The 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings were a legendary team, period. That Red Wings team added so many phenomenal players right before the season began, adding them to a team that already had a very solid foundation. The names they added are simply mind-blowing: Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille to go along with a core of Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios was just unfair to the rest of the league. Many of these players took pay cuts or left other desirable opportunities on the table to form one of the most formidable teams in NHL history and it clearly worked as the Red Wings won the Presidents’ Trophy, and ultimately the 2002 Stanley Cup.
The team was so dominant and played so gracefully together that it was one of the most beautiful seasons in NHL history. A joy to Detroit fans and a nightmare for opposing teams night in and night out, the Red Wings certainly were prime time television. Now 15 years after that historic season, it’s time to reflect on their greatness and catch up with the individual players that collectively formed one of the most memorable seasons ever.
While many of these players have hung around the game in some form (i.e., coaching, front office, broadcasting, etc.), they all have different and unique stories. One fun thing about this team is that many of its players have continued to gather from time to time to partake in Detroit’s alumni games, and many of them show they still have some skills. Open up a nice bottle of Igor Larionov inspired wine (more detail below), and take a trip down memory lane as you read about what the 2002 Stanley Cup champions are up to today. Cheers!
Steve Yzerman was the heart and soul of the 2002 Stanley Cup Champions. As the captain, he was the veteran that was in charge of keeping all the superstars on the roster in check and holding his teammates accountable night in and night out. Although he suffered from a knee injury in 2002, he played through the pain and led his team through their rugged playoff run. Instead of hoisting the Stanley Cup first like captains typically do, he handed the cup off to head coach Scotty Bowman, who was coaching his last game, out of respect. Yzerman was a true NHL captain.
Yzerman continues to lead in the NHL, but does so now from the front office. In 2010, he accepted the general manager position with the Tampa Bay Lighting, which he still holds to this day. He is widely regarded as one of the best GMs in the game and built a team that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. In doing so, he received the General Manager of the Year Award. Yzerman continues to have his hand on the game and would love to win a Stanley Cup with the Lightning before he’s all done.
The 2002 season saw the NHL debut of Pavel Datsyuk, one of the best generational talents of the past decade. Datsyuk’s previous international experience allowed him to make an impact his first season and Bowman made the wise decision of pairing him with Brett Hull and Boyd Deveraux to help aid his transition. Although Datsyuk had a quiet rookie season, he produced three big goals during the Red Wings’ run to the Stanley Cup. It was just a glimpse of one of the most illustrious and decorated careers the NHL has ever seen.
Incredibly, Datsyuk is still playing hockey to this day. After he made it clear that he desired to return to Russia and finish his great career in his motherland, the Red Wings traded him to the Coyotes on the day of the 2016 draft (a salary cap move for both teams that also allowed the Coyotes to move-up and draft impressive rookie Jakob Chychrun). On July 8, 2016, Datsyuk signed a two-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. His legend continues.
Fans either love or hate Kris Draper. Unlike many of the names on this list, Draper was not an uber-talented offensive player but his toughness and grit was essential to the championship teams in Detroit. He was the main cog of the “grind line” for the Red Wings and many of his contributions to the team were overlooked. The way the game was back then, however, a team needed fiesty guys like Draper if they wanted to hoist the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.
Following his retirement with the Red Wings in 2011, Draper joined the franchise’s front office. Currently, Draper is the special assistant to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. It was noted that Draper would be helping Holland in player evaluations and draft scouting. This would lead to the inference that Draper is being molded to one day take over as a general manger in the NHL at some point.
By the 2001-02 season, Sergei Fedorov was already a household name and bonafide NHL superstar. Fedorov was often considered the heart and soul of the Red Wings that year while their captain Yzerman was out with his knee injury. His production was extremely high, tallying 31 goals and 37 assists for the eventual champions. In the playoffs, he added 5 goals and 14 assists that proved to be huge during the championship run. He bounced around the NHL for another eight seasons before finally taking his talent to the KHL to end his career.
These days, Fedorov continues to be involved in the game as the general manager of the KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow. Fedorov continues to produce quality teams, as the 2014-15 CKSA Moscow team advanced to the KHL championship, ultimately losing in seven games to Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Fedorov still returns to Detroit during the KHL offseason and there is speculation that he will one day attempt to transition to a NHL front office position.
Brett Hull was an established legend by the time he signed with the Red Wings in the offseason leading into the 2001-02 NHL season. Hull made a name for himself with his incredible career with the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars before joining the Red Wings, leading the league in scoring multiple times. Although he was entering the downslope of his career, the sharp-shooting sniper continued a high level of play for the Red Wings, pouring in 30 regular season goals and 10 in the postseason for good measure.
