Line 1: Ted Lindsay-Steve Yzerman-Gordie Howe
This line consists of grit, hard work, skill, toughness and leadership. Gordie Howe is Mr. Hockey himself and was always one of the top players. He was no pansy though, another one his nicknames was "elbows" because of the way he would bring them up while making a body check. Howe retired as the NHL's all-time leading scorer and still remains the all-time leading scorer for the Detroit Red Wings franchise.
They call Steve Yzerman the captain. He put the "C" on his sweater at the young age of 21 and didn't relinquish it until his retirement after the 2005-06 season. Yzerman transformed himself from a 100 point per season player into a great two way player who still managed a point per game throughout most of his career. His reward came in the form of three Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
Ted Lindsay was even tougher then Howe and his nickname, "Scarface", was because of the numerous stitches he would receive throughout his career. He retired as the NHL's highest scoring left winger and formed one of the most feared lines ever with Gordie Howe and Sid Abel, labelled the production line.
Line 2: Alex Delvecchio-Sergei Fedorov-Larry Aurie
Known as "fats", Alex Delvecchio would replace Sid Abel on the production line after his departure. Delvecchio was a mainstay on the Wings throughout most of his career and he finished third in team franchise scoring with an amazing 1,281 points. Although he wasn't a rough and tumble player like Howe or Lindsay was, Delvecchio was not one to back down and he could protect himself on the ice.
Although his departure from Detroit was not pretty, there is no doubt that Fedorov is one of the most talented players to ever lace them up with the Wings. Fedorov was one of the fastest players of his day and was one of the few 100 point players that could also play very well defensively. He won a Hart trophy and Selke in the same season! Fedorov would also win three cups with Detroit and he finished just 46 points away from 1000 points with the franchise.
Larry Aurie was one of the first big star players to play for Detroit back in the late 20's and early to mid 30's. He became team captain in 1932-33, helped the Wings win their first two Stanley Cups in 1936 and '37, and played his whole career--12 years--in Detroit. His only disappointment came toward the end of that 1936-37 season. Destined to win the scoring title, he broke his leg, finished three points behind Sweeney Schriner, and missed the playoffs entirely.
Line 3: Sid Abel-Norm Ullman-Brendan Shanahan
Sid Abel was a part of the production line, named for the amount of scoring they did throughout every game. He played all but 42 games of his NHL career in a Wings uniform and he combined grit and skill to be a major force for the Wings during his tenure.
Norm Ullman is a very underrated Wing. He is fifth in scoring for the franchise. Ullman lead the Wings to a couple of Cups and managed to score 20 goals in a season an amazing 16 times. This is proof of his amazing durability and skill.
Most say that the trade for Brendan Shanahan is what put the Wings over the top and its hard to argue. Back in the late 90's Shanahan added some much needed grit and was just the power forward the Wings needed to put a hold on the Stanley Cup. Although Shanahan lost some of his grit later on in his Wings career, he managed a 40 goal season during his last year and will always be remembered as the last piece of the puzzle for the Cup winning Wings.
Line 4: Mickey Redmond-Igor Larionov-John Ogrodnick
Mickey Redmond was a mainstay for the Wings during the Dead Wings years in the mid 1970's. Unfortunately, a severe back injury would force him into retirement at the age of 29 and the Wings were unable to replace a player like him. Without the back injury, he probably would have went on to score enough to place himself into the top ten for scoring with the Wings but we will never know.
Although he was well past his glory days in Russia, Larionov proved that he still had it during his career with the Wings. He managed 71 points in 69 games during his first season and combined his great defensive skill with his playmaking skill to be a valuable two way player. He also won three cups with the Wings and played a valued role in all three of them.
Ogrodnick never scored less then 28 goals during his six full seasons with the Wings and he was one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise dreadful team. He scored 55 goals for a 15th-place Detroit club in 1984-85 and always showed up to play his hardest despite being on such a terrible team.
Line 1: Nicklas Lidstrom-Red Kelly
This one really was a no-brainer. Lidstrom is arguably a top five defense men of all-time and he continues to impress well into his 30's. He won his sixth Norris Trophy last year and showed no signs of slowing down. He could quite possibly win one or two more before his career is done. He is not flashy but his positioning is the best in the league. He has a cannon for a shot and was named captain after Steve Yzermans retirement. Lidstrom is a near perfect defense men in his time.
Red Kelly is truly a legend of the game and although he played defense for Detroit he was also a center for the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise. Kelly won the first ever Norris Trophy awarded and has the most cups ever won by a player that did not play for the Montreal Canadiens with eight (four with Detroit). He could rush the puck into the offensive zone like no other before Bobby Orr's arrival, but was never beat behind his own blue line.
Line 2: Jack Stewart-Marcel Pronovost
Jack "Black Jack" Stewart was the complete package on defense during his dozen years in the NHL. One of the most punishing bodycheckers of his day, Stewart was able to rush with the puck when the need arose. His rock-solid play contributed to Detroit's Stanley Cup wins in 1943 and 1950, and his willingness to resort to a rough style of play when necessary gave him a reputation as one of the game's bad boys.
As the Stewart era ended in Detroit, the Pronovost era began. Pronovst was actually a callup for Gordie Howe when Red Kelly was taken from his defense position and thrust into center. He would win the Cup four times with the Wings, garner seven regular-season titles and be on four consecutive league All-Star Teams including the First Team in 1960 and 1961.
Line 3: Reed Larson-Vladimir Konstantinov
Larson broke into the NHL via the Detroit Red Wings where he was a runner-up for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. The acknowledgement was no fluke. In the ensuing years he recorded five 20-goal seasons and eight 60-point campaigns. He was the first American-born player and the sixth defense man to score 200 career goals. Larson was a great offensive defense men.
Valdimir Konstantinov was one of the most feared defense men of his day. His hard body checks and stifling defensive presence made him one of the best back in the mid 90's. Unfortunately, his playing days would be ended prematurely after a limo accident after the Wings 1997 Cup win. Cut down in the heart of his prime, who knows how much better the Wings could have been with him.
Number One Goalie: Terry Sawchuk
Possibly one of the best goaltenders in the entire history of the NHL, Sawchuk spent the majority of his career with the Wings. He was a tough goaltender, evidenced by his 400 career stitches. Sawchuk lead a troubled life and could have been even better if not for the injuries, fatigue and illness he always seemed to had. He retired with the most career victories ever (352 as a Wing). Sawchuks life and career ended when a scuffle with his teammate ended very badly.
Backup Goalie: Chris Osgood
Never blessed with immense talent, Osgood has been lucky to play for a top franchise for most of his career. He is always focused and has shown he can come back after complete failure. Osgood has three Cups as a Wing and may take over Sawchuk in wins by a Wings goalie in the next three years.
Looking at this roster makes me proud to be a Wings fan. With all the storied history and great players here, it is no wonder why the Wings have been so successful.
Barring injury, there is almost no doubt that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be on one of the top lines after their done playing with the Wings. If Datsyuk has the same season as last year he will vault himself into the top ten in franchise scoring and Zetterberg is not far behind. Combined with both of their great defensive skills, they could potentially/likely force themselves onto the second line.
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