Best Detroit Red Wings by Jersey Number: #81-90


The Detroit Red Wings have a storied history as an Original Six Franchise. Many have worn the Winged Wheel on the front of the sweater and shared a number with another on the back. Some of those numbers hang proudly in the rafters. Others are forgotten and given to the next person on the roster.

Over the next week and a half, Octopus Thrower will write-up the greatest names to wear every number (where applicable). Today we continue with #’s 81-90.

#81 – Marian Hossa

Of all the great players Octopus Thrower has profiled in this series, this is perhaps the only player to get booed every time he returns to Joe Louis Arena. Marian Hossa spent only the 2008-2009 season with Detroit, coming here on a one year deal, citing his belief that the Red Wings gave him the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.  He scored 40 goals that season, something no Red Wing has done since, and averaged nearly a point per game. He nearly completed his goal by helping to lead Detroit to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that year, only to come up just short against Hossa’s old team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. With Hossa’s deal having expired and little cap room to spare, General Manager Ken Holland let Hossa walk in the summer of 2009, only to see him sign with the rival Chicago Blackhawks. Many Wings fan to this day hold it against Hossa for walking out on Detroit, but remember Holland chose to sign Johan Franzen instead of Hossa. But that is a story for another time…

Other notables who wore #81 – n/a

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#82 – Tomas Kopecky

Ironically enough, when Hossa left for Chicago, he took his teammate and fellow Slovak Tomas Kopecky with him. Kopecky was a Red Wings draft pick from the summer of 2000, and worked his way up through the minors to land with the big club for the 2007 season. He played three seasons in Detroit, but never materialized into the player that Holland and co. envisioned when they selected him in the second round. His career year came in 2009 when he racked up 6 goals and 13 assists, but never got the playing time he felt he deserved from Mike Babcock. So that summer he signed with Chicago and to this day, Kopecky remains in the league as a third or fourth line player, and currently plays for the Florida Panthers.

Other notables who wore #82 – n/a

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#85 – Petr Klima

Crammed in before Hockeytown as we know it today and after the “Dead Wings” era were a few years when Detroit was still an up and coming team. They had just drafted some kid named Yzerman and were a team to be reckoned with for most of the 1980’s. Along with Yzerman and a few others, Detroit had drafted Petr Klima out of  Czechoslovakia, making him the first player of Czech descent to defect to sign with an American team. After years of struggling to get out of Europe, Klima finally suited up in the Winged Wheel for the 1986 season. He played in Detroit for four full seasons from 1986-1989, compiling a stat line of 293 GP, 129 G, 93 A, and 222 P. As dynamic as Klima was on the ice, he was equally a headache off of it. Coming to North America and experiencing Western culture for the first time, Klima developed a drinking problem and was suspended and/or demoted by Detroit on multiple instances. Finally Red Wing management had enough, and traded him to the Edmonton Oilers less than a quarter of the way into the 1990 season. He won the Stanley Cup that year, and bounced around hockey on both sides of the globe for the next few years until Klima and the Red Wings put aside their differences to bring him back for the tail end of the 1999 season. He didn’t have much of an impact in the 13 games he played that year, but, it was nice to see the two sides put aside their differences and have Detroit bring back one of the guys who laid down the foundation for what the Red Wings became in the following years.

Other notables who wore #85 – n/a

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Next: Check out numbers 71 through 80 here!

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