Unveiling the True Identity of the Detroit Red Wings

Written by: Kelsey Collister 

Who are the Detroit Red Wings?  Let’s start with the basics. They play at the Joe Louis Arena.  Mike Babcock is the head coach and
they’ve won the Stanley Cup Championship 11 times. Their colors are Red and White and the team mascot is an octopus. And no, the mascot wasn’t my idea…

So how did the Red Wings become the Red Wings? James Norris, a grain broker from Chicago bought the team and named it the Red Wings after the Wing Wheelers, a team Norris played for during his youth. Prior to that, the Wings were called the Detroit Falcons and before that the Cougars.

After a five year losing streak, the Red Wings won their first playoff series against the Montreal Maroons 5-2 in 1932. Unfortunately the Wings lost a goal series to the New York Rangers in the semi-finals  6-2.

The following year the Wings won their first Division title claiming the American Division with 24-14-10 record. In the finals they were shut down by the Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Chuck Gardner. And in 1936 they were Division champions. The New York Rangers put up a good fight, but couldn’t pull any fast ones on Wings goalie Earl Robertson. Because of this, the Wings won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row.

After a three season losing streak, the Wings made a strong comeback and finished in third place with a 21-16-11 record. However, in the Stanley Cup Finals the Wings are swept in four straight games by the Boston Bruins. Disappointing to say the least…

Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel and Gordie Howe finished in the top three scorers for the Red Wings in 1949. The Wings endured a painful loss in game one of the semi-finals to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0. To make matters worse, Gordie Howe suffered a serious head injury after sliding head first into the boards. The Red Wings made a strong comeback, and won in the finals in double- overtime thanks to Pete Babando.

Howe returned to the Wings in 1950 and several years later he captures the Hart Trophy for the second straight season with 49 goals.

The Wings dominated the NHL in 1954 and won their seventh straight league title. They held off the Montreal Canadians 42-17-11 record.

More than 20 years later, the Wings played their last game at the Olympia Stadium in December and relocated to the Louis Arena. It took some time for the team to adjust to their new surroundings. In 1985 the Wings hit rock bottom and finished in last place with a franchise worst record of 17-57-6.

And in 1987 they won their first division title in 23 years with a 41-28-11 record. The following year Steve Yazerman finished third in scoring. But the Wings lost in the playoffs to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Eleven years later the Wings finished in first place in the Central Division, and won the third straight Stanley Cup with a 43-32-7 record.

The Wings were appointed a new coach (Dave Lewis) in 2002 and performed well in the NHL despite losing Steve Yzerman for the first 80 percent of the season.

Due to a lock out in 2004, the season was cancelled. Mike Babcock, the new coach led the Wing to victory the first 12 games of the season.

On March 13, 2012 all star goaltender Jimmy Howard returned to play for the Wings. Howard missed the last three games due to a strained groin, yet he still ranks third in the NHL with 33 victories, according to the Miami Herald.

“It could have been a lot worse than it was… The way it happened, and me not realizing how or when it happened, and it just gradually coming on we caught something before it got too bad” Howard said in an interview.


About Stefanie

I am currently a journalism major at Loyola University Chicago and blogging for my writing for the web class. I love hockey and want to be a sports journalist.

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