Claude Lemieux to play in Avs-Red Wings alumni game

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One of the key players — if not the key player — in the violent history of the Detroit-Colorado rivalry is back in the mix.

Claude Lemieux will participate in this year’s alumni game preceding the Avs-Red Wings outdoor game at Coors Field, per Bleacher Report:

During the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Colorado and Detroit formed one of the nastiest rivalries in recent memory — so nasty, in fact, that Dater wrote a book, Blood Feud, about the hatred between the two.

As the video shows, Lemieux figured prominently in that rivalry thanks to his hit on Kris Draper and subsequent fight with Darren McCarty.

(Some will object to the usage of “fight” given how it went, but I digress…)

After his Red Wings were ousted by the Avs in the ’96 playoffs — the same series in which the Draper hit occurred — Detroit forward Dino Cicarelli summed up his and most of his teammates’ feelings on Lemieux.

“I can’t believe I shook this guy’s friggin’ hand after the game,” he said. “That pisses me right off.”

The alumni game is scheduled for Feb. 26, one day before the Stadium Series contest.

Related: Avs-Red Wings alumni game to feature Sakic, Forsberg, Shanahan, Lidstrom