History of the National Hockey League/1942–1967/Dynasties/Detroit Red Wings

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Detroit Red Wings

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Beginning in 1948–49, the Red Wings won seven consecutive regular season titles, a feat that no other team has accomplished. During that time, the Wings won four Stanley Cups. It was during the 1952 Stanley Cup Finals that the Legend of the Octopus was created. Brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano brought a dead octopus to the Detroit Olympia for the fourth game of the finals. They reasoned that the eight tentacles of an octopus represented the eight wins required to win the Stanley Cup at the time. The Wings had already won seven consecutive playoff games, and they hoped that the octopus would inspire Detroit to an eighth victory. Detroit went on to defeat Montreal 3–0 and the tradition was born.

The Wings were led by Gordie Howe. In 1943, Howe was invited to the Rangers player camp in Winnipeg at the age of 15 but quickly became homesick and failed to make an impression on the Rangers coaches. The Red Wings invited him to their camp the next season where coach Jack Adams called him "the best prospect I've seen in 20 years." Two years later, Howe made his NHL debut for Detroit at the age of 18. On March 28, 1950, he was nearly killed during a playoff game against the Leafs. Howe mistimed an attempted check on Toronto's Ted Kennedy, causing him to slam into the boards head first. Howe was rushed to a hospital where doctors drilled a hole into his skull to relieve pressure on his brain. Despite fears that he would never play again, "Mr. Hockey" not only recovered to start the following season, he won his first of four consecutive scoring titles in 1950–51 and was 52 years old when he retired from professional hockey.