Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Playoff Preview - Detroit vs. Colorado

Update 4/24 @ 2:35 pm: Apparently I'm not the only person fired up for this series. Wings-Avs: Blood feud is getting renewal, by John Niyo from the Detroit News. Can't wait to read the Kizla rebuttal.

One of the best rivalries of the "new" NHL.

Some history: During the 96 Cup Playoffs, Claude Lemeiux from Colorado clobbered Kris Draper into the boards. Similar to Steph Veilleux's hit on Stastny during game four of the last series except Draper's head was crushed.

I couldn't find a video with only the hit - it's in the middle of this sequence - although you can see the style of Lemieux.

Colorado ended up winning the game and went on to win the Cup. After the series, Dino Ciccerelli (no stranger to thuggery) said "I can't believe I shook the guy's friggin' hand".

The next year they played four times. The first three were without incident, but the fourth and final game had a certain chippiness to it. When Peter Forsberg and Igor Larionov began a fight, Darren McCarty took the opportunity to settle the Draper score with Lemieux.

Here's the whole brawl.

McCarty ended up scoring the game winner in OT. Quite the night.

The Red Wings came together as a team and ended up winning the Cup in 1997. The next season, in their first regular season game, McCarty and Lemieux dropped the gloves on the first puck drop and settled the previous season's score. Lemieux didn't turtle this time.

The feud didn't die after that. Patrick Roy fought Chris Osgood on the following April 1st and almost fought Dominic Hasek five years later in 2002.

Disclaimer - used a lot of Wikipedia for this research.

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