Give the Detroit Red Wings credit — they’re presenting fans the opportunity to watch hockey.
On Wednesday at Detroit’s PB’s Sports Grille, former Wings tough guy Darren McCarty and current play-by-play man Ken Kal will host a viewing party where folks can watch the infamous “Bloody Wednesday” (or, “Fight Night at the Joe”) 1997 regular season game between the Wings and Avs.
The game occurred on Wednesday, Mar. 26, roughly 10 months after Colorado forward Claude Lemieux did this to Detroit’s Kris Draper in the ’96 Western Conference final:
Draper suffered a broken jaw, shattered cheek and orbital bone which required reconstructive surgery — his jaw also ended up being wired shut.
Lemieux received a two-game suspension for the hit, returning to the lineup for Colorado’s eventual Stanley Cup victory.
Following the incident, Colorado and Detroit met three times during the 1996-97 regular season before the infamous March affair, which went a little something like this:
The game was arguably McCarty’s defining moment in a Wings uniform (the argument, of course, is this goal.)
In addition to administering the frontier justice Kal later called “the turning point” of Detroit’s season, McCarty also scored the OT winner on Patrick Roy.
All told, the Red Wings and Avalanche combined to produce nine fights, 11 goals and record 148 penalty minutes in the game.
Wayne Simmonds is not only a productive power forward, but he’s one tough customer.
He showed that again Saturday, dropping the gloves with Miles Wood of the New Jersey Devils during the first period.
The fight occurred right after Wood drove Radko Gudas hard into the boards on the forecheck. The scrap didn’t last long, however, with Simmonds landing a few shots and then taking the Devils forward to the ice.
Make that three straight losses for the St. Louis Blues, who have only four wins in their last 10 games.
The Blues lost to the Winnipeg Jets by a final score of 5-3 on Saturday. Late attempts at a comeback from four goals down were fleeting and unsuccessful. Once in competition for the Central Division, St. Louis has fallen off the pace in these times of struggle and is now part of the pack fighting for a wild card spot in the West.
In the last three games, the Blues have given up 18 goals. Eighteen goals.
These are difficult times for the Blues, who turned to Pheonix Copley, who had never started an NHL game before today, in goal versus the Jets.
Despite giving up five goals on 29 shots, Hitchcock praised the play of Copley. And he likes the amount of scoring chances his team is producing. But their own mistakes keep piling up, and they keep piling into the St. Louis net at what is now an alarming rate.
The Blues trailed 2-1 entering the third period, but gave up a Bryan Little power play goal just over two minutes later and they fell further behind. It was a critical moment in the game for St. Louis. The floodgates opened from there for the Jets.
“It’s tough. Quite frankly, we’re allowing too many goals against, obviously. Too many easy scoring chances. We’re getting scored on killing penalties now. If we clean up our own end, both five-on-five and five-on-four, it will help us a lot.”
Desjardins: Horvat is ‘fine’ after taking a slap shot to the head
Late in the first period, Bo Horvat was skating behind the Florida net when he was struck in the back of the head by a Nikita Tryamkin slap shot. Horvat immediately hit the ice. He was down for a brief period, but did skate off under his own power.
The good news: He returned to the game after missing a brief time.
“I would assume he was forced out by the spotter,” said coach Willie Desjardins following Vancouver’s win on Friday. “Whenever you see something like that, you’ll probably check it out, especially if he was bleeding.”
“They took a look at him and he’s fine.”
More good news for the Canucks.
In his third NHL season, Horvat is emerging as a critical component of this team. He’s 21 years old, is tied with Henrik for the team lead in points, with 30 in 47 games, and is on his way to next weekend’s NHL All-Star event. Further to that, the Canucks are in a transition, with a younger core expected to eventually take over from the lasting members of the current core, most notably Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who are both 36 years old.
The Canucks are also in a fight for a playoff spot, and injury to one of their top centers, which Horvat is, would certainly make the hunt for the post-season that much more difficult.
Sitting one point out of the second wild card spot in the West, the Canucks begin a three-game road trip by facing the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.