Detroit Red Wings: 5 Most Hated Red Wings of All Time
The Detroit Red Wings and their fans have shared a mostly friendly relationship. Despite a few decades of frustration where they failed to win the Stanley Cup, the fans still have supported the team. Granted, the “Dead Wing” years saw many empty seats, but there was not much hate for players even then.
There have been players such as Sergei Fedorov and Dominik Hasek that have worn out their welcome, but still did not fully enter into the hated-zone for Wings' fans.
These five players, though, seem to have earned a lifetime place on the Wings' bad list. Some are deserved, others are not.
Cheveldae received too much of the blame for the team's short comings during the early 1990s. The team had started to have some success in the late 1980s and seemed to be on the rise.
Fans were beyond tired of waiting for a championship and hoped that Cheveldae would be the goalie to win it. His regular season play would raise the hopes of the masses, only to be crushed come playoff time.
He earned an All-Star selection and won more than 30 games in three straight seasons. During his five seasons in Detroit, three where he was the starter, he had a 128-93-30-7 record (wins/loss/tie/OT loss). In the postseason, however, he had a losing record of 9-15.
Despite lowering his goals against in two of three playoff seasons, as compared to his regular season numbers, he was only able to get out of the first round one time. He was twice on the losing end of a Game 7, and also on the wrong side of being swept.
Fans placed an unfair amount of blame on him; and when a young, up and coming goalie by the name of Chris Osgood arrived, it spelled the end for Cheveldae in Detroit.
Hatcher gained the wrath of the fans for what has gone down as one of the worst free-agent signings in Red Wings history.
Hatcher had been a tough defender during his 11-year career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars organization. He was the captain of the Stars when they won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
The Red Wings thought that they were signing a player still in the prime of his career that would improve the defense. Unfortunately, he was injury-prone, and seemed to have lost a step even when healthy. He became a liability on defense and only played 15 regular season games for the team. He did return to play 12 games in the playoffs as well.
Playing only 27 games on a five-year, $30 million deal did not sit well with fans. Following the lockout season, the team was able buyout his contract.
Curtis Joseph is the fourth winningest goalie in league history. The Red Wings organization was excited to sign him after their Stanley Cup winning season of 2002. With Dominik Hasek retiring, they felt that Joseph would be able to keep the team at the top.
He started off slow, which did not endear him to fans. He eventually found his stride though, and helped the team win the division. Being swept in the first round of the playoffs was not acceptable to fans, however.
Much like Cheveldae, too much blame was placed on Joseph, who did manage to post a 2.08 GAA in that first round. But the offense disappeared around him.
His next season looked like something out of a soap opera with all the drama in it. Stanley Cup winning hero, Dominik Hasek, decided to unretire, but due to Joseph’s $8 million contract, the team was not able to trade him. He became the league’s most expensive backup goalie and minor league goalie.
An injury gave Joseph another chance as the Red Wings rode into the playoffs with the league’s best record. He would start the playoffs behind Manny Legace; however, he would take over during the first round series against Nashville and would help lead the team to the second round.
Despite posting an impressive 1.39 GAA during the playoffs, the Red Wings would exit early again. Yet again, the offense disappeared as they were shut out the final two games against Calgary in the second round.
Between his large contract and 4-8 playoff record, Joseph never really found a home in Detroit.
Primeau just could not live up to the hype and pressure that surrounded his selection as the third pick in the 1990 draft. Players such as Jaromir Jagr, Keith Tkachuk, Martin Brodeur, Doug Weight and Peter Bondra were drafted after him.
While he did play well for the team, the fans would look at those other players and wish the team had taken someone else. When Jagr scored 62 goals in his second season, it put even more pressure on Primeau—whose best in Detroit would be 31 during his third season.
The biggest strike against Primeau came during the playoffs, where he would often disappear. In his five seasons in Detroit, he would only score more than one goal once during a playoff run. He was also held scoreless in three playoff runs.
In 59 playoff games, he would only score five goals and 13 assists while with Detroit. The best move Primeau did for Detroit was very much unintended. He was traded for Brandon Shanahan, who would be one of the final pieces that would help Detroit end its Stanley Cup draught.
Uwe Krupp signed a four-year, $16.4 million deal; yet only played 32 games for the team over two seasons.
Injuries hit him almost as soon as he put on the Red Wings sweater. While frustrating, injuries are a part of sports. What earned him his spot on the list, however, were his off-ice activities while supposedly recuperating from a herniated disk in his back.
After being sidelined with the injury, he was found to be dogsled racing. This did not sit well with the team, or the fans. Many felt that if he could participate in those events, then he should be able to play hockey.
The matter turned ugly as suspensions, grievances and lawsuits were filed back and forth between him and the team. Eventually, he was paid half of the contract; but despite playing some games during the 2002 Stanley Cup champion team, he was not eligible to have his name on the cup.