filled in for seven games when the Detroit goalie Harry Lumley was injured in January 1950.  Sawchuk showed such promise that the Red Wings traded Lumley to the Blackhawks, though he had just led the team to the 1949–1950 Stanley Cup.  Nicknamed "Ukey" or "The Uke" by his teammates because of his Ukrainian ancestry.  As the years progressed his personality seemed to change, becoming sullen and withdrawn.  He became increasingly surly with reporters and fans, preferred doing crossword puzzles to giving interviews.  Also contributing to his moodiness and self-doubt was the pressure of playing day in and day out despite repeated injuries — there were no backup goaltenders.  He frequently played through pain, and during his career he had three operations on his right elbow, an appendectomy, countless cuts and bruises, a broken instep, a collapsed lung, ruptured discs in his back, and severed tendons in his hand.  Years of crouching in the net caused Sawchuk to walk with a permanent stoop and resulted in lordosis (swayback), which prevented him from sleeping for more than two hours at a time.  He also received approximately 400 stitches to his face (including three in his right eyeball) before finally adopting a protective facemask in 1962.  In 1966, Life Magazine had a make-up artist apply stitches and scars to Sawchuk's face to demonstrate all of the injuries to his face over the years. The make-up artist did not have enough room for everything.

Defenseman: Nicklas Lidstrom-  By far the best defenseman the Wings have ever seen and arguably the best NHL defenseman ever.  Played for the Red Wings from 1991 until 2012.  Four-time Stanley Cup champion (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008), Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2002), seven-time Norris Trophy winner (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011), ten-time First Team All-Star (1998-2003, 2006-2008, 2011), two-time Second Team All-Star (2009, 2010), Played in twelve All-Star games (1996, 1998-2004, 2007-2009, 2011).  Holds team records for goals, assists, points, +/- and powerplay goals for defensemen.  Lidstrom is considered one of the top defenseman of his generation and a legend of the game, as indicated by his numerous Norris Trophies.  He has been nominated for the award a total of twelve times and finished no worse than 6th place in Norris Trophy voting.  With the exception of the lockout year, Lidstrom has been on a playoff team in every season since his rookie year of 1991–92, which adds up to an NHL record 20 consecutive playoff seasons (shared with Larry Robinson).  On October 22, 2011, in a game against the Washington Capitals, he became the 14th player in the history of the NHL to play 1,500 games.  He is the first player not born in North-America and the first player to accomplish this in only his 20th season.  Lidstrom played in his 1,550th game on February 12, 2012 against the Philadelphia Flyers, surpassing Alex Delvecchio's previous Red Wings' record of 1,549 games.  This also makes him the NHL player who has played the most games while always playing for the same NHL team (Gordie Howe played more games - 1,687 - with the Red Wings but also played for the Hartford Whalers in one season).  In this regard, Lidstrom joins former Red Wings Alex Delvecchio and Steve Yzerman as the only 3 players with over 1,500 games having played exclusively for just one team throughout their careers.  On June 3, 2012, Lidstrom and his wife took out a full-page ad giving thanks to the city of Detroit for making his family feel at home for the past 21 years.  On July 8, 2012, Lidstrom was named a scout for the Detroit Red Wings. During the 2013-14 season, Lidstrom will have his number 5 retired by the Red Wings. It was originally going to be retired on February 5, 2013, but the lockout forced the ceremony to take place during the 2013-14 season, when he will be able to attend the ceremony.

Defenseman: Red Kelly- The second best defenseman in Wings history, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.  Four-time Stanley Cup champion (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955), Norris Trophy winner (1954), Lady Byng Trophy (1951, 1953, 1954), six-time First Team All-Star (1951-1955, 1957), two-time Second Team All-Star (1950, 1956).  An exceptional player at both ends of the ice, Kelly was known not only for his great checking skills as a defenceman, but also for his exceptional puck-handling and passing skills as well.  Kelly used all these elements to help the Red Wings move the puck down the ice very quickly.  When injuries hampered the team, he sometimes played as a forward (a position he adapted to easily when needed).  In over 12 years as a Red Wing the team won eight regular-season championships.  He started his junior career playing for the St. Michael's Majors, he was encouraged to refine his style by his coach, former Leaf great Joe Primeau.  Although the Majors were usually a talent pipeline for the Maple Leafs, the NHL club passed on Kelly after a scout predicted he would not last 20 games in the NHL, and the 19-year old joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1947. In 1954 he was runner-up for the Hart Trophy.

