Ten of Our Favorite Detroit Red Wings Nicknames

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Dec 31, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings former forward Steve Yzerman (19) during the Alumni Showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of the Winter Classic at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

#2:  Steve Yzerman- The Captain

Yzerman was drafted by the Red Wings in 1983 as the fourth overall selection. He would forever become the face of a franchise during his long and successful tenure as a Detroit Red Wing.

Yzerman was named the Captain of the Red Wings at the tender age of 21. Then coach Jacque Demers picked him for the ideal that he embodied the Winged Wheel.  Looking back nearly three decades, there’s no doubt it was absolutely the right choice and would set a precedent for the greatest organization in professional hockey. Only two captains have followed since–Nick Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg.

At that time, he was the youngest captain in Detroit’s storied history.  Yzerman played for the Wings for 23 years and he lead the Wings to three Stanley Cups. He is 6th in the NHL history all time points, 9th in goals and 7th in assists. He has won countless individual trophies including the Selke, Conn Smythe and Lester B. Pearson awards. But it was in leadership where Yzerman persevered.

The Captain was revered for his willingness to criticize his play before his teammates, and it was a rousing speech during the 1997 NHL playoffs that Yzerman was credited for changing the tide of their run. While dogged earlier in his career for not being able to win, Yzerman embraced Scotty Bowman’s advice to become a two-way forward. The once prolific scorer became a responsible two-way player whose example set the tone for the rest of the team.

The power of his nickname still resonates to this day. When you speak of “The Captain”, you speak of Yzerman. Not one Red Wings fan ever asks who you’re talking about.

#1: Gordie Howe- Mr. Hockey

Gordie Howe is synonymous with the Detroit Red Wings.  His tough play and scoring touch made him one of the best players in the league–and one of the best players of all time. Howe is known as Mr. Hockey because he absolutely personified the game. While many argue Wayne Gretzky to be the best player the NHL ever saw, he lacked the physical presence that Howe brought to the game.

Howe still holds many Detroit Red Wings records–including games player, goals, points, and goals created. But it was his contribution to hockey that punctuated his legacy. Howe and his late wife, Colleen, were ambassadors for the game and made themselves accessible to fans and the league to grow the sport. Howe is immortalized at the Joe Louis Arena with not only an entrance bearing his name, but a statue inside the Joe. His legend only grew when the new bridge to Canada in Detroit was decided to be named in his honor. All of this made possible because his mother bought a pair of rusty, second hand skates for her son when he was just five years old.

Mr. Hockey indeed.

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