The Detroit Red Wings are focused on making the playoffs for the 23rd season in a row. To put it in perspective when the Red Wings started their streak in 1991 George W. Bush was President. “Gonna make you sweat” by C & C Music Factory was top of the charts. The top movie was Silence of the Lambs. Ed Belfour won the NHL Rookie of the Year. A lot has changed since 1991. How have the Wings been able to stay on top year after year?
Success comes from the top and that’s where the Red Wings success starts. The Detroit Red Wings have been blessed with some of the best coaches in the history of the NHL. The streak started with Bryan Murray as coach then Scotty Bowman to current Red Wing coach Mike Babcock, the Red Wings are never hurting for quality coaches.
The best coach ever can’t win without great players. The Red Wings have one of the best minor league systems in the league in the form of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Winners of the 2013 Calder Cup (AHL Championship Cup), Grand Rapids sends a steady pipeline of talent to Detroit. Since the Griffins first season in 1996, 75 Griffins have moved on to make their debut in the NHL. As a matter of fact a Griffin Alumnus has had their name on the Stanley Cup in five of the last six years (2008-2011; 2013) and seven of the last nine.
Steve Yzerman was the Captain from 1986-2006 and his leadership and work ethic earned him the respect of every player in the NHL. He lead by example and brought out the best in the players around him. Nicklas Lidstrom captain from 2006-2012 was exactly the same type of player and one of the few players that could attempt to fill the shoes of Yzerman, which he did successfully. Since 2012 Henrik Zetterberg has carried on this tradition of leading by example and being another coach on the ice.
Detroit is known as Hockey Town for one reason. The fans. Since April 15th 1952 fans would throw live octopus onto the ice to symbolize the original playoff format that required eight wins to claim the Stanley Cup. Red Wing fans are also known to be one of the loudest and most passionate fans in the NHL.
At the end of the day, the Detroit Red Wings are enjoying their impressive streak of consecutive playoff appearances from a heartfelt tradition and honor that every player and fan feels when wearing the winged wheel.