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Sporting News Fans Vote 2001-02 Red Wings As Best NHL Team

The Sporting News voters took to the polls and voted the 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings as the best NHL team of all-time, beating their 1951-52 counterparts.

Loaded with future Hall of Famers, the 2001-02 team didn't accumulate the most regular season wins or have the most impressive route to the Stanley Cup (they actually lost their first two games in the in the opening round), but it was impossible to overlook the talent on that squad. Fans voted the 2002 squad over the 1952 Detroit Red Wings, which also won the Stanley Cup, by a 32 percent margin.

The Sporting News panel of writers selected the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens as the best ever. One unnamed Hockey Hall of Famer evidently thought there was some bias with that selection:

When Sporting News’ panelists selected the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens the No. 1 NHL team,  one NHL Hall of Famer told writer Craig Custance, "Must have been a lot of Canadiens on that panel."

Follow us after the jump for a comparison between the three teams.

So which team was better, the 1951-52 Wings, the 1976-77 Canadiens or the 2001-02 Wings? 

Top 3 scorers
'52 Wings
Gordie Howe: 47 goals, 39 assists, 86 points
Ted Lindsay: 30 goals, 39 assists, 69 points
Sid Abel: 17 goals, 36 assists, 53 points

'77 Canadiens
Guy Lafleur: 56 goals, 80 assists, 136 points
Steve Shutt: 60 goals, 45 assists, 105 points
Larry Robinson: 19 goals, 66 assists, 85 points

'02 Wings
Brendan Shanahan: 37 goals, 38 assists, 75 points
Sergei Fedorov: 31 goals, 37 assists, 68 points
Brett Hull: 30 goals, 33 assists, 63 points

Goalies
'52 Wings
Terry Sawchuk: 44 wins, 14 losses 12 ties, 1.90 GAA, 12 shutouts

'77 Canadiens
Ken Dryden: 41 wins, 6 losses, 8 ties, 2.10 GAA, 10 shutouts

'02 Wings
Dominik Hasek: 41 wins, 15 losses 8 ties, 2.17 GAA, 5 shutouts

End of season record:
'52 Wings: 44-14-12, 100 points
'77 Canadiens: 60-8-12, 132 points
'02 Red Wings: 51-17-10, 116 points

All three teams won the Stanley Cup.