Red Wings ranked fifth, seventh among ESPN's top NHL dynasties

The Detroit News
The Red Wings celebrate their Stanley Cup in 1997 after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers.

With the Detroit Red Wings on their way to a third straight season of sitting out the playoffs, fans can't be blamed for reminiscing over the glory years.

ESPN helped with that Wednesday, ranking the top 10 NHL dynasties of all time. The Red Wings own a pair of spots, with the 1947-56 teams checking in at No. 7, and the 1994-2002 edition coming in at No. 5.

Detroit is one of three franchises with more than one dynasty in ESPN's top 10, joining the Montreal Canadiens (three) and Toronto Maple Leafs (two).

The Red Wings won four Stanley Cups between 1947-56, with titles coming in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955.

The nine-season stretch is the dawn of the Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay Era,": ESPN's Greg Wyshynski writes. "The Wings lost in the Cup Final in consecutive 60-game seasons (1947-48 and 1948-49) before capturing their first title since 1943. They'd win three more Cups and make the final a total of seven times in this dynastic run. In the regular season, they finished in first place seven consecutive seasons."

Wyshynski called the 1951-52 team "one of the most dominant of that era," citing its 44-14-12 record and its perfect 8-0 run through the playoffs.

The 1994-2002 era didn't result in as many Stanley Cups (three, coming in 1997,1998 and 2002), but Wyshynski says, "as modern dynasties go, their run from the mid-1990s into the new millenium set the bar for dynasty-seeking franchises."

Wyshynski notes the three Stanley Cup titles, four conference titles and five first-place finishes in their division, the Wings' star-studded roster, and the presence of a bitter rival in the Colorado Avalanche.

"From their first Cup Final appearance to their 2002 Cup, the Wings saw the NHL expand from 26 to 30 teams," Wyshynski writes. "Unlike the Blackhawks, the Red Wings didn't have to deal with the salary cap, which obviously had its advantages in 2002 when Detroit had no less than nine Hall of Famers on its roster, all over the age of 30. But the Blackhawks also didn't have to deal with a nemesis like the Colorado Avalanche blocking their path to the Cup Final in their conference: Detroit lost to the Avs in the playoffs three times during this eight-year stretch.

"But when they made the final round, the Wings made it count: In the three years they won the Cup, Detroit went a combined 12-1 in the Final."

Times have since changed: The Red Wings enter Thursday's play at 21-25-7, 12 points out of a playoff spot and 28th overall.