Left Wing:- Ted Lindsay-Known around the NHL as "Scarface" and "Terrible Ted", Lidsay was a fixture at left wing for Detroit from 1944 until 1957 and again in 1964. He amassed 335 goals, 393 assists and 728 points in 862 games as a Wing. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, he won four Stanley Cups (1950, 52, 54, 55) and won the Art Ross Trophy in 1950. He was a First Team All-Star eight times, a Second Team All-Star once and played in eleven All-Star games. His number 7 was retired by Detroit in 1991. Playing left wing with center Sid Abel and right winger Gordie Howe, on what the media and fans dubbed the "Production Line," Lindsay became one of the NHL's premier players. Although small in stature compared to most players in the league, he was a fierce competitor. His rough play caused the NHL to develop penalties for 'elbowing' and 'kneeing' to discourage hitting between players using the elbows and knees. He appeared with Howe on the cover of a March 1957 Sports Illustrated issue. Lindsay was the first player to lift the Cup and skate around the rink with it, starting a great tradition. During a 2013 signing in the Greater Vancouver area, Lindsay is quoted as telling a fan that he didn't mean to start a tradition, that he only wanted to bring the cup to the rinks edge where the fans could see it. He did not lift the cup above his head at that moment, as was adopted in subsequent years. At a time when teams literally owned their players for their entire careers, the players began demanding such basics as a minimum salary and a properly funded pension plan. While team owners were getting rich with sold out arenas game after game, players were earning a pittance and many needed summer jobs to make a living. Almost all of these men had no more than a high school education and had been playing hockey as a profession all their working life. Superstars in the 1950s earned less than $25,000 a year and when their playing days were over, they had nothing to fall back on and had to accept whatever work they could get in order to survive. Lindsay and star defenceman Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens led a small group in an effort to organize the first National Hockey League Players' Association. In secret, all of the players at the time were contacted and asked for their support to form an "association", not a "union", which was considered going too far. Support was nearly unanimous. Lindsay, one of the league's top players, was first stripped of his captaincy, then was traded to the struggling Chicago Blackhawks. Jack Adams then planted rumours about Lindsay and false defamatory comments by him against his old team in the press, and showed a fake contract to the press, showing an inflated annual salary. The ruse worked and the Red Wings players rejected the union. Harvey suffered a similar fate, being traded from Montreal to the New York Rangers.

Center:- Steve Yzerman- Known as the "Captain" and Stevie Y. Ater Gordie Howe the best forward in Detroit history. Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, won four Stanley Cups (1997, 98, 02, 08), Conn Smythe Trophy winner (1997), Selke Trophy winner (2000), Lindsay Trophy winner (1989), Masterton Trophy winner(2003), Patrick Trophy winner (2006), Ten-time All-Star (1984, 1988-93, 97, 99, 00). In 1984 he was the first 18 year old ever named to the All-Star team. Longest serving Captain for one team in NHL history, first in team history in assists, second in goals and points and fourth in games played. Eighth in NHL history in goals, seventh in assists and sixth in points. His number 19 was retired by the Red Wings in January 2007. One-time First Team All-Star (2000). The 1983 NHL Entry Draft was the first for Mike and Marian Ilitch, who had purchased the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 1982. Jim Devellano, the Red Wings' then-general manager, wanted to draft Pat LaFontaine, who had grown up outside Detroit and played his junior hockey in the area; however, when the New York Islanders took LaFontaine third overall, Devellano settled on Yzerman, drafting him fourth. The Red Wings were prepared to send Yzerman back to Peterborough for one more year, but "after one (training camp) season, you knew he was a tremendous hockey player," said Ken Holland, the current Red Wings general manager who was a minor league goaltender for the Wings during Yzerman's rookie training camp. Yzerman tallied 39 goals and 87 points in his rookie season, and finished second in Calder Memorial Trophy voting. During the 1988–89 season Yzerman recorded 155 points (65 goals/90 assists), a total that only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have surpassed. Yzerman finished third in regular season scoring behind Lemieux and Gretzky, won the Lester B. Pearson Award and was a finalist for the Hart Trophy. When Scotty Bowman took over as coach in 1993, Yzerman initially chafed under Bowman's stern coaching style. Bowman, for his part, felt that Yzerman was not concentrating enough on defence; Bowman had long expected his forwards to be good back-checkers as well. Relations between the two became so strained that at one point, the Red Wings seriously considered trading him to the then-moribund Ottawa Senators. However, Yzerman gradually became a better defender, and is now considered one of the best two-way forwards in the history of the game. In 1997, Yzerman put to rest all doubts of his ability to lead a team to a championship as Detroit won its first Stanley Cup in 42 years by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers. The following year Detroit repeated the feat, sweeping the Washington Capitals and winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup title. Yzerman earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. He handed the Cup first to the wheelchair-bound Vladimir Konstantinov, who had been severely injured in a car accident just six days after the Cup victory in 1997.

