The greatest hockey team to ever hit the ice was that of the 1981 Canada cup Soviet Union team. With Vladislav Tretiak, Slava Fetisov, Alexie Kasatanov, Sergei Makarov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Krutov and many other terrific players, the Soviets downed the gretzky led Canadians 8-1, holding Gretzky scoreless.Another PossibilityWhile the Soviet team from the 1981 Canada Cup is a reasonable , you could have MANY different s based on this same logic. The 8-1 deficit may have just been a terrible game played by Team Canada. The fact that the Soviet Team was an all-star team that played together all year gave an unfair advantage. If the 1981 Team Canada team played year round, or multiple years in a row, you can be assured they would be considered the best hockey team ever assembled.
Other teams that come to mind are the 1987-88 Team Canada, and the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens team that were absolutely spectacular with only 8 losses all season in an 80 game schedule. This was the start of their first of four straight Stanley Cup Championships.