Detroit Red Wings: Ranking the Cap Era Teams: #2


Over the next two weeks, Octopus Thrower will rank each of the ten Detroit Red Wings teams during the Salary Cap Era which began with the 2005-2006 season.

Regular Season and Stanley Cup Playoff success were both used as the metrics for judging ranking. Stanley Cup Playoff success was given a greater weight when determining final rankings. 

Today we focus on the 2008-2009 Red Wings. 

ICYMI, here are links for the other teams:

#10 – 2013-2014 Red Wings
#9 – 2014-2015 Red Wings
#8 – 2011-2012 Red Wings
#7 – 2012-2013 Red Wings
#6 – 2009-2010 Red Wings
#5 – 2005-2006 Red Wings
#4 – 2010-2011 Red Wings
#3 – 2006-2007 Red Wings

#2: 2008-2009 Detroit Red Wings

Record: 51-21-10

Playoff Result: Defeated Columbus 4-0 in Western Conference Quarter Finals; Defeated Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in Western Conference Semi-Finals; Defeated Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in Western Conference Finals; Lost to Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in Stanley Cup Final

Team MVP (Chosen By Octopus Thrower Staff): Chris Osgood

Team’s Theme Song: Hole in my Soul by Aerosmith

Heading Into the 2008-2009 Season

They were defending Stanley Cup Champions, and they only got better by adding Marian Hossa to the roster. They were certainly in a good position to repeat for the first time since, well, the 1997-1998 Red Wings team. It was the last celebration for awhile.

The 2008-2009 Regular Season In Review

What a strange season. The Red Wings battled through injuries, and were not the defensive team they were a season earlier during the championship run. Going into the playoffs, there was serious concern that the Wings wouldn’t be able to hold up and that their leaky defense would lead to an early exit. This didn’t happen, but injuries would certainly play a role in their demise.

The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff

The Moment That Defined The 2009 Playoffs: Every Red Wing seemingly acquiring the Plague or experiencing some ridiculous injury. Nick Lidstrom won the award for most gruesome–being speared by Patrick Sharp in an extremely uncomfortable place. Every male reader just grimaced. Pavel Datsyuk skated on one good leg. Jonathan Ericsson had appendicitis. Tomas Kopecky broke his hand in a fight. Mike Babcock started to break Johan Franzen’s spirit. You get the picture.

The Skinny: It was a roller coaster–one that careened off the tracks and off a terrible, horrible, no-good cliff that we all saw coming once the Final was set. As soon as Marian Hossa knew he was playing the Penguins, we all knew how it would end. How delicious the sub-plot would be for every knuckle dragging Red Wing troll who cackled with glee as Hossa all but cried on the Joe ice. Along with the rest of us. At least you couldn’t hear Gary Bettman when he presented the Cup.

Detroit vs Everybody.

But hey, they beat Columbus in four quick games. Remember when we all thought Steve Mason was the next best goalie? Circle that series as the beginning of the end for him. In the Western Conference semi-finals, It took seven gut-wrenching games to dispatch Anaheim. Dan Cleary scored the game winning goal in Game 7 at a time where everyone loved Dan Cleary.

The Blackhawks were next–complete with a fanbase that professional hockey existed outside of Rosemont. The Red Wings took the Hawks down in 5 games, including a 6-1 beating in Game 4, and then an overtime winner in Game 5. And the Stanley Cup Final, well, I’ve blocked it out.  Along with the 2008 Lions season and Game 163 for the 2009 Tigers. All of those things happened in a nine month span. If there is a hell, I know what it looks like.

More from All-Time Lists

Why They Earned Their #2 Ranking:

They almost repeated. They came within a game. They had a 2-0 series lead, then a 3-2 series lead, and it fell apart. The Red Wings we knew, the ones who closed the deal in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008 were just exhausted, banged up, and overmatched by a younger, hungrier, and angrier team. This team was the last championship caliber Red Wings team, and we all knew it was going to be a cap casualty after the bitter end. And even though it’s been six seasons since that happened, most Wings fans would say it’s felt like 600, especially with how it ended. Throw in a half-decade of growing pains and falling short in that 2008-2009 season hurts all the more.

Now that we’ve placed that unpleasantness behind us, we’re going to a much happier place where galloping Mules score nine goals in a series, and Swedes cause Sidney Crosby to cry.

#1: 2007-2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings

Next: The 5 Best Goalies In Red Wings History

More from Octopus Thrower