In 2013, Hull returned to the franchise that he helped bring to relevance when he joined the St. Louis Blues’ front office as executive Vice-President. He also has dabbled in commentating when he was signed by ESPN to provide analysis during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. As a lifelong gamer, Hull will continue to be heavily involved with the sport as his post-retirement career goes on.
Among the impressive incoming class of the Red Wings 2001-02 additions, Robitaille brought additional fire power to the star-studded lineup. After amassing an amazing career, mostly with the Los Angeles Kings, Robitaille sought to add a Stanley Cup to his credentials when he made his way to Detroit. In his first season with the Red Wings, Robitaille scored 30 goals and added extra veteran experience. It’s incredible that the Red Wings were so talented that season, that Robitaille was essentially just another piece of the puzzle.
After his playing career ended, Robitaille was named the Los Angeles Kings President of Business Operations, a role that he continues to hold today. In his time in the front office with the Kings, the team has won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014. Robitaille has also dabbled in acting since retirement as he was featured in an episode of the popular sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” Acting seemed like a natural after his short, yet memorable cameo in the classic D2: The Mighty Ducks movie. Lastly, Robitaille is very actively involved in various charities located in the Southern California community.
Unlike many of the other stars on this list, Shanahan was already a key piece for the Detroit Red Wings heading into the 2001-02 season. He continued his usual production that season when he netted 31 goals and 45 assists, and another 8 goals in the postseason. Shanahan was a true professional and was an important glue piece in keeping the talent loaded Red Wings complete. His legendary career came to an end in 2009 when he retired as a member of the New Jersey Devils.
In 2011, Shanahan took over the important role of NHL’s Senior Vice President of Player Safety in which he was in charge of ruling on controversial hits, including doling out suspensions for illegal hits. Nowadays, Shanahan serves as president and alternate governor for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It will be interesting to watch how Shanahan shapes the Toronto franchise around budding superstar Auston Matthews. Shanahan has also been a major supporter of the Alzheimers Association, a disease his father suffered late in life.
Jason Williams signed with the Detroit Red Wings as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He earned a roster spot the following season and eventually played 25 games during the 2001-02 season and added another nine games during the Red Wings Stanley Cup run. Mostly a role player for the uber talented Red Wings, Williams provided a spark of youth that the team could rely on when counted on. As a talented skater, Williams was able to bounce around the NHL for 13 seasons.
As a younger player on the 2002 Stanley Cup team, especially young in comparison to many of his teammates that season, Williams has yet to retire. Most recently he played Kolner Haie of the Dutch hockey league (DEL). Currently residing in Ontario, Canada, the former Stanley Cup champion appears to be a ready and willing free agent in search of another opportunity to continue his professional hockey career.
After playing 12 seasons in the Soviet League, Igor Larionov finally made the transition to the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks. A very talented skater that was loaded with offensive potential, Larionov was a solid player for the 2002 Red Wings as he tallied 50 points during the regular season and had an important 11 points in the playoffs. Nicknamed “The Professor,” Larionov was a vital piece of the Red Wings, winning a total of three Stanley Cups with the team. The veteran finally retired from professional hockey in 2006, finishing with an incredible 28 seasons of professional hockey.
Rumor has it that Larionov used to drink a glass of red wine before games. Whether or not this is true, wine is clearly a passion of his as he is now a wine connoisseur with several brands of wine sold internationally. Two of his more popular selections are labeled “Hat Trick” and “Triple Overtime.” Larionov is also a co-founder and certified player agent for The Will Sports Group that represents professional hockey players. His wines can currently be ordered online.
Although Kirk Maltby was tabbed as a potential prolific goal scorer based on his time in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), in which he once scored 50 goals in a single season, Maltby was much more of a role player on the infamous “Grind Line” for the Red Wings. Maltby was very effective in utilizing his sound cross-checking game to agitate opposing players and would often attempt to get under the skin of teams star players. Maltby continued to play the majority of his career with the Red Wings before retiring in 2010.
Upon retiring, Maltby stayed with the franchise as a player scout and draft consultant, a role that he continues to serve in today. He also enjoys coaching and mentoring youth players as he now helps run the Red Wings annual youth camps. Maltby, who was always a favorite of the media with his entertaining and fun personality, appears to have passed down those skills to his daughter who is a budding youth actress. It would not shock anybody to see Maltby transition to a coaching role sometime in the near future.
The nickname “Homer,” appears fitting for Tomas Holmstrom as he played his entire 15-year NHL career with the Red Wings. The Swede was infamous for his ability to hold his ground in front of the crease and effectively shield goalies views from oncoming shots. Holmstrom had an impressive 8 goals during the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs and was a pivotal, yet often overlooked piece of the team. Holmstrom won four Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and retired in 2012.
