Posted by Chip Stevenson
I really need to get something off my chest- I am officially a hockey fan once again.
We used to have a really good relationship together... we would eat dinner together sometimes, I skipped my homework for her a lot, and she introduced me to the delicacy that is the octopus. Then the lockout happened, and everything sort of fell apart. She wouldnt answer my calls, she never wanted to have dinner with me anymore, and when she finally came back, she was like a completely different woman. She went all Hollywood on me, valuing speed and flash over the hard-hitting toughness that was the backbone of our relationship. So, we sort of broke up, but I knew she'd always hold that special place in my heart.
The split was pretty amicable, but in recent years I've sort of noticed myself thinking about the one who got away pretty often. I guess it started when my roommate from last year, a huge Habs fan, ordered the NHL Center Ice package and watched every Canadiens game. I quietly fell back in love with the speed and toughness of the game, but what really brought me back to the sport was the rivalries. Rivalries absolutely make hockey what it is and with all of the new expansion teams (Columbus against Nashville on Versus??? No thank you), most of the rivalries have sort of faded away. Still, when I saw how my friend lived and died for every Canadiens-Maple Leafs game, I began to think that maybe we could rekindle that flame that we had for so long. I decided to give it a shot, and I went to a couple Red Wings games this year for the first time in years. I could sense that it was all coming back to me. Those same feelings that I had when I was a little kid trying to be Tim Cheveldae or Paul Coffey were starting to come back, only I dont look as cute reenacting Hasek's glove save now at age 21 as I did when I was 9. Finally, I can say that those feelings are 100%, without a doubt back today, and what put me over the hump was the Red Wings starting a 2nd round playoff series with the hated Colorado Avalanche tonight.
I'm attaching this video that sort of highlights the great moments of the Wings-Avalanche rivalry. Do yourself a favor and