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Was '97 or '02 team better?


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#1 Konnan511

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:39 AM

DETNEWS


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.




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#2 Gordie Howe hat trick

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:55 AM

While i did love the '97 team, and how they played most of all. There will never be such a stacked team as the '02 one. Mark my words, that team will remain the best the NHL has ever seen for a long time; but more likely will ever see again.
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#3 atodaso

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:57 AM

what draper said.

#4 xtrememachine1

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:56 AM

The 2002 team was as close to invincible as their will ever be.

#5 Finnish Wing

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:10 AM

I think Stevie said the 97' team mostly because he didn't have a big part in the 02' season.
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#6 HockeytownRules19

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:41 AM

02 team would own the 97 team but that's just me

#7 evilzyme

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:01 AM

I think shanahan and draper answer the question perfectly. 1997 team was gritty hardworking and that won them their championship. 2002 was based on ALOT of talent.. ALOT ALOT ALOT of talent, sometimes strictly talent does get you to the cup. Mind you, they also had easily one of the best coaches to coach the NHL at the time also..

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#8 kook_10

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:06 AM

While the 02 team definitely had more talent, there is something more compelling about a team with everyone playing closer to their individual peaks which I think 97 had. The 02 team was so awesome it didn't have to go full bore all the time though.

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#9 zombi

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:31 AM

Check out the fan bracket :)

http://www.sportingn...t-teams/bracket

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#10 Kira

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:01 AM

Much as I loved the team in both '97 and '98 (and if any team needed a reason to rally round, we did in '98), I have to say the team in '02 was just phenomenal. I mean, look at the fourth line - two Hall of Famers on the fourth line - how many teams do you know who can make that claim? And it also gave us a chance to see a potential star for the first time...that year was proof that you really had to have something to crack the lineup as a rookie, and a certain someone did just that. And now look at where he is...

And this is a team ('02) where I can honestly say I remember exactly where I was when the whole thing turned around and I knew that it was ours. I can't say that about '97.
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#11 nate94gt

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:01 AM

im quite surprised this is even up for question. ;)

#12 matt198913

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:03 AM

I love the 97 team. But in terms of being better for it would be the 02 team. I cmon ten hall of famers. But the 97 team of a sweeter victory. Especially after losing in 95, and 96...
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#13 haroldsnepsts

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:28 AM

Easy choice for me, and not just because I'm agreeing with Stevie and Shanny. :P

I'll go with the team who had the burden of 40 years of losing on its back when it won the Cup, then came back with basically the same lineup and won it again the next season after tragically losing their top defenseman. '02 was ridiculously stacked with talent and was basically an all-star team, but 97 was talent, heart, guts and grit.

If we're talking about not just who had the most talent but who was better, it's 97 all the way.

#14 VM1138

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:51 AM

'02 was hailed as one of the greatest teams all time even before they stepped on the ice. To me, it's not really an argument. As for that fan bracket on Sporting News, I'm not surprised that it comes down to the '70s Canadiens and '02 Wings. However, I remember a lot of experts at the time saying Montreal was better so I'm betting that is the team that will win that particular vote.

I think an interesting debate would be the '52 or '02 Wings, though. Had the team not been dismantled the Wings could've gone on to challenge or even beat Montreal in total Cups won. Those 50's Wings teams were among the greatest ever in my mind.

EDIT: Some people are mixing up "best team" with "best storyline" I think. '97 was great, but there's no way it can stack up to the '02 team in talent, which is what "best" generally means in my mind.

Edited by VM1138, 16 February 2011 - 10:52 AM.

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#15 Detroit # 1 Fan

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:13 AM

Hahaha, this is why I love Shanny. "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." :lol:

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#16 redwingfan19

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:16 AM

97 all the way
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#17 Konnan511

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:20 AM

I think the 02 team was the most talented, but I think the better team was the 97 team. It was roughly the same team that also won th record number of games.

Edited by Konnan511, 16 February 2011 - 11:20 AM.

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#18 haroldsnepsts

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:23 AM

I think Stevie said the 97' team mostly because he didn't have a big part in the 02' season.

He scored 23 points in the playoffs in 02.

'02 was hailed as one of the greatest teams all time even before they stepped on the ice. To me, it's not really an argument. As for that fan bracket on Sporting News, I'm not surprised that it comes down to the '70s Canadiens and '02 Wings. However, I remember a lot of experts at the time saying Montreal was better so I'm betting that is the team that will win that particular vote.

I think an interesting debate would be the '52 or '02 Wings, though. Had the team not been dismantled the Wings could've gone on to challenge or even beat Montreal in total Cups won. Those 50's Wings teams were among the greatest ever in my mind.

EDIT: Some people are mixing up "best team" with "best storyline" I think. '97 was great, but there's no way it can stack up to the '02 team in talent, which is what "best" generally means in my mind.

And others are mixing up "most HOFers" with "best."

To me "best" is mostly likely to win playoff games and the Cup. That doesn't necessarily mean the same as talent level.

Like I said, the 97 team won again in 98, minus their top defenseman. That's a pretty strong team.

#19 Hockeytown0001

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:46 PM

2002 was probably the most talent ever assembled on one team.

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#20 Nev

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:49 PM

"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."


OMG!!! Shanny is anti-enforcer!!!!!


Back on-topic ;) I always go back to what Scotty Bowman said when asked after he retired what the best team he coached was. He said the '02 Wings. This is the guy who had the 70s Canadiens with Robinson, Dryden, Lemaire, Shutt, Lafleur et al. The guy who coached the '92 Penguins with Lemieux, Jagr, Francis, Coffey et al. And he said the '02 Wings. As Kira pointed out, we had Brett Hull and Pavel Datsyuk on the 4th line!!!! The 2-0 win in game 6 in Denver is possibly the finest Wings performance I have ever seen (beats 2008 finals Game 1 because of the adversity factor).

However, where are the '08 Wings in all this? They may not have had the depth of talent of the '02 team, or the toughness of '97, but for me, as a team, as a collective unit committing to a system and a style of play to achieve success, they were the best, machine like in their style of play. That injury riddled February robbed them of a chance to put up a '96 style regular season, and for my money they were only outplayed once in the entire playoff run (when they s*** the bed at home to Dallas)
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