Red Wings in the 2010s: Top stories from the past decade

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit News sports writer Ted Kulfan ranks the most notable events during the past decade for the Red Wings:

1. The Captain returns

Red Wings fans rejoiced as Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings’ Hall of Fame player/captain, returned to the organization where he starred to become general manager. Fittingly, Yzerman — who wore No. 19 — returned April 19, 2019.

Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman holds the Stanley Cup aloft while celebrating with teammates at center ice after sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 NHL Finals.

2. Ken Holland leaves for Edmonton

After spending 22 years as the Wings’ GM — 36 years total in the organization — Holland left the organization 18 days after Yzerman came aboard. Holland managed the Wings to four Stanley Cups and extended the playoff streak to 25 consecutive seasons.

3. Red Wings end 25-year playoff streak

In an otherwise forgettable evening in Carolina — the third game in three nights because of an early season cancellation — the Wings’ lost, 2-0, on March 28, 2017, and officially were eliminated from the playoffs, ending a 25-year streak. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs since.

Mike Babcock and Johan Franzen

4. Mike Babcock leaves for Toronto

After a superb run with the Wings, Mike Babcock left to join the Toronto Maple Leafs, accepting an eight-year, $50 million contract (he was fired earlier this season) on May 20, 2015. Babcock coached the Wings for 10 seasons — making the playoffs every year — and winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 (losing to Pittsburgh the next year in Game 7).

5. Moving to Little Caesars Arena

The long-anticipated move out of Joe Louis Arena became official when the Wings hosted Minnesota at LCA on Oct. 5, 2017. The last game at The Joe on April 9, 2017 was an emotional goodbye to a rink fans had a love-hate relationship with.

Chris Ilitch speaks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at LCA in 2017.

6. Johan Franzen’s monster games

There were two that will forever leave an imprint on a career cut short by concussions. Franzen had a six-point (four goals) game May 6, 2010 against San Jose in the playoffs (including a first-period hat trick). Franzen also scored five goals (done only twice in the NHL this decade) on Feb. 2, 2011, against Ottawa.

7. Deaths of Ilitch, Howe, Lindsay

Three legendary figures of the Wings’ organization died in the latter half of the decade — owner Mike Ilitch (Feb. 10, 2017), and Hall of Famers Gordie Howe (June 10, 2016) and Ted Lindsay (March 4, 2019).

Gordie Howe

8. Nick Lidstrom retires

After 20 glorious seasons, four Stanley Cups and seven Norris Trophies, Lidstrom announced his retirement on May 31, 2012. His No. 5 was raised to the rafters in 2014.

9. Back woes end Zetterberg’s career

At the start of the 2018 training camp (Sept. 14), Henrik Zetterberg announced a degenerative back condition was going to end his brilliant career, with three years remaining on his contract. Zetterberg won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in the 2008 Stanley Cup run.

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg high-fives fans at Joe Louis Arena during a red carpet arrival for the team before the home opener vs. the Ottawa Senators in 2016.

10. Pavel Datsyuk leaves for Russia

Datsyuk ended a spectacular 14-year career with the Wings, announcing he was returning home to Russia on June 18, 2016, at a camp at Orchard Lake St. Mary's.

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Twitter: @tkulfan