In 1997, the Wings ended a 42-year drought, winning the Stanley Cup with a team featuring skill and toughness. In 2002, the Wings won the Cup again, with a roster featuring possibly 10 Hall of Famers.
Both teams are among the NHL's best ever, but the question is which one is better.
According to The Sporting News, it's the 2002 team, which it listed as one of the 10 best NHL teams ever. The 1997 team? It wasn't listed in the top 10, which upset a few members of the team.
"I would say the '02 team might have been the most talented group, but I think '97 was the better team," said Steve Yzerman, the captain of both teams.
Brendan Shanahan echoed Yzerman.
"I would say 2002 was deeper, maybe had more talent," Shanahan, a member of the '97 team told The Sporting News. "But '97 was just meaner, tougher, might have kicked the (expletive) out of '02.
"A lot of teams, in the regular season, could dress a tougher team than us," said Shanahan of the 1997 team. "The difference was, when the playoffs came, they didn't dress those tough guys. All of our tough guys played regular shifts."
Several other Wings players who played on both teams believe the 2002 team was better.
"What is it, 11 or 12 guys are going to make the Hall of Fame off that roster?" said Kris Draper, preparing with his teammates after Tuesday's practice for a trip to Tampa Bay with their fathers (it's the annual father-son trip). "All the individual trophy winners, the 700 goal scorers, 1,000 point guys.
So which is it LGW? The hard nosed gritty '97 team who kicked your butt on the ice and on the scoresheet, or the '02 team that finessed their way with 10+ HHOFs?
Also of note, the 2001 Avs team didn't crack the top 10 list and I think they were only slightly less impressive than the '02 Wings team.