Right Wing: Gordie Howe-Mr. Hockey is the greatest Red Wing of all-time and is arguably the best NHL player ever. Played for the Red Wings from 1947 to 1971, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972, his number 9 sweater was retired by Detroit in March 1972. Four-time Stanley Cup champion (1950, 52, 54, 55), six-time Art Ross Trophy winner (1951-1954, 57, 63), six-time Hart Trophy winner (1952, 53, 57, 58, 60, 63), Lester Patrick Trophy winner (1967). 23-time NHL All-Star, twelve-time First Team All-Star, nine-time Second Team All-Star. Howe made his NHL debut in 1946 at the age of 18, playing right wing for the Detroit Red Wings, for which he wore #17 as a rookie. When Roy Conacher moved on to the Chicago Black Hawks after the 1946–47 season, however, Howe was offered Conacher's #9, which he would wear for the rest of his career (although he had not requested the change, Howe accepted it when he was informed that "9" would entitle him to a lower Pullman berth on road trips). He quickly established himself as a great goal scorer and a gifted playmaker with a willingness to fight. In fact, Howe fought so often in his rookie season that coach Jack Adams told him, "I know you can fight. Now can you show me you can play hockey?" The term Gordie Howe hat trick (consisting of a goal, an assist, and a fight) was coined in reference to his penchant for fighting. It should be noted, however, that Howe himself only recorded two Gordie Howe hat tricks in his career, on October 10, 1953, and March 21, 1954. Using his great physical strength, he was able to dominate the opposition in a career that spanned five decades. In a feat unsurpassed by any hockey player, he finished in the top five in scoring for twenty straight seasons. Howe also scored 20 or more goals in 22 consecutive seasons between 1949 and 1971, an NHL record. Howe led Detroit to four Stanley Cups and to first place in regular season play for seven consecutive years (1948–49 to 1955–56), a feat never equaled in NHL history. During this time Howe and his linemates, Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay, were known collectively as "The Production Line", both for their scoring and as an allusion to Detroit auto factories. The trio dominated the league in such a fashion that in 1949–50, they finished one-two-three in league scoring. Howe had been in his prime during a defensive era, the 1940s and 1950s, when scoring was difficult and checking was tight. As Howe emerged as one of the game's superstars, he was frequently compared to the Montreal Canadiens' Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Both were right wingers who wore the same sweater number (9), were frequently contenders for the league scoring title, and could also play rough if needed. During their first encounter in the Montreal Forum, when Howe was a rookie, he knocked Richard out cold with a punch after being shoved. The Red Wings and Canadiens faced off in four Stanley Cup finals during the 1950s. When Richard retired in 1960, he paid tribute to Howe, saying "Gordie could do everything." At the time of his retirement, Howe's professional totals, including playoffs, for the NHL and WHA combined, were first. He finished with 2,421 games played, 1,071 goals, 1,518 assists, and 2,589 points. Wayne Gretzky has since passed him in goals (1,072), assists (2,297), and points (3,369), but not games played (1,767) or games played with one team (1,687). It is unlikely that anyone will surpass Howe's total professional games played. Mark Messier retired only 11 NHL games behind Howe at 1,756 (and counting minor league action and playoffs, 2,048 total professional games), but this is over five seasons away from 2,478 total professional games (including minor league action), almost a thousand games ahead of the active career leader at the end of 2012 (Roman Hamrlik).

