Retrospective Look: Red Wings 2002

I contemplated doing a top 10 best teams of the decade, but after racking my brain and looking at all of the stats, there really is no need mention any other team besides the 2002 version of the Detroit Red Wings. 

Looking back on it, this team will be hard to beat as it definitely has at least the most successful roster ever compiled in the post expansion NHL. A lot of teams have a lot of great players, but I am talking about first ballot Hall of Famers here; Yzerman, Hull, Robitaille, Shanahan, Chelios, Lidstrom, Fedorov, Larionov and Dominik Hasek. Four of those already are first ballot guys, the remaining five certainly will be as well. It also included budding superstar Pavel Datsyuk and a goalie who I think should be HOF bound, Chris Osgood. WOW. Oh yeah, and they were coached by Scotty Bowman, with Ken Holland as their GM.

They were absolutely dominant during the regular season, winning 22 of their first 28 games!! Obviously it did not take long for newcomers Hull and Robitaille to get acquainted with their new all star teammates. Imagine if Steve Yzerman had played more than the 52 games that he did!?

Here are some stats from the once in a life time team:

51-7-10-4 = 116 points ….this was after going 1-3-4-2 in the last 10 games while Scotty Bowman started to rest his older veterans.

Finished 15 points ahead of the 2nd place team…again, imagine if they hadn’t sat players in the end.

Tied for best home record: 28-7-5-1

Best road record: 23-10-5-3

2nd most goals

3rd least goals against

2nd best powerplay

Only one player in the top 20 in scoring, Brendan Shanahan, and no players over a point per game.

Nicklas Lidstrom won his 2nd Norris Trophy

It was all capped off by arguably one of the gutsiest performance of the decade, Steve Yzerman, basically playing on one leg, led the Wings to their third Cup in six years, as well as winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.


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