Who is the greatest hockey team ever?

Aug, 2 2023

Delving into the Ice: A Look at Hockey's Mighty Warriors

Chasing the puck down the icy rink, bodies crashing, sticks slashing, and a deafening roar from the crowd as the puck glides into the net – there’s no denying that hockey is a sport of incredible skill, grit, and passion. However, amongst the legions of exceptional hockey teams, who truly claims the title of the greatest? Let's embark on a proverbial face-off to explore this intriguing question and, in no particular order, examine some absolutely extraordinary teams that vied for glory on the icy battleground.

The Demolishing Dynamo: Montreal Canadiens (1955-56 to 1959-60)

As we shuffle on the ice of our discussion, the first squad that deserves an unequivocal drop of the puck are the Montreal Canadiens. There is something fascinatingly compelling about the Canadiens during their most elevated run, from 1955-56 to 1959-60. A supremely commanding team, the Canadiens reigned supreme in the National Hockey League (NHL), clinching five consecutive Stanley Cups. We are talking about a squad proficient in completely dominating their adversaries, with legends such as Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard, and arguably the greatest goalie in the history of the sport, Jacques Plante. Their blend of athleticism and mastering ice strategy executed a play that was quite ahead of its time. Understand that the Canadiens did not just win, they left their opponents in awe of their coordinated hat tricks and defensive prowess.

The Islanders’ Powerful Wave: New York Islanders (1980-81 to 1982-83)

Sailing straight into the second place of our listing, we set our sights on the New York Islanders of the early '80s. The Islanders during this time stood as an emblem of formidable strength and strategic brilliance, mirrored by achieving four straight Stanley Cup triumphs. Coached by the stalwart Al Arbour and led by exceptional talents like Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, and Denis Potvin, they were truly a tidal wave that swept away competitors. The Islanders pushed the limits of what was possible on ice, their exceptional playmaking abilities and unique defensive tactics have often been the topic of many a recounting in hockey circles. It's their shared ambition and cooperation, coupled with individual skill, that makes them a standout contender for the title of the greatest hockey team ever.

Busting the Spectacles: Edmonton Oilers (1983-84 to 1989-90)

Next up, we need to strap on our virtual skates and speed straight to the '80s, where the Edmonton Oilers were causing quite the mayhem on ice! This team was nothing short of hockey's rockstars led by the mercurial Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Jari Kurri. They battled their way to five Stanley Cups within just seven years. Their aggressive style, coupled with intricate play strategies and an uncanny ability to turn a game on its head, was nothing short of spectacular. In Gretzky, they had the ultimate trump card - a player who seemed to exist on a higher plane than his contemporaries. To highlight Gretzky’s impact, he holds the record for the most goals in a season, a staggering 92 in the ‘81-’82 season. Their game-play exhibited an intense rhythm of decisive attacks and sophisticated puck control systems. The Oilers' ingenuity on ice, makes them a solid contender in the search for the greatest hockey team ever.

Underdogs Turned Alpha Wolves: Detroit Red Wings (1996-97 & 1997-98)

Switching gears, we shall now delve into the late 90s, where the Detroit Red Wings soared and seared their way to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in the seasons of 96-97 and 97-98. This team was nothing less than a raw combination of determination, skill, and heart. Studded with top-tier talent such as Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, and Nicklas Lidström, the Red Wings demonstrated an impressive sense of unity and fierce resolve. They personified the spirit of a true underdog story, transforming their long-standing 'Dead Wings' title to once again becoming the 'Steeltown's Pride'. Their commitment to defensive skill paired with an effective offensive approach earned them a spot in hockey history, and thus, our discussion.

The Penguins' Grand March: Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16 & 2016-17)

Lastly, not too far back in our rearview mirrors, we find the Pittsburgh Penguins that asserted their strength with back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The Penguins under the leadership of Sidney Crosby, showcased a game that was fast-paced, intuitive, and carried elements of surgical precision. Often compared to a well-oiled machine, the Penguins exhibited a delightful blend of speed and strategy that was both thrilling to watch and effective in execution. The team also celebrated Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel among its ranks, recording one of the most lethal offensive lines in the game. What made this team special was their resilience, pushing back from previous defeats to claim hockey's highest honor. Their nonpareil success cemented their case for being considered among the greatest of all time.

In my personal life as a devoted hockey fan, I've had the fortune to witness most of these teams in action on television broadcasts. The excitement they generate in the challenging game of hockey, the way they inspire younger generations and, most importantly, the sheer entertainment they provide to fans like myself is simply unmatched. So, here's to these excellent embodiments of teamwork! May their stories serve as cheers to the engaging, electrifying, and endearing sport of hockey!