Throwback Thursday: Red Wings/Avalanche Brawl!
It was 17 years ago today the Detroit Red Wing exacted revenge on the Colorado Avalanche.
The hit sent Draper out of the game and into the hospital with a broken jaw, shattered cheek and orbital bone, which required reconstructive surgery involving his jaw being wired shut and numerous stitches. The Avalanche would go on to defeat the Red Wings in six games, eventually winning the Stanley Cup. After the traditional handshakes that take place after a playoff series, former Red Wings winger Dino Ciccarelli said of Lemieux, “I can’t believe I shook the guy’s frigging hand. That just pisses me right off.”
The next year when Lemieux finally was in the lineup, March 26, 1997. The best brawl in the history of Detroit hockey took place. Most Red Wings who were on that team will tell you this brought the team together.
Mike Vernon mopping the floor with Patrick Roy, leaving him with a bloody face is the second best thing to happen. Darren McCarty pounding Claude Lemieux while he was balled up like a turtle is a bigger memory for me than them actually winning their first Stanley Cup since 1955.
In another meeting the coaches almost went at it. According to wikipedia: A similar free-for-all between the teams took place on May 22, during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at Joe Louis Arena, when during a penalty-filled game, Crawford was seen screaming obscenities at Red Wings head coach Scotty Bowman across the glass separating the two benches. Bowman then told Crawford that he knew Crawford’s father before he did and he wouldn’t appreciate the way he was acting. The Wings won that game 6–0. Crawford was fined $10,000 for the tirade.
This helped hockey and brought the Red Wing fans and the State of Michigan together.
“Joey, it was almost a year prior when Claude boarded draper into the boards and drapes got 33 stitches! Darren McCarty said hockey players have great memories! Go wings!”