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02-05-2014, 06:29 PM
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My take on the '02 Red Wings was that they were clearly the most talented Detroit team of the past two decades, but I'm not so sure they were actually the best.

The problem with the '02 Wings was that they coasted on their talent. Now, they had a ton of talent, which gave them a lot of leeway to coast. When you can throw out a six man unit of Yzerman, Federov, Shanahan, Robataille, Hull, and Lidstrom (as the Wings did on a couple of occasions when down a goal late in a game), that's just showing off.

But I think the '97 playoff team was grittier, and executed the left-wing lock in suffocating fashion. And the '08 team, although by far the least star-studded of recent Wings Cup winners, may have been the most dominant start to finish. They simply controlled the tempo of games at a level not even the '02 Wings did.

The '02 Wings were an extremely good team, and if you imagine "everyone at their peak," they probably are amongst the best ever. Peak Hasek, Lidstrom, Yzerman, Fedorov, Datsyuk, Hull, Shanahan, Robataille, Chelios, and Larionov. That's insane. But there's no way I would consider the actual '02 Wings the best ever. They've got an argument within the past 25 years, but once you start going back to the great dynasties of the 80's and before it's really hard to make a case for the '02 Wings.

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