The 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs were the first time I realized I can use sports to bond with my dad.
OT: On this day, 15 years ago...
Man, the 96 game 7 double OT winner by Yzerman about gave me a heart attack at the age of 10.
*bonus points for MacTavish not having a helmet, Gretsky having the turnover to Yzerman's winner, Lidstrom jumping for joy and Scotty Bowman on the ice in about .02 seconds (briefly seen at 1:38 with a shitface grin).
Wow, I forgot that Gretzky was right there too...
"Gretzky had it, lost it...." is for me the most memorable hockey call ever. (No, I wasn't alive in 1980.) Gary Thorne is one of the most underrated announcers there ever was. I believe he's working for the Baltimore Orioles now, which is a waste of his talents. Would love to see him paired up with Doc Emrick instead.
MacTavish was the last man in the NHL to not have to wear a helmet. He was grandfathered in since when they passed the helmet rule they let guys who had not worn them, continue to not wear them if they wanted.
I honestly have no recollection of the 95-96 season. I imagine my dad was pretty into it since Detroit made a decent run in the playoffs, but I don't remember ever watching games with him until the 97 playoffs.
Thank you for posting this! It never gets old
he had some amazing moments when he was younger. he's still one of my fave wings of all time. but his troubles with substance abuse were a huge burden. i am glad he got his shit together, channeled his inner Joey Kocur, and helped the team to the 2008 cup.
The 6-5 game was the only game that has rivaled the UTL game in terms of sheer excitement I have felt watching a sporting event. I'll argue that since the first 3/4 of the game were more enjoyable than the first 3/4 of UTL, I'd have to list these two as 1a and 1b.
EDIT: Holy mother of balls... it's been 15 years?!?!?!
Lidstrom is the only guy left on either team IIRC. Although the rivalry didn't last an incredibly long time, it'll always be one the highlights of my childhood. Always looked forward to the matchups.
Duh. Forgot about Homer.
You must not be a goalie then, or you like ass in your face.
There are few athletes I will ever hate more than Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy.
Also, I'm desperate to find the Ken Kal audio from this, it's how I'll always remember it. "Roy with a right, OH VERNON WITH A LEFT!"
I too hated Roy, which is why that game we lit him up for 6(?) goals in game 7 will always be one of my favorite Wings games.
I understand not liking the Avs, and believe me I hated them during the rivalry, but I would never say I hate Patrick Roy. He is arguably the greatest goalie of all-time. Maybe it's just because I am also a tender though..
i think people hated him because he was really the face of that franchise (sakic be damned). he embodied the avalanche so well - tough, skilled, exceptionally-talented. he was such a thorn in our sides. we hated him because he was good, not because he was a classless asshat like claude.
Well, not as much of a classless asshat as Claude. He was an asshat, though.
Roy was indeed a classless asshat, but for this clip I thank him for his douchebag personality.
I hated everyone on that team, but as a goalie myself, I had to respect Roy. It was awkward.
The nice thing about Roy was that he was insanely cocky, and that led to occasional meltdowns when he gave up a bad goal. To this day I believe - and I'll believe it to my grave - that the 7-0 beatdown in Game 7 was directly caused by the Statue of Liberty goal in Game 6. When Roy gave up a really bad goal that he felt he should've saved, he melted down. The same thing happened in '97 - Game 4, I think - when Marty Lapointe ripped a shot from near the bottom of the circle that blasted through the Velcroed-on extension to Roy's glove and went in. It precipitated a 6-0 beatdown and led to the infamous episode where Crawford spewed obscenities at Scotty in the third period.
Ahh yes I remember Crawford getting all upset because Corbet had to answer to Shanny for running Vernon a few moments eariler. God those playoff series were epic, but I still remember Scotty just looking around the crowd while Crawford was in his face trying to belittle him.
PS I think my favorite moment in any of those series agaisnt the Av's was when Kozlov did the old, "okey-doke" on Foote and threw his face into the boards.
