Paul Woods (born April 12, 1955, in Hespeler, Ontario) is the current color commentator for the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League on WXYT. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1977-1984. He was the youngest captain in team history before Steve Yzerman, serving as captain from 1978-79.
Quickly Woods became a fan favorite, as he scored 19 goals in his rookie season (A career high). Though he found his niche as a defensive forward, assuming the role of shutting down the oppositions top players. What made Woods a fan favorite was his work ethic and speed. Woods understood his role on the team, and he liked the pressure of going out on the ice in tight situations. "My lifelong dream was to play in the NHL," he said. "And it was the only way I could play in the NHL. I didn’t have an extraordinary shot or extraordinary skills like some other players. I just had to play hard all of the time."
The NHL Waiver Draft was inaugurated in the fall of 1977 and most NHL people chuckled when the Red Wings plopped down $50,000 to claim Paul Woods, a minor-league left-winger from the Montreal Canadiens farm system.
By the end of the 1977-78 season, many of the same people were calling it Detroit’s best deal in years. Woods, who won two AHL Calder Cup titles with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs in 1975-76 and 1976-77. He scored the cup winning goal for the Voyageurs in 1976. He was a speedster on skates who was most effective in a checking role.
Quotes about Woods
"He does so many things well, he sparks the club with his great attitude, intensity and will to win," Detroit coach Bobby Kromm said of his speedy rookie, who, skating on a line with Dale McCourt and Bill Lochead, produced 19-23-42 totals in 1977-78 and was voted Detroit’s most exciting player.
"He skates so smooth and easy, just like a Montreal Canadien," said Wings GM Ted Lindsay, who forked out the $50,000 for Woods, calling it, "The best investment the team has made."
When Detroit ventured into the 1977-78 playoffs, Woods again shone, collecting a club rookie-record five assists and turning the head of a pretty knowledgeable hockey man. "My God, that Woods can skate," said Hall of Fame coach Toe Blake after watching his work as a checker against Canadiens star Guy Lafleur in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"Woodsie was amazing," teammate Dennis Hextall said. "His worth wasn’t in scoring 25-30 goals a season, it was his hustle. For all the assignments he got killing penalties as a first-year man, it really showed his value."
Post NHL career
He has been the radio analyst on Red Wings broadcasts for several years, currently working alongside play-by-play voice Ken Kal.
|Detroit Red Wings captains|
|Aurie | Lewis | Goodfellow | Young | S. Howe | Abel | Bruneteau | Hollett | Lindsay | Kelly | G. Howe | Delvecchio | Libett | Berenson | Bergman | Harris | Redmond | Johnston | Dionne | Grant | Harper | Polonich | Maloney | Hextall | Woods | McCourt | Thompson | Larson | Gare | Yzerman | Lidström|