Red Wings Miss Playoffs for First Time Since 1990, Ending One of the Greatest Streaks in Pro Sports

The 1989-90 Detroit Red Wings, the last team from Motor city to miss the playoffs.

The 1989-90 Detroit Red Wings, the last team from Motor city to miss the playoffs.

Octopi sales are going to take a big hit in Motown this spring. For the first time since 1990, the Detroit Red Wings have failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

A 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday, coupled with wins by the Bruins and Leafs, mathematically eliminated Detroit from postseason contention.

At 25 years, the Wings’ playoff streak had been the longest active playoff streak not just in the NHL, but in all of pro sports. That title now belongs to the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, who recently extended their postseason streak to 20 years. The longest active NHL playoffs streak now belongs to the Penguins, who have reached the postseason for 11 straight years.

The Red Wings’ playoff streak is tied with that of the St. Louis Blues (1980-2005) for third-longest in NHL history. The Chicago Blackhawks are second with 28 straight playoff appearances (1979-97), while the Boston Bruins are first with 29 straight appearances (1968-96).

The last Red Wings team to miss the playoffs was coached by Jacques Demers and captained by a 24-year-old Steve Yzerman, who recorded 62 goals and 65 assists for a grand total of 127 points. Prior to that season the team drafted future Hall of Famers Nicklas Lindstrom and Sergei Fedorov, who would become key pieces to their future success. In 1993, Scotty Bowman took over head coaching duties from Bryan Murray, and three years later the franchise won the first of four Stanley Cups during their playoff streak.

Want some more Red Wings playoff streak trivia? A whopping 56% of active NHL players were not even born the last time Detroit missed the playoffs. Jaromir Jagr, the NHL’s oldest player, joined the league in 1990-91, the first year of the streak.

According to Sportsnet, the last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs a top of the line fax machine would have set you back $1600. And of course, those things were necessary for busienss, because nobody had the internet, let alone smartphones. America Online for DOS didn’t launch until 1991. Meanwhile, the Red Wings’ streak was already 16 years old when Apple introduced the first iPhone.

Of course, some would say it’s rather poetic that the Red Wings’ playoff streak would come to an end just months after the passing of beloved team owner Mike Ilitch. Talk about the end of an era.

Hat Tip – [Sportsnet,]

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