Hockey

1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup Champion Celebrations

|
Image for 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup Champion Celebrations

The Detroit Red Wings celebrated the 25th anniversary of their Stanley Cup championship wins in 1997 and 1998 this past weekend. Several of the players from these two teams attended these two games to take part in pregame festivities and meet fans. The Red Wings won both of those games against the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders respectively. How does the 2022-23 Red Wings team compare to the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions of 1996-97 and 1997-98?

Prior to the game against the Islanders, general manager Steve Yzerman gave a speech about the Red Wings Stanley Cup win in 1998. Yzerman said during the speech that the current Red Wings are building towards the goal of winning another championship. New head coach Derek Lalonde and the number of free agents that were brought in during the offseason are showing signs of the “Yzerplan” that has begun its third season.

https://twitter.com/BradGalli/status/1588934034519777281?s=20&t=NALRY1tSBpQc_Gyw_v9lMQ

Former Coach Scotty Bowman Sees Seeds of Championship Under Yzerman

Former head coach of the Red Wings Scotty Bowman attended the weekend festivities. The 89-year-old addressed the crowd at Little Caesars Arena and were treated to stories about how former owner Mike Illitch hired him away from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bowman did not have success right away in Detroit. When Yzerman was the captain of the Red Wings under Bowman he needed to learn how to play a 200-foot game. When asked about what his secret to looking so good at 89, Bowman said to move somewhere warm, stay active in the game of hockey and meet up occasionally with old friends of 25 years or so.

Bowman would eventually win three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings in nine seasons. This was after he won five Stanley Cups for the Montreal Canadiens and one for the Penguins. Lalonde sang the praises of Bowman after the game saying that he will go down “as the greatest coach of all time.” Lalonde and his willingness to give players a fresh start is one of the reasons that the 2022-23 Red Wings have gotten off to a hot start. This is despite the 2022-23 season being the first head coaching experience for the 50-year-old.

Goaltender Ville Husso was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in July. The Blues traded Husso for a third-round draft pick before he was set to become a free agent. The 27-year-old was the starting goaltender for the Red Wings in both games. His best performance was on Saturday against the Islanders. Husso saved all 24 shots that he faced in front of the 1998 Stanley Cup champion Red Wings. Alex Nedeljkovic is a capable backup as he has played well for the Red Wings in the past but needs to find his form again.

Who will win the Rocket Richard trophy this year?

Leon Draisaitl

Leon Draisaitl

Connor McDavid

Connor McDavid

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin

Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews

Chris Osgood was the starting goaltender for the Red Wings during the 1998 Stanley Cup run. Osgood is one of the best goalies in the history of the Red Wings franchise, playing in two different stints for the team. It is not fair to hold the construction of the roster in front of a goalie against him. Mike Vernon won the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP in 1997. Both Osgood and Vernon won more than 300 games in their NHL careers for multiple franchises.

The two most emotional moments of the weekend happened when former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov was taken onto the ice. Konstantinov was one of the most feared defensemen in the league at this time. However, the 55-year-old was involved in a limousine accident after the team had a golf outing to celebrate their 1997 Stanley Cup championship.

It remains to be seen how the 2022-23 Red Wings season will end. The roster is clearly taking shape after the team made the Stanley Cup playoffs 25 seasons in a row. The franchise has brought back many of the members of the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion teams to be part of the organization. The memories of these two playoff runs will not fade away for fans of the team.

Who will win the Rocket Richard trophy this year?

Leon Draisaitl

Leon Draisaitl

Connor McDavid

Connor McDavid

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin

Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

Share this article

Friendly TV fan. Social media junkie. Coffee advocate. Unapologetic marketing and sports geek. GIF you wish.