No, I think he is pretty much up there on the jerk list. He has since been a complete and utter idiot as a lower level coach, check his record of classless acts and the fact that he has coached his kids to act like morons also. Yes he was a good goalie but beyond that, there is a lot to dislike.
especially when the first goal he gave up that game he was showboating and practically threw it in his own net....ahhhh, the wonderful memories
The Statue of Liberty goal was in game six, but it was still awesome
I remember watching this in my basement and wondering if they were going to have enough players to finish the game. I do seem to remember it being even bigger, though.
I think that the Wings/Avs rivalry peaked right before emotion was taken out of most pro sports. That's why I love college sports so much more these days. And the NHL playoffs. I'm sorry, but I love dirty, hateful, spiteful contests. As much as it pissed me off, I look back at OSU tearing down the banner, bomb dogs, and going for 2 when they had a clear win as high points in the rivalry. It just seemed to breed that passion that has been lacking in most teams that I follow closely.
The link you posted with Sauer's fight was like watching two guys who had never been in a fight before.
Moments like that make the rivalry.
Now, if anything like that happens, everyone starts to snivel.
Awesome. Wings are the best professional franchise in sports in my humble opinion. Go away Yankees fans.
fans. They are totally insufferable.
I don't think I'm THAT bad....
I get chills to this day watching Shanahan check Roy into Foote and into next week at the same time. Great memories abound here.
I was just watching this video! Ha, the game that turned me from a fan to die-hard.
I was there and was 11 at the time. Can't believe it was that long ago. There was so much blood on the ice when things were finally cleared up.
Can you just imagine the unity felt by the team following that? Its one thing to be unified to win a Cup but that was the signature moment that put that team over the top.
I had no idea it was Larinov involved n the beginning? Glad to see D-Mac stick it to the Turtle!
one of the best rivalries in the history of sports...these guys were the cream of the NHL crop 5 stanley cups in 7 years between them....will always hate the avalanche even though most of the players are gone
As much as I despied the Avalanche I've also always been annoyed referring to them as a rival. The problem with it from my perspective is that fans in Denver never really had to suffer through any kind of lean years. The Avalanche were simply a transplanted (and very good) team that seemed to come out of nowhere and win championships.
To hear people in Colorado interviewed about the "rivalry" and how much that hated Detroit...I mean, fuck you Colorado. You have no idea what hate is. You had a Stanley Cup winner dropped in your lap.
I suppose that after the beatdown, they'd taken their lumps and earned the right to hate Detroit. But initially that rivalry talk really annoyed me.
Also, in the mid-90s that whole Kordell Stewart Hail Mary was still a very sore wound. So yeah, lots of Colorado hate.
I remember watching this game live. Single greatest hockey brawl of all time!! Brings back so many great memories. Hard to believe it's been that long though!
When I watch the highlights from this game it makes me sad at how much pro sports have fallen in my estimation. There are just no rivalries like that anymore. I don't think I've ever hated an individual player as much as I did Claude Lemieux. I wanted that guy to get knocked out every time the wings played him.
I was at the game. Unforgettable memory
I truly think that was the best regular season game that I've seen in any sport.
I was ignorant of the pilgrimage to football's Mecca that would take place over the next 8+ months.
Wow, 15 years.
I forgot that McCarty scored the winner. HAHA Patty HAHA.
I don't think I ever appreciated what a sick move Larionov made at the blue line to set up the winner.
Not to sound like a cave man, but sports need more teams that actually hate each other.
Im impressed with that Knee Pick that Vernon hit. 2!!! Takedown!!
And the Wings are even winning 4-0 over the Jackets as we speak!
Playoff push, GOOOO!
For an undefeated season.
6-0 Wings! WHERE HAVE ALL THESE GOALS BEEN?!?!?!?!?!
