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.
Now, players are known to at least try to return to games after injuries, sometimes ultimately demeaning such efforts unsuccessful.
So, it’s possible that the Washington Capitals should still be concerned about defenseman Nate Schmidt. The solid depth blueliner was helped off the ice after a hit by Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the good news is that he was at least able to make his way back for a spin later on in the same third period.
Does that mean he’ll be OK? We’ll see. The game is entering OT – the 18th of this round, a new NHL record – so a possible Schmidt injury could put Washington at a disadvantage during “free hockey.”
The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs set the record. Most OT games in a first round. This will be No. 18.
These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.
Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.
It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).
His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.
Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.
He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.