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May 01, 2008

1952: Howe's Wings Begin Dynasty, With Help From An Octopus

The year is 1952. Gordie Howe's Red Wings, who have suffered their fair share of playoff disappointment, sweep the Montreal Canadiens to capture the first of three Stanley Cups in four years.

The Red Wings were very convincing of their superiority in this playoff. The team won eight consecutive playoff games in a row, going undefeated in their quest for the Stanley Cup. Remember, back in the days of the Original Six there was only two rounds and 8 wins needed to become champion.

Though he got his name on the Cup back in 1950, in many ways this was Gordie Howe's first Stanley Cup. He was in hospital back when the Wings won 2 years earlier, fighting for his life thanks to a fracture skull. But in 1952, no one could doubt Howe's or the Red Wings' greatness.

History tends to overlook the undefeated Red Wings championship and instead focuses on the birth of a Detroit tradition - the throwing of the octopus.

Two Detroit brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano, threw the eight-legged creature on the ice at old Olympia Stadium. The thinking was each leg of the octopus was symbolic of the 8 playoff wins then necessary to win the Stanley Cup.

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