Coach: Jack Adams- The winningest coach in team history with 413 wins, 390 loses and 161 ties, Most of those wins came without a contract; when James Norris bought the team he'd torn up Adams' contract and given him a year on his job on probation and a handshake. As it turned out, one year became 15 years. Seven-time Stanley Cup champion (1936, 37, 43, 50, 52, 54, 55), elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1959. Two-time First Team All-Star coach (1937, 43), Second Team All-Star coach (1945). At first, the team struggled under his leadership, making the playoffs only two times in his first five years at the helm. A name change to the Detroit Falcons in 1930 did not improve the team's performance. Detroit's fortunes changed in 1932, when Norris bought the Falcons and renamed them the Detroit Red Wings. Norris gave the Red Wings the financing they needed to become an NHL power. By 1947, Adams had built a farm team system which trained Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuk, Ted Lindsay, Red Kelly, Sid Abel, and most notably Gordie Howe. It was this core group of players which led the Red Wings to seven straight regular season first-place finishes from 1948 to 1955, along with four more Cups—making Adams the only man to have his name on the Stanley Cup as a player, coach and general manager. Adams was known for being wary of letting his teams get complacent, and was not shy about orchestrating blockbuster trades to keep them on their toes—a philosophy which won him the nickname "Trader Jack." His implulse was slightly restrained after Norris died in 1952 and was succeeded by his daughter, Marguerite Norris. She and Adams never got along very well. While she could have summarily fired Adams since he was still without a contract, she did not do so. In 1957, Adams traded Ted Lindsay to Chicago because of union-organizing efforts and other players affiliated with the effort being sent to the minors. As part of the union busting efforts, Adams spread fake rumours attributing Lindsay as criticizing his former team-mates. Adams also showed a fake contract to Detroit reporters, claiming Lindsay was being paid $25,000 per year, when he was being paid $13,000. The efforts resulted in most of the core of this team leaving town and eventually led to Adams being fired in 1963. His 36-year tenure as general manager is the longest in NHL history. He served 31 of those years on a handshake; after 1932 he never signed a contract with the Wings. Adams had also been involved in an incident in 1942, when he had an outburst due to his belief of biased penalty calling, which led to a fit of rage and ultimately a referee getting punched in game three of the 1942 Stanley Cup Final, becoming the first coach to be suspended in a Final. In 1963, Adams became founding president of the Central Hockey League, a post he held until his death at his desk in 1968.

Second Team:

Goalie: Chris Osgood- I know this could be a controversial choice based on the love/hate relationship Wings fans have had with Osgood but numbers don't lie. Played for the Wings from 1993-2001 and 2005 to 2011. 317 wins, 149 loses, 46 ties, 29 overtime loses, 2.49 goals against average and a .905 save percentage in 565 games. Three-time Stanley Cup champion (1997, 98, 08), Two-time Jennings Trophy winner (1996, shared with Mike Vernon, 2008, shared with Dominik Hasek), Second Team All-Star (1996), Three-time NHL All-Star (1996, 97, 08), First goaltender since Terry Sawchuk to win Stanley Cups ten years or more apart as a starter (Sawchuk in 1955 and 1967), tenth all-time in NHL history for career wins, seventh in GAA. Osgood became the fourth goaltender to man the crease for Detroit that season alongside Tim Cheveldae, Vincent Riendeau, and Peter Ing. Cheveldae, the team's primary starter and a former All-Star, along with Dallas Drake, was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for veteran goaltender Bob Essensa and defenceman Sergei Bautin. Essensa did not have a strong showing in a 13-game stint at the end of the regular season, and Osgood was named the primary goaltender for the playoffs. The heavily favored Red Wings were defeated in seven games by the San Jose Sharks. The most memorable scene of the series occurred in the deciding game. With the game tied 3–3 late in the third period, Osgood went to clear a puck around the boards, but it landed on Sharks forward Jamie Baker’s stick who then scored the winning goal. Overtaken by remorse at his untimely mistake, the young goaltender wept at his stall following the game. Following the season, Detroit management felt that the team needed a strong veteran goaltender with Stanley Cup playoff experience. In the summer of 1994, the Red Wings traded defenceman Steve Chiasson to the Calgary Flames for goaltender Mike Vernon, who had previously helped the Flames to the Stanley Cup title in 1989. In 1997, Osgood and Vernon shared starting goaltender duties in the regular season, but when the playoffs started, virtually all the playing time went to Vernon, who ended up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. In the end, Osgood had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup as the Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers in four games to win their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. After the Cup win in 1997, Vernon was traded to the San Jose Sharks, which made Osgood Detroit's number-one goaltender. Again, the Red Wings were able to advance to the Stanley Cup finals and defeated the Washington Capitals in another four game sweep to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. On April 1, 1998, he was in a goalie fight with Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy. Roy had a fight with Vernon the previous year on March 26, 1997. Osgood remained the primary goaltender for Detroit until the summer of 2001, working alongside Ken Wregget, and Manny LegacĂ© before being put on waivers and picked up by the New York Islanders. On August 8, 2005, Detroit brought Osgood back with a two-year, $800,000 USD contract. After Hasek performed poorly in Games 3 and 4 of their 2008 first round series with the Nashville Predators, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock decided to pull him in favor of Osgood midway through Game 4 and named him the starter for game 5 of the series. With Osgood in goal, the Red Wings won their next nine playoff games in a row, defeating the Predators and sweeping the Colorado Avalanche as well as dealing the Dallas Stars a three-game deficit. Though the Stars battled back, winning their next two games, Osgood shone in game 6, stopping all but one shot in a game riddled with Red Wings penalties, sending them to the Stanley Cup Finals to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins. In games one and two of the Stanley Cup finals, Osgood had back-to-back shutouts, making him the fourth goalie in NHL history to start the Finals with back-to-back shutouts. Between the two games, he made a total of 41 saves. His save as time expired in Game Six sealed the Stanley Cup win for the Red Wings and for Osgood, who won his second championship as a starting goaltender.