How did a regular-season victory exorcise the demons? Wasn't the playoff series victory over the Avs that spring more meaningful? (Plus, didn't the Wings actually perform worse in the 1996-97 regular season than they did the two previous years?)
we'd lost the three previous meeting to the avs that regular season.
we were able to finally avenge kris draper's injury.
we bloodied both lemieux and roy, public enemies #1 and #2.
the avs were presidents trophy winners that year and also had the #1 offense. they were the team to beat. the wings were 2nd in the central (behind dallas) that win gave the wings the confidence that they could stand up to the avs, who'd really pushed us around the previous year. it helped that team believe that they could stand up to the avs in a 7-game series, when the chips were on the table. it really washed away the bitter taste that had never really left the previous year, when we'd won 62 games and couldn't even make the cup finals.
the thing is that, back then, nobody doubted the wings ability to do it in the regular season. they'd won several presidents trophies up that point in the 90s. they just couldn't get it done in the playoffs. this game changed the atmosphere and feel around the locker room.
this game was a watershed, galvanizing moment that opened the floodgates on the red wings dynasty.
But if no one doubted the Wings' ability to get it done in the regular season, why did a regular-season win mean that much?
I think the game's been overrated in retrospect. The year before, didn't they get "payback" on the Devils in the regular season? Because they went on to lose to Colorado, no one ended up caring about that.
IIRC, in the '97 conference finals, didn't the Avs win Game 1 and take the lead in Game 2? They were close to being up 2-0 in the series, but the Wings rallied to steal that game and home ice. I'd argue that that was the turning point.
i guess what im saying is, that without this win, the wings probably aren't in a position to do what they do in the postseason that year. remember, they had a tough first two series before meeting the avs. the wings were tied 2-2 against the blues, with our two losses being shutouts, before pulling away (after a stevie y speech). that series was a dogfight. even in the sweep against the ducks in the 2nd round, we played 3 OT games, with a total of 6 OT periods played.
against the avs, we played well in the first game, but roy stood on his head. we did fall behind in game 2, but came back, won a big game in game 3, and then had the famous "i knew your father before you did, and he wouldnt be real proud of you" scotty bowman-marc crawford incident. then we got blown out in game 5. then we finally pulled it out in game 6.
i dunno, we'll probably never agree. that march 26th game just felt so important, because of the pantomime and excitement. we came back to win the game. the fight wouldnt have mattered if we'd lost. and of all people to score the game winning goal, it was darren. he became an instant hero in hockeytown. it gave us wings fans hope.
rationally, yeah, the playoff series was more important. but this game, the emotion and the attitude of "don't fuck with us, or you'll get stomped" - it lit a spark in that team. it brought the team together like nothing else in the world could. not only that, it rallied the entire city, the entire fanbase. we were ready to go.
were unbelievable in the regular season. Then come the playoffs the Avs beat their asses. They crushed Draper, won the series, and then went on to win the cup. The next year they continued to tear up the league and in particular they beat Detroit three games straight. There was the impression that Colorado was in Detroits head. It just seemed that Detroit could be as good as they wanted to be but they still couldn't beat Colorado. You can argue that the turning point happened in the playoffs when Detroit came back from one game down and playing from behind in game two but the confidence they needed to even make that comeback happen was forged in the come from behind victory on March 26th 1997. It was in that game (march 26th) that Detroit proved to themselves that they could beat the Colorado Avalanche.
yes, this. thank you.
as a fan, especially as a young fan (i was 10 at the time), it was frustrating. i expected the wings to win. when they didn't i couldn't fathom why. the avs, especially with how lemieux got away with the draper hit with a pithy 2-game suspension (that hit would be a series ban in the playoffs or a 10-game regular season ban today), got in all of our heads. they were our kryptonite. beating them, especially the way we did, adding insult to (numerous) injuries, was such a cathartic experience.
I am sure you meant to say, they (Claude L.) illiegally/cowardly checked Draper in the boards ending his season and nearly his career and then went on to publically proclaim that if it wasn't for him Draper would be unknown. Then they won the series...
fixed that for you...(sorry, I have held onto that anger for 15yrs).
I knew that that particular tangent would have resulted in a rant lasting more than a few paragraphs. So in order to keep things on topic I substituted the word "they".