Since his retirement, Holmstrom has laid relatively low and appears to be enjoying a more normalized lifestyle as a father. He has helped the Red Wings coaching staff during the team’s development camps and could look to get into a more permanent coaching position in the future. This is also evidenced by the fact that Holmstrom helps coach his sons’ youth teams.
As a role player for the Red Wings, Boyd Devereaux provided a reliable presence night in and night out. Never much of a flashy player, Devereaux put together a stable 2001-02 season and postseason on his way to winning his first and only Stanley Cup. Late in his career, Devereaux suffered a frightening neck injury that all but ended his playing ability. Devereaux put together a very nice career before retiring in 2010.
Since his playing days, Devereaux has channeled his artistic talents into starting a video production company called Waking Sound Productions. He is able to use the connections he made during his career to gather clients for video series and documentaries. Devereaux is also the co-owner of Elevation Recordings, a Michigan based music label. It’s stories like Devereaux that make you realize that we tend to forget that professional athletes have other passions and interests outside of their respective sports.
At the age of 37 when he signed with the Detroit Red Wings in 1999, Chelios was already an icon in the NHL and provided an immediate upgrade of the Red Wings blue line. In his career, Chelios was selected to 11 all-star teams, the last one being in 2002. One of the most amazing stats regarding Chelios’s career is that out of his 26 NHL seasons (tied with Gordie Howe for the most ever), his teams made the playoff 24 times. While it takes a team to get to the playoffs, Chelios’s greatness no doubt played a big role in each of those seasons.
Chelios was always an active figure off the ice, starting numerous businesses including his restaurants “Cheli’s Chili Bar,” which are still going strong to this day. But Chelios remained heavily involved with the Red Wings as Executive Advisor to Ken Holland (general manager) of the organization. This was the same position his former teammate Steve Yzerman held before taking the Tampa Bay general manager position. Most recently Chris Chelios has assumed an assistant coach position on the Detroit staff.
Often regarded as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Lidstrom was an extremely valuable piece of the 2002 Stanley Cup champion Red Wings. Lidstrom played all 20 of his NHL seasons with Detroit, compiling a total of 1,142 total points, which is a shocking number for a player also tasked with shutting down the best players in the league. Lidstrom was pivotal in the Red Wings playoff run in 2002, evidenced by the NHL awarding him with the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player (MVP) during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In short, Lidstrom is essentially a hockey god in Detroit.
Shortly after retiring, Lidstrom rejoined the Red Wings as a member of the organization’s scouting department. Lidstrom makes a perfect scout as he can help bridge a relationship with young, talented Swedish born skaters and the draft team for the Red Wings. The name Lidstrom might become hockey royalty one day as Lidstrom is also a father to four sons, the oldest of which is already playing in Division 1 hockey in Sweden. It would be quite the moment for Detroit fans if Lidstrom one days drafts one of his sons to the Red Wings organization.
Jiri Fischer was the 25th overall pick in the 1998 draft and had established himself as a young player with a bright future by the time he helped the Red Wings win the 2002 Stanley Cup. During the 2005-06 season, however, that bright future became incredibly dim in the blink of an eye. While in a game against the Nashville Predators, Fischer tragically suffered a cardiac episode that stopped his heart while sitting on the bench. Fortunately, team doctors and arena personnel were able to save his life and transport him safely to the hospital but Fischer would never play competitively again.
After regaining control of his health, Fischer accepted a position with the Red Wings to remain a part of the organization as Director of Player Development. This was a position that fit Fischer well as he always enjoyed working and mentoring younger players. In 2016, Fischer expressed a desire to transition to a player evaluation role in his desire to expand his executive prowess, to which the Red Wings obliged. (Note: A more happy ending occurred in 2013, when Fischer returned to the ice for the 2013 alumni game and scored the game’s first goal.)
A converted defensemen, Mathieu Dandenault had an efficient offensive skill set for the position that provided versatility for the Red Wings. During the 2001-02 season, Dandenault provided a sense of accountability for the lesser known players on the team. His effectiveness was key in keeping all the lines fresh and his play was somewhat overlooked by the bigger names at his position for such a loaded team. Dandenault etched out a place in Detroit fans hearts during his nine year stint with the Red wings before retiring in 2010.
After hanging up the skates, Dandenault appeared on season four of Battle of the Blades, an ice figure skating competition similar to the wildly popular television series Dancing With the Stars. Dandenault still enjoys playing the game he built his life around though as he played for the Red Wings during the 2016 NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game. Dandenault has kept his ties to the NHL but is enjoying his retirement and other ventures he’s involved himself with.
Darren McCarty was always a Detroit fan favorite because of his toughness and ability to always produce in the clutch. Although he was known more as an enforcer, McCarty has some of the most memorable goals in Red Wings history. During the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs, McCarty registered a hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche that helped the Red Wings advance past the Western Conference Finals. McCarty won four Stanley Cup Championships with the Red Wings before retiring in 2009.
A quirky personality, McCarty has been involved in many different realms since hanging up his skates. He has written books about his playing days, appeared on reality TV shows (Hardcore Pawn), and hockey broadcasting. More recently, McCarty has appeared as a proponent of the legalization of marijuana, often citing the medical benefits of the drug. McCarty, who struggled with alcohol addiction for years, went as far as to say that marijuana saved his life. The former enforcer is now fighting the good fight for all of us.
Fredrik Olausson only played one year with the Detroit Red Wings but he made the most of it, helping the team secure the Stanley Cup. In a team that was loaded with big names, Olausson floated somewhat under the radar but was a consistent and reliable role player. As a seasoned vet by that point in his career, Olausson proved to be valuable in the playoffs with his steady defensive presence.
Currently, Olausson is an assistant coach for the Swedish professional hockey club, HV71, which plays in the top tier of the Swedish Hockey League. HV71 won the championship in 2007-08, but has lost in the quarterfinals the past six seasons. Like Olausson’s brief stint with the Red Wings, his personal life since retirement has flown mostly under the radar.
A successful, albeit journeyman career was coming to an end when Steve Duchesne signed with the Detroit Red Wings prior to the start of the 1999-00 season. Early in his career, Duchesne was an offensively gifted defensemen, peaking in 1993 when he scored 20 goals and 62 assists for the Quebec Nordiques. The 2002 season was Duchesne’s final season and he ended a solid career with his first Stanley Cup championship.
After his playing career ended, Duchesne’s first big business venture was becoming part owner of the Allen Americans, a Texas hockey team that plays in the East Coast Hockey League. Presently, Duchesne is the President and CEO of TexCana Energy Inc., a company that specializes primarily in renewable energy. Needless to say, Duchesne has continued to use his tenacious attitude in his off-ice activities.
Jiri Slegr had a steady, yet quiet NHL career and won his only Stanley Cup in 2002 after being traded from Atlanta to Detroit. For Detroit, Slegr was not a key piece of the championship team but provided depth when needed. In fact, Slegr only played in one game during the Red Wings playoff run to the championship. His NHL career lasted another three seasons before Slegr finished his playing days overseas.
Slegr has had an interesting post-playing life as he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. He remained in the political realm until 2013 when he resigned from his elected position. It appears that Slegr had an interest in returning to the game as a coach, but that has been unconfirmed. Many believe that Slegr has the potential to return to the NHL one day as a position coach.
It’s only fitting that one of the pieces the Red Wings added in their star-studded 2001 free agent class was Dominik Hasek, one of the greatest goalies of all time. Hasek had already established this claim by the time he joined Detroit, winning six Vezina trophies from 1993 to 2001. Known as “The Dominator,” Hasek remained fantastic with his new team, winning 41 games and setting an NHL record with six postseason shutouts. He was simply incredible for his entire career 16-year NHL career.
After retiring from the NHL, Hasek played a few more seasons in the KHL before officially hanging up the pads. In 2014, the Buffalo Sabres inducted him into their hall of fame and at that time Hasek stated that his hockey career was behind him and that, “there are new goals in life and always something to prove.” It’s still uncertain what goals Hasek will set his mind to now, but he certainly appears to be enjoying the retirement lifestyle.
He still enjoys playing pick-up hockey games occasionally and we should all feel bad for the poor souls he plays against in those games because it’s easy to predict that he “dominates” them.
Manny Legace had an interesting NHL career after bouncing around the minor leagues for several years. It even took several season for Legace to earn a backup role with the Red Wings in the 2001 season, but he remained a viable replacement during his time with Detroit and actually assumed the starting position during the 2003-04 season before losing the job to Curtis Joseph. In the 2002 Stanley Cup season, Legace was rarely used and only appeared once in the playoffs to relieve Hasek during a loss to the St. Louis Blues. He continued to bounce around for several season before retiring in 2011.
After his playing career ended, Legace joined the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL as a goaltender coach. After coaching for several seasons, he moved onto a team consultancy role with the Springfield Falcons, a team he played for during the early stages of his career. After joining Fox Sports Detroit as a hockey commentator, Legace returned to coaching with the Lake Erie Monsters (now Cleveland Monsters). He also runs the Legace Hockey Academy that provides goaltender training and leadership skills for up and coming goalies.
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