Defenseman: Black Jack Stewart- Played for the Red Wings from 1938 to 1950. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964. Two-time Stanley Cup champion (1943, 50), three-time First Team All-Star (1943, 48, 49), two-time Second Team All-Star (1946, 47). 30 goal, 79 assists, 109 points, 704 penalty minutes in 502 games. During his career, Stewart was regarded as one of the hardest bodycheckers in the National Hockey League. He also carried the heaviest stick in the league, explaining that "I don't use it for scoring. I use it for breaking arms". Stewart was known for his large grin when hitting opponents; teammate Ted Lindsay noted "when he had that smile, it was time for the opposition to look out". He led the league with 73 penalty minutes in 1945–46, and in the late 1940s, his rivalry with Milt Schmidt of the Boston Bruins was so intense that their physical interactions occasionally overshadowed the games themselves. Stewart hated his nickname of "Black Jack", believing it implied he was a dirty player. Hockey Hall of Fame defenceman King Clancy agreed he was not a dirty, but stated he was the "roughest son of a gun you'd ever want to meet." His style of play resulted in numerous injuries; Stewart had dozens of scars and required over 200 stitches to close various cuts during his career. One year saw him play the entire season with a broken hand. Stewart showed good judgment as a defenceman, rarely taking himself out of position to throw a hit.  His coach in Detroit, Jack Adams, called Stewart "one of the best blueliners in the game", and claimed he was the best defenceman in Red Wings history. He was regarded as a good skater, able to clear the puck out of his zone and who rarely turned it over to the other team. A solid work ethic and excellent stamina were also major features of the rugged defender's game. He was a wiry 185 pounds but extremely powerful. Stewart spent his younger days and off-seasons as a pro on the family wheat farm in Pilot Mound, Manitoba. During World War II, he spent a year with the Montreal RCAF and afterward with the Winnipeg detachment. After the war he returned to Detroit and was teamed successfully with Bill Quackenbush on defense. As a unit the two made life difficult for the opposition, but in different ways. Stewart used brute force and strength to nullify opposing forwards while his partner used positioning and subtle clutching and grabbing to defend the goal.

Defenseman: Marcel Pronovost- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978. Four-time Stanley Cup champion (1950, 52, 53, 54), two-time First Team All-Star (1960, 61), two-time Second Team All-Star (1958, 59). Marcel was one of the best defensive defenceman of his era. He was an important member of the 1950s Red Wings winning four Stanley Cups in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955, known for having a a very good hip check. A player like Pronovost, who delivered hits and took even more on his rushes, could expect to receive a daunting array of injuries. In one three-game stretch with the Red Wings, his face was struck by seemingly every conceivable hard surface in a rink - the puck, when his own goalie attempted to clear it; an opponent's stick, though not on purpose; and, on a memorable dive through two defenders, the ice, the net and then the boards. He had four long cuts requiring stitches and a broken nose from the week's work. He estimated at the end of his career that he had broken his nose 14 times, and the list of his many aches and pains reads like a medical exam for trauma care.

