Over the next week or so, the squad at the Wings Nation will be looking at all of the Detroit Red Wings cup winning teams to acknowledge the past victories of the team (and maybe looking at the old shiny things will make you forget that they might not get a new one for a while). We start off with the original Cup winning team, the 1935-36 Detroit Red Wings. The franchise was in it’s tenth season, and had still yet to win a Stanley Cup (they were the only Original Six team without one at the time). However, the drought would finally end, as a strong season from the Wings would pay off with Stanley’s mug.
Stats via Hockey Reference
The Wings had a record of 24-16-8 (remember, the eight points are ties, not pity points), which led the league. They were the only team in the American Division that year to surpass 100 goals, and they were in a much deeper division than the Canadian Division, which had a 21 point spread, compared to the American’s 6 point spread. However, they were the only team to allow more than 100 goals as well, so they were certainly a high octane team, or at least as high octane as a team in the ’30s can be.
The team got off to a rough start, as they got just one win in their first seven games (a 1-2-4 record), a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, they quickly responded with a run of 12-4-2, and suddenly things weren’t looking so bleak. They played about .500 hockey for a good chunk of the season, until the last couple weeks saw them go winless in six games before closing out the season with back to back wins.
They opened the playoffs in the second round (first place division teams got a bye in the first round in those days) against the Montreal Maroons, and took easy care of them, sweeping them in three games. The first game was no walk in the park, as the Wings needed six overtimes to beat them 1-0 in the longest game in NHL history. They followed up with 3-0 and 2-1 wins, and were off to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Red Wings started off the Finals on the right foot at home, with 3-1 and 9-4 wins in the first two games to go up 2-0. The Leafs were relentless in game three, beating the Wings 4-3 in overtime to stave off elimination. But, the Wings would respond with a 3-2 win in game four to conclude the series, and win the Stanley Cup.
Photo via legendsofhockey.net
TEAM LEADING SCORERS
Veteran forward Marty Barry was the top offensive threat that season, as his 40 points and 21 goals were both team leaders. His totals wouldn’t be enough lead the league, as New York Americans forward Sweeney Schriner’s 45 points was the highest., while Charlie Conacher and Bill Thorns (both on the Leafs) total of 23 goals was the league best. Herbie Lewis was second on the team in scoring, and also led the team in assists with 23, which was fifth best league wise. The only other stat recorded at the time was PIMs, which forward/defenseman Ebbie Goodfellow led the team in with 69 (nice). That wasn’t even close to Leafs defenseman Red Horner’s 167 PIMs, despite Goodfellow being fifth in the league.
Regarding the goalie Normie Smith, he led the league in wins, while his 2.04 GAA was the seventh best in the league, and six shutouts were tied for fifth.
RETHINKING THE TEAM
Well, it’s tough to argue that this team didn’t deserve to win the Cup looking back at it now. They were the league’s best team in both the regular season and the playoffs, and while they weren’t the best at anything, they were good at everything, and sometimes that’s all you need to succeed.
For a team that won the franchises first Stanley Cup, you don’t see a lot of familiar faces and names on the roster. The only player on the team whose number isn’t allowed to be used is Larry Aulie’s #6, and even then it’s not officially retired.
For a team that was in just it’s fourth year under the name Red Wings, they did a very good job of grabbing hold of the league and running away with it. It’s just a shame that the Wings don’t do more to honour the team, because it almost seems like the forgotten team.