Detroit Red Wings

One of the most iconic teams in the NHL with true legendary hockey players over the years, the Detroit Red Wings are a professional ice hockey team based in Detroit. They are members of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL) and are one of the Original Six teams of the league. Founded in 1926, the team was known as the Detroit Cougars from then until 1930. For the 1930–31 and 1931–32 seasons the team was called the Detroit Falcons, and in 1932 changed their name to the Red Wings.

As of 2018, the Red Wings have won the most Stanley Cup championships of any NHL franchise based in the United States (11) and are third overall in total Stanley Cup championships, behind the Montreal Canadiens (24) and Toronto Maple Leafs (13). The Wings played their home games at Joe Louis Arena from 1979 until 2017, after having spent over 40 years playing in Olympia Stadium. They moved into Little Caesars Arena during the 2017–18 season. The Red Wings are one of the most popular franchises in the NHL, and fans and commentators refer to Detroit and its surrounding areas as "Hockeytown", which has been a registered trademark owned by the franchise since 1996.

Detroit is the largest city in the midwestern state of Michigan. Near Downtown, the neoclassical Detroit Institute of Arts is famed for the Detroit Industry Murals painted by Diego Rivera, and inspired by the city’s ties to the auto industry, giving it the nickname "Motor City." Detroit is also the birthplace of Motown Records, whose chart-topping history is on display at their original headquarters, Hitsville U.S.A. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after Chicago. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music (from the Motown genre to jazz, rock, and techno) and as a repository for art, architecture, design and of course the Detroit Red Wings.

Between the 1931–32 and 1965–66 seasons, the Red Wings missed the playoffs only four times. Between the 1966–67 and 1982–83 seasons, the Red Wings made the playoffs only two times. However, thereafter, from 1983–84 to 2015–16, they made the playoffs 30 times in 32 seasons, including 25-straight from 1990–91 to 2015–16, at the time the longest streak of postseason appearances in all of North American professional sports. Since 1983–84, the Red Wings have tallied six regular season first-place finishes and have won the Stanley Cup four times (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008).

Gordie Howe spent 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Nicknamed "Mr. Hockey", Howe is considered the most complete player to ever play the game and one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time. A 23-time NHL All-Star, he held many of the sport's career scoring records until they were broken in the 1980s by Wayne Gretzky, who himself has been a major champion of Howe's legacy. He continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played. In 2017, Howe was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players”. Howe led Detroit to four Stanley Cup championships and to first place in regular-season play for seven consecutive years (1948–49 to 1954–55), a feat never equalled in NHL history.

After being upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1951 semi-finals, Detroit won its fifth Stanley Cup, in 1952, sweeping both the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, with the Production Line of Howe, Abel and Lindsay joined by second-year goaltender Terry Sawchuk. Detroit became the first team in 17 years to go undefeated in the playoffs. They also scored 24 playoff goals, compared to Toronto and Montreal's combined total of 5. Abel left the Red Wings for Chicago during the off-season, and his spot on the roster was replaced by Alex Delvecchio. In December 1952, James E. Norris died. He was succeeded as team president by his daughter, Marguerite, which made her the first woman to head an NHL franchise.

In 1993, former Montreal Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman was hired as the new head coach. In his second season, the lockout-shortened 1994–95 NHL season, Bowman guided Detroit to its first Finals appearance in 29 years, only to be swept by the New Jersey Devils. During the 1995–96 season, they won an NHL record 62 games. After defeating the St. Louis Blues in seven games, the Red Wings would fall in the Western Conference finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

The Red Wings played their first regular season game at Little Caesars Arena on October 5, 2017, winning 4–2 over the Minnesota Wild. The Red Wings finished the 2017–18 season with a 30–39–13 record. They missed the playoffs for the second season in a row, marking the first time since the early 1980s the team missed the playoffs in consecutive years.

For the 2018-19 season it will likely be a lackluster season as the Detroit Red Wings rebuild might take some time. The Red Wings have gone two straight seasons without making the playoffs, after a streak of 25 straight postseasons, and it doesn't look good that they'll avoid a third straight season of early vacation plans. Granted, it's not an indicator of making the playoffs, but opening Stanley Cup odds aren't kind of the Red Wings, who own 75-1 odds to win their first Stanley Cup since 2007-08.

After two years of bottom feeding, the Detroit Red Wings don’t appear any closer to a return to the playoffs, but there could be a series of circumstances that could see the team squeak back into the postseason in 2019. There’s a handful of interesting storylines in Hockeytown ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, including some incoming youth, a new offensive coach, and a proven goaltender capable of stealing the crease. Only an 82-game schedule will determine which storylines made a difference in Detroit. In a perfect world, Detroit’s goaltending, defensive and offensive woes would go away with the snap of a finger. But that’s not the case. In order to be a playoff contending team, there’s much work to be done. No doubt, the Wings have the bones to create a youthful and successful playoff team.

The "Legend of the Octopus" is a sports tradition during Detroit Red Wings playoff games, in which an octopus is thrown onto the ice surface for good luck. During the playoffs, Joe Louis Arena was generally adorned with a giant octopus with red eyes, nicknamed "Al" after head ice manager Al Sobotka. Hopefully, the fans will see the legendary octopus during the 2018-19 post season in Detroit.