Claude was a POS but I do have to thank him for galvanizing the 97 Wings. The rivalry with Colorado taught Detroit what they needed to learn in order to become Stanley Cup Champions. They were already a very skilled team but from that experience with the Avs the Wings learned how to play with an attitude of toughness, a determination to win every battle every race, contest every shot, in your face, drop the gloves, never-say-die effort needed to win hockey's Holy Grail. From that series forward the Wings were not going to be pushed around by anybody. If a team wanted to play a hard checking game...great! They had McCarty, Kocur, Draper, Shanahan, Maltby, Lapointe, and even Fedorov for that. If a team wanted to play an up tempo finesse game...great! We had the guns for that type of game too. Not only could Detroit play any type of game the opponent wanted, Detroit could play that game better than them. Colorado was simply the last hurdle because Colorado was like a mirror image of Detroit. They had hard checkers, fighters, goal scorers, strong defense, and a world class goalie. They could play any type of game like Detroit. They were so even in their skillsets that the difference between being a winner and a loser was razor thin. The difference would not have anything to do with physicality at all. The difference was mental toughness. This is what the Avs brought to Detroit that they lacked in previous Cup runs, mental toughness. And after they vanquished the Avs in six games...Philly just never had a chance.
You must not have been a huge fan then. Awesome game! Igor started it, which was even more crazy. I just got tickets to Columbus vs Wings today in Columbus. I was at the Blue Jackets store today. The kid says hey do you know what happened 15 years ago today? I had no idea until he brought it up. I am glad I had training in Columbus this week. I get to see the wings kick some ass Wednesday.
Clearly not a hockey fan.
They hadn't beaten Colorado since Lemeiux destroyed Draper's face with a dirty hit in Game 6 of the conference finals the year before. It was a huge victory and meant a lot more than just two points in the standings.
On the radio as I was driving to Milwaukee for the Frozen Four. The Wings game was a classic, the Frozen Four not so much. But the brewery tour was good.
When I feel blue (without the maize), one of the places I like to go is http://www.detroithockey.net/pressbox/gameday/1997/03/26.php. This has been the first bookmark I've added to all number of computers.
At my office I have a framed photo of turtling Lemieux.
As someone who didn't follow the wings till ~5 years ago, watching the video of the fight I thought 'man that was kind of a cheap shot to Lemieux" then I went and watched the video of Lemieux's hit on Draper and then watched the fight video over again and took great satisfaction in seeing Lemieux get his clock cleaned
If this happened today, both teams would probably be suspended for their entire next game. I hate the fact that they've completely taken fighting out of hockey.
From watching the fight to reading the comments that everyone has posted I have sustained goosebumps for a solid 10 minutes. Nostalgia is a bitch sometimes
Lemieux really was a little bitch. Cowardly cheap shots, couldn't deal w/the response.
i was given tickets to that game by a vendor and took my sons. it was the FIRST hockey game they attended and they couldn't stop talking about it afterwards. one of them asked if all hockey games were like that and i had to tell him no-we were just very lucky that night.
That was the first season of any sport I can remember that really brought my entire family together. Oh, my mom and sister watched Michigan in the Rose Bowl, but they weren't into it in quite the same way. Really, I was only just starting to become aware of sports in a big way myself. I was a bit of a late bloomer like that.
But when the Wings and Avs met that season, we all crowded around the TV to watch, and we all celebrated as McCarty kicked ass. I remember thinking that there was no way those two guys could be on the ice with eachother ever again. The next time they played, they proved it, too.
From the opening puck drop. Awesome.
I watched the '96 conference finals game 6 in a hotel with my dad.
It is my earliest memory of watching a whole game, I was furious along with him when Claude broke Draper's face, and when it was final I was as heart broken as a 6 year old could be.
Fight Night at the Joe was sweet, sweet revenge to my depraved little heart.
Thank you so much for marking the anniversary and even more for including the clip of the fight. I so hated the Avs back in the day, but I had long since forgotten the reasons why. Claude, Claude, Claude… you MF douche bag… may a tricycle clip your walker and cause you to face plant on a curb and come up looking like Draper you dirty piece of shit.
"I can't believe I shook this guy's freakin' hand."
