Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated created three lists naming his NHL dream teams (All Time, Current, and Future). You can visit those links for the complete lists, but I'm only going to discuss the Detroit winners here.
Forward - Gordie Howe
Maurice Richard, Howe's archrival and eventual friend, was a more dynamic offensive player and a better pure goal-scorer, but the Rocket was not, alas, Mr. Hockey. Howe established the eternal benchmarks for the fully-evolved player. (To this day, if a player scores a goal, records an assist and has a fight in the same game, it is known as a Gordie Howe hat trick.) His longevity -- 26 NHL seasons interrupted by a famous stint playing with his sons Mark and Marty in the WHA -- was surpassed only by his productivity: 801 NHL goals. Howe did for elbows what Jennifer Lopez did for backsides.
Defense - Doug Harvey
(yes, he only played for Detroit for one season but I'm counting him anyways)
Before there was Orr, there was Harvey, whom I saw only late in his career with the Rangers. Now, maybe everything Harvey could do, Orr could do a little better -- rush the puck, control the game from the back, dominate defensively. But Harvey did them first, particularly rushing the puck, which was not in the defenseman's canon at the time. Asked to choose between Orr and Harvey last month, Tom Johnson, the former Bruins coach and executive who played with Harvey in Montreal, said he simply couldn't.
Head Coach - Scotty Bowman
Bowman was not merely the best coach in hockey. I argue that he was the best coach in North American professional sports. (Sorry, Red. My apologies, Vince.) Bowman won nine Stanley Cups with three different teams in different eras, proving his versatility and flexibility are the trademark of the most vibrant minds. He evolved with the times, starting in St. Louis in the 1970s when a coach's authority was absolute and ending in Detroit in a day when the players often demanded explanations. He won with Canadians. He won with Russians. He juggled line combinations like one of those cheesy acts on the old Ed Sullivan Show. Bowman always says his mentor, Toe Blake, was the NHL's best coach. For once, Bowman was wrong.
I don't think you can really go wrong with naming Mr. Hockey or Scotty Bowman to your all-time dream team. I know I would've put them on that list.
Numerous Red Wings players made the Reserve team:
C - Mario Lemiex, Jean Beliveau, Steve Yzerman
LW - Mark Messier, John Bucyk, Ted Lindsay
RW - Maurice Richard, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Bossy
D - Eddie Shore, Nicklas Lidstrom, Denis Potvin, Larry Robinson
G - Terry Sawchuk
Defense - Nicklas Lidstrom
He is, simply, textbook. No one plays the position like Lidstrom because no one plays as well positionally -- separating forwards from the puck without taking penalties, getting his stick into shooting lanes, clearing rebounds. He also organizes the Detroit power play, joins the rush five-on-five and controls the tempo of games. He most closely resembles Raymond Bourque in his all-around play, but is an even better, if less physical, one-on-one defender than the Hall of Famer. Lidstrom, who is as bland as vanilla ice cream, will be fully appreciated only after he goes home to Sweden.
There is no way you can argue this one as Lidstrom is one of the best defensemen to ever play the game.
Reserve at LW - Henrik Zetterberg
Only two Wings were named to the reserve team (and none to the All-Future Dream Team), Henrik Zetteberg at LW and Niklas Kronwall on defense.
I don't think you can deny that Detroit has been blessed with so many great players over the years and despite having weak draft pick numbers, the scouting staff still finds golden gems.
What do you guys think of Farber's selections? Are there any other Wings fans disappointed to see that Pavel Datsyuk did not make the All-Future team?