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Red Wings' greats still on top of their game

Wednesday, 05.28.2008 / 1:35 PM ET / Features
By Phil Coffey
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Red Wings\' greats still on top of their game

The NHL honored the Red Wings' dynasty of the 1950s Sunday night and Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost and Marty Pavelich stole the show.  Photo gallery
DETROIT – The Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins have a huge act to follow after a host of Red Wings legends stole the show at the Stanley Cup finals Sunday.

The NHL has embarked on a new tradition of honoring the game's greats during the Stanley Cup Final. Last year, an array of Montreal Canadiens luminaries were honored in Ottawa and their reminiscences were priceless. Sunday night at the Marriott Detroit at Renaissance Center, Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Marcel Pronovost, Alex Delvecchio, Marty Pavelich and Red Kelly proved equally eloquent about the Red Wings' dynasty that won the Stanley Cup in 1950, '52, '54 and '55. Another member of those teams, Johnny Wilson, was unable to attend because of illness.

"When you get to be our age, you look at the great hockey players you played with and you recognize what you accomplished," Lindsay said. "I'm just sorry the guys who probably were principally the reason we are here have passed away or because of health can't be here. It was a wonderful time of our lives. We never realized how good it was."

RED WINGS lead 1-0

Sat, May 24: Red Wings 4, Penguins 0
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Mon, May 26: Penguins @ Red Wings
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*Mon, June 2: Penguins @ Red Wings
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Part of what makes Detroit so special is an 82-year history of greatness. Players can see legends like Gordie Howe on the walls and in the dressing room.  …more

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"I see them occasionally," said Pronovost, who is a scout for the New Jersey Devils. "We have a strong alumni. It's too bad I don't really attend that much, but I see them on the road."

"I think this is just absolutely fantastic," Pavelich said. "I want to thank Gary Bettman. I told him I got his letter a month ago and I can't thank you enough for this. We're in the limelight again and it's really nice."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presented each man with a miniature Stanley Cup to commemorate their achievements. It was a priceless moment, as the real Stanley Cup and several other of the league's major trophies sat in the background.

"I haven't seen Marcel and Matty in a while, so this is great," the legendary Gordie Howe told "We look a little older now, but the memories do come back."

Delvecchio agreed.

"Events like this are great," he said. "There's a lot of rehash. I don't have the chance to see a lot of the guys, like Marty and Red Kelly. It's just great to have an event like this."

One of the key memories mentioned by Bettman was how Lindsay began the tradition of parading the Stanley Cup around the rink for fans to see. Lindsay said he didn't have creating a tradition in mind when he skated over to the crowd at the old Olympia, he just wanted to give back.

"I was well aware who paid my salary and it wasn't Mr. Norris, it was the fans" said Lindsay, still as feisty today as he was during his playing days. "I saw the Cup just sitting there, no one was around it, so I picked it up and brought it to the fans. I wanted to be respectful to the people who paid my salary."

To a man, the Red Wings said that while talent was important for a team that finished in first place for seven consecutive seasons starting in 1948-49, it was the bond among the players that propelled them to greatness.

"It was a unit," Lindsay said. "There are a lot of guys who aren't here today that made it possible for Marty, Alex, Gordie, Marcel, red and myself to enjoy this kind of recognition."

"It was just great fun," Pavelich said. "You have to have that chemistry and we did."

"We all liked being together," Howe said. "We were all taught the same things. Lines were created and left together. We practiced together, rode in the same seats on the planes or trains so we could talk. You would room as pairs. Conversations took place."

The Red Wings would hold informal get-togethers each week with their families and Lindsay said no excuses were accepted for missing out.

"And we used to bowl every week," Pavelich said. "We had our own shirts! The companionship was just great … the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley … God bless us!"

The bond between the players, the team and the city was clearly evident in their remarks. Besides being Stanley Cup winners, the six great Wings clearly loved playing for the fans and the city as much as they enjoyed playing for themselves.

"It's a great city," red Kelly said. "Great fans and a great sports town."

"Just a fantastic town," Pavelich echoed. "I will love Detroit until the day I die."

"A great sports town," Delvecchio said. "And not just for hockey. I'm surprised at how many people remember Alex Delvecchio."

We'll leave the last word on the subject to Lindsay.

"This won't mean a lot to everyone, but I ended up a Red Wing and that means a lot to me."





1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
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