The Detroit Red Wings set the single season record for games unbeaten at home tonight. When assessing the reasons for the organization’s success, it can be very easy to miss the majority of those fantastic reasons and just attribute it to simply having good players. That assessment though, is incredibly shortsighted, and certainly does not address the whole situation.
The Red Wings certainly have some of the best players in the league. Franzen, Holmstrom, Datsyuk, Krownwall, and Zetterberg are all the class of the NHL. They are a undoubtedly one of the reasons why Detroit is so successful. But the Red Wings are not good one year and then terrible the next. Without fail it seems that they are top of the league perennially. So how does Detroit maintain its high level of performance? They are an organization that takes a great deal of pride in their history. They consistently draft players who fit a system that has been tweaked, refined, and fine-tuned over decades of competition. These players are able to join an organization where the expectations for effort, behavior, and performance are expressly laid out. They also identify coaches who can not only espouse the ideals of the organization, but have a history of success and know how to get the most out of their players.
The Red Wings do not always win the Stanley Cup. However, every single year they are in the conversation when anyone is discussing the best teams in the league. Based on the way the organization operates, it would be almost impossible to imagine a Detroit Red Wings team not making the playoffs. Their commitment to excellence is reinforced at every level, and it is apparent to any observer that they will maintain their success for many more seasons.