Left Wing: Syd Howe- Played for the Red Wings from 1934 to 1946. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1969), Three-time Stanley Cup champion (1936, 37, 43). The St. Louis Eagles sold Howe in February 1935 to the Detroit Red Wings, where his career could finally get on track. Howe was on the ice in the Montreal Forum at 2:25 a.m. on March 25, 1936, when Mud Bruneteau scored in the sixth overtime period to give Detroit the win in game one of the best-of-five semi-final against the Maroons, the longest game in league history. Detroit went on to win the series and the Stanley Cup that spring and followed up with another Cup victory in 1937. On March 19, 1940, Howe scored 25 seconds into overtime to give the Wings a 2–1 victory over the New York Americans in game one of the quarter-finals. It was Howe's most cherished moment of his career and would stand as the fastest overtime goal scored in NHL history for the next 29 years. He also set the modern-day NHL record by scoring six goals in a game on February 3, 1944, versus the New York Rangers, a record which has since been twice equaled but never bettered in over fifty years of play. In his NHL career, he scored 237 goals and 291 assists for 528 points in 691 games. In the playoffs, he totaled 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points in 70 games. He won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1936, 1937 and 1943. In 1934–35, he was runner-up to Charlie Conacher for the scoring title with 47 points in 50 games despite playing much of the season with the last-place St. Louis Eagles. In 1943–44, he racked up 32 goals and 60 points in just 46 games, however, league-wide scoring was inflated due to World War II. In a February 3, 1944 game against the New York Rangers, Howe scored six goals in a single game, a total that has been surpassed only once when Joe Malone scored seven. Howe was an all-around player, shifting between left wing and centre as needed, killing penalties and dropping back to play defence in a pinch. Those who watched the team closely reported that Howe's ice time with Detroit would constitute an amazing total. Although not related, right wing Gordie Howe joined the Red Wings the following season (1946–47) and remained with the club until 1971 thus giving the Wings a star forward named Howe on its roster for 37 consecutive seasons (1934–71).

Center: Sid Abel- Played for the Wings from 1939 to 1952. Inducted inot the Hockey Hall of Fame (1969). Numer 7 sweater retired by Detroit in 1995. Three-time Stanley Cup champion (1943, 50, 52), Hart Trophy winner (1949), two-time First Team All-Star (1949, 50), two-time Second Team All-Star (1942, 51). Along the way, Abel picked up the nickname "Boot Nose" after he taunted Maurice Richard and paid for his insult with a punch that broke his nose. Abel topped the 60-point mark for the second time in his career in 1950-51. "Old Bootnose", as he was known, was the third member of the Red Wings' celebrated "Production line" along with Hockey Hall of Fame teammates Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. Abel was traded from the Red Wings to the Black Hawks in 1952–53, and served as a player-coach for the next two seasons. He returned to the Red Wings in 1957–58 and served as Detroit's coach through the 1969–70 season.

Right Wing:Mickey Redmond- Played for the Wings from 1970-1976, First Team All-Star (1973), Second Team All-Star (1974), became the first Red Wing to score 50 goals in a season (1973). A fan favorite, Redmond was looked at as a slacker by team management, until it was discovered that he had a degenerative disc problem. In the 1974–1975 season Redmond sustained a back injury and played only 29 games. His back woes continued the following year; after 37 games he retired early at the age of 28. After his playing career ended, Redmond became a popular color analyst on television. His television stops include CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, ESPN National Hockey Night, NHL on Fox and for most of his broadcasting career, local television coverage of the Red Wings with play-by-play announcers Dave Strader and (currently) Ken Daniels. His catchphrases include "Holy Jumpin!" and many more, referred to by fans as "Mickeyisms". In one memorable string Mickey used the following to describe a scramble in the crease- "Ten hungry lumberjacks, one pork chop left on the plate, and who should come up with it but Brett Hull!"

Coach: Scotty Bowman- Coached the Red Wings from 1993 to 2002, second in team history in wins (410), coach the team to three Stanley Cup championships (1997,98, 02). In 1993–94, Bowman became coach of the Red Wings, and led them to a first-place finish in the Western Conference, but his Red Wings were ousted in the first round by the young San Jose Sharks. According to an apocryphal story, Bowman had difficulty in the maze-like tunnels of the San Jose Arena, eventually having to be rescued after getting lost and twice locking himself into rooms. In 1995, the Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup Finals but were swept by the New Jersey Devils in four straight. This was the Red Wings' first appearance in the finals in 29 years. In the 1995–96 regular season, he won a record 62 games. However, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals. In the 1997 playoffs, Bowman led the team to its first Stanley Cup in 42 years by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers 4–0. The Red Wings repeated the feat the following season by sweeping the Washington Capitals. In 1999 and 2000, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Semi-Finals, and in 2001 they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. Bowman decided in February 2002 that he would retire at the end of the season and he went out as a winner as his Red Wings won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4 games to 1. During the presentation of the Cup on the ice, Bowman put on an old pair of skates so he could take a lap with the Cup. He then publicly announced his retirement from coaching. He is second on the Red Wings' all-time wins list behind only Jack Adams.

That is the list. Please feel free to comment with any additions or subtractions.