Thanks for posting this. The couple years before and after this were among the most memorable ones for Detroit and Michigan sports fans in a generation. The wings avs rivalry was every bit intense as any in pro sports. Plus the Michigan championships at that time weren't so bad either!
Lemieux didn't get half of what he deserved, but what he got ruined him. Of all the major sports, hockey is probably the one that has the best "code of honor." Lemieux was known as dirty, but he was respected.
After that game, nobody in the league had any respect for him anymore. When Lemieux became "The Turtle," it seemed to take some of the edge off of his game. He would even win another Cup, and have what appears to be a decent life around the game after retiring, but he was never the same force, especially in the playoffs, that he was before becoming The Turtle.
He should have just gone down valiantly and taken his medicine.
The turtle pose was the pic on the front page of the sports section in the Detroit News the following day. Oh how the thug had fallen.
When the Wings won game 2 against the Avs a few months later, I remember the shot of Patrick Roy throwing a tantrum and breaking his stick in disgust after it was all over. Too bad that wasn't featured in the paper.
That clip is NSFW if you have any tendency to gleefully scream "GOALIE FIGHT! GOALIE FIGHT!"
from someone who isn't a Wings fan or an Av's fan (though I do like the wings, just not my fav. team) I enjoyed this clip a lot. I miss the days where there were fights like this in hockey.
I will say that I have always been a fan of Roy's abilities, not so much his character and seeing him bloodied was nice. Lemieux though...I have never liked aplayer any less than him. It's funny because both p[layed for my favorite team once (the Canadiens) but I was never very fond of either one, especially Lemieux who I loved seeing getting his ass handed to him by McCarty. That was long overdue.
Now to be honest, as a former CHLer and one who often took on the enforcer role I will say openly that I am probably more tolerant of fighting in hockey than others. I want to say that because what I am about to say isn't implying that I have an issue with this, but I want to draw a parallel:
Watching McCarthy go after Lemieux in that clip isn't very different from the Bertuzzi incident that had so many people up in arms. Lemieux wasn't seriously hurt, but that shouldn't matter since it is the actions of the player that are being judged and not the outcome. At least Moore knew something was coming whereas Lemiuex was completely blindsided. and then pounded once he hit the ice.
In Bertuzzi's case, he was tugging on Moore for a few seconds and Moore just kept trying to get away, then he jumped him. Moore knew (or should have known) something was coming.
Now again, I don't hink either one of these instances were objectionable, just giving my two cents as I was blasted by many here for sticking up for Bertuzzi a while back in a thread on here. I would expect many who blasted me for that would see nothing wrong with McCarty's actions even though they are pretty similar.
In both cases the players deserved what they got IMHE. Moore had a recent history with Naslund and knew he was a target going into the game. Lemieux had always been one of the dirtiest players in the NHL and just got what was coming to him. Again, I have no issue with either instance, but if someone has a problem with one an not the other I would be curious to hear how that's possible.
I wouldn't say I'm fine with McCarty's original hit (I was seven when I saw this live on TV and the only part I remember was the goalie fight because, yea) after seeing it for the first time in a long time, but there are a few things to consider.
- Lemiuex didn't have his neck broken/career ended. Whether that's fair to Bertuzzi or not is another question, but there's no doubt that "NHL player out for life after cheapshot" is a much bigger headline, and black eye on the sport than "NHL player gets bloody nose, eye swollen shut in team brawl".
- Bertuzzi hit Moore almost directly from behind. While McCarty didn't exactly square up with Lemiuex, the hit looks much less vicious as he was skating almost alongside him.
- There is an awful lot of stuff that went on in the NHL in the 1990's that simply wouldn't be tolerated in today's NHL. If you want to look back even further, Gordie Howe would probably be suspended 20-25 games a season in the Shanahan era of the NHL. The game has changed over time, including perceptions of ethical fighting behavior.
I meant to add this last night: Anyone who considers themselves a fan of this rivalry needs to run out and buy this book if they don't already have it:
It's written by a Denver Post writer but it is indeed "fair and balanced." Essential reading for any Wings fan. It is, quite simply, the Three And Out of the Detroit-Colorado rivalry. Fascinating stuff.