That's right, friends. That epic brawl/comeback win/vault into a hockey dynasty happened 15 years ago today. It's really hard to believe that it's been that long. I had just gotten my drivers license two days earlier. Bill Clinton was president. The Wallflowers "One Headlight" was the #1 song in the nation. If that doesn't make you feel old, then you must be really young and I'll have to insist that you GET OFF MY LAWN!
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No, but for real, get off my lawn. I just planted grass seed over by the rose bush and you kids are going to make me have to do it all over again. Bastards.
I'm not aging well.
Anyways, back to some hockey talk. If I had one complaint to make about this game it's that Dave Strader called the brawl without Mick. Had it been Ken Daniels, or if Mick had been there, it would have been better. I think Dave Strader could win the lottery with a straight face. "And look who's coming up the driveway now. Publishers Clearing House. Oh my goodness." Yawn.
If you watch the game, you'll remember how bad we treated Mike Vernon. Now, in defense of the boo-birds, Vernie had given up 5 goals on the first 15 shots he faced, so we had a point, but watching how poorly he played, it's amazing to me that he ended up winning the Conn Smythe that year. He showed us.
Fedorov was awesome on the blueline, but despite Mickey Redmond saying "I think he likes it back there", I'm pretty sure he hated it back there. That's unfortunate because he could have won the Norris Trophy if he played a full season as a defenseman.
It's weird seeing Holmstrom wear #15. It's also weird seeing him take a slap shot (of sorts). What wasn't weird was seeing him on his back taking punches. Amazing that he's lasted as long as he has in this league considering he has to be the most unprotected player in the game. And of course the guy punching Holmstrom, the rookie, was Mike Keane who would say that Detroit had no balls for waiting to fight at home. It sure does take guts to punch a guy who's pretty much defenseless. Besides, this wasn't about seeing who had the biggest set, this was about vengeance, fool.
As for the fight itself, it's frigging poetic. It all starts with Forsberg going after Larionov for no other reason than he thinks he'll be any easy target. What a tough guy. But he caught Igor on a bad day, apparently. So the linesmen rush to pull those two apart, McCarty skates right into Lemieux and destroys him. Now, it could have ended there. Lemieux would have gotten beat up and Forsberg could have gotten a lesson in stepping on the wrong guy's lawn, but then Patrick Roy joined in. That leads us to my favorite part of that entire sequence: The Clothesline.
I rarely ever see a good angle of this. It's usually just McCarty pounding Lemieux, then glancing up to see Roy go flying. Either Roy didn't see Shanahan, or he didn't think he would do anything more than confront him and call him names. Wrong. Then Vernon shows up and is a third man in on Foote until Roy comes to his senses and grabs Vernon. Another surprise for Roy: Vernon can throw a punch.
Meanwhile, McCarty is beating on Lemieux like he wants his lunch money. How many games do you think McCarty would have gotten for this? From Shanahan, of all people, who helped prolong the beating.
This was the game that turned Detroit into a dynasty. They won the physical battle, the mental battle and the battle on the scoreboard. It may have happened 15 years ago, but it feels like yesterday. What was your favorite moment of that game?
Ken Daniels is TERRIBLE. Dave Strader was the shit. He's one of the reasons why I love watching the 97 Stanley Cup tape.
Whoa now, Ken Daniels is awesome, what's this all about? He's intelligent, enthusiastic (whereas Strades is very monotone) and hsi chemistry with Mick and Murph is great. Plus he's condescending to opposing fans and at times teams/refs, but so subtly it doesn't lack class.
I think your phrase "Strader was the shit" is totally valid, he "was." But he's not anymore. He called games for Phx down here in the desert for a few years and he's got a lot of drive to be like Mike Emmerick, playing dumb and softballing questions to the colour analyst to make him feel smart and educaute dumber fans (which is what Phx needs) but too much of that has brought him into an ideal role for NBC-SN telecasts, which is to say that he dumbs it down too much.
Ken Daniels has a lot of insight to the past (both recent and back in Mick's era) and his trivial quips are usually ones that we pick up on and make us feel like we've been loyal fans for a long time, like when he references an obscure event and says "remember that?"
In any event, Ken ain't all that bad and Strades was ruined by Phx and is still being further ruined by Gary's NBC-SN/VS/OLN crap.
@marti783 i sincerely disagree.
This is the best video: http://youtu.be/5yXCjBO-2A4
Shame that the av's are so crap now, maybe one day this rivalry will come back... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHwP1u_u_ms&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLWlORnqqaPjlqxo-GUTo2Uw
This will forever be my favorite all time hockey game. Sure the cup clinching games are amazing, but do they ever happen if this epic beat down doesn't happen. As for my favorite part, let's just call it the entire game. Anytime Roy gets beat up or otherwise made into someone's bitch is great by me. Overall though, just the lasting image of the turtle makes me smile.
Watched this game many times, bit before my hockey fan days, I was about 9 years old, but I have it downloaded somewhere. My favourite moment is Shanahan and Roy colliding when Shanny rushes in to defend McCarty.
If memory serves me correct, I caught the first part of this game and ended up having to go to bed, but being enthralled watching the highlights the next day on the news. I think I almost missed the school bus. My dad was just about to shut off the tv, but could sense the tension building, so he decided to watch another five minutes. I guess he ended up watching the whole game and then went to work on three hours of sleep.
So much awesomeness in this game. I've watched this video, so many times that the phrase "VERNON AND ROY! VERNON AND ROY!" is burned into my brain.
Anyone have a copy of the full game? I'd love to see that!
@thebiglachovsky the youtube clip on the post is the entire game. there's also a box set of detroit's top 5 games and this one is number 1. can't remember what the set is called.
Hah, today is my 4 year anniversary of being hired at Meijer. Fitting. And I vaguely remember watching this as a seven year old, I had awesome parents. I'm pretty certain that my favorite moment outside of the fight is Mac's goal. He pretty much destroyed Lemieux, and then got the game winner. Perfect and even more of a "f--- you" to the avalanche. And in the fight, my favorite thing was the clothesline. It's so awesome, I wonder how long he'd suspend himself in retrospect for it. I love that the ENTIRE team, even the "passive and disciplined" Russians were out for revenge for Draper. This guy meant a lot to the team throughout his entire career, its still a little sad that he retired, call me girly or sentimental, but whatever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kou0p5oI4Xk&feature=youtube_gdata_player Probably the best version, good angles on everything, even the clothesline
@ChrissyKraceva i'm going to ask shanahan on twitter how many games he would have given mccarty. doubt he'll reply, but it would be interesting. surely he's been asked before....
The knee of McCarty into Lemieux's head along the boards after he drags him right in front of the face of who again? Kris Draper.
Or Mac scoring the game winner. Also amazing. Homer firing punches from his back as a rookie fresh out of Europe on Mike Keane was pretty cool too. Actually, everything about this game was cool. Except Adam Deadmarsh. That man gave me nightmares.
This has it's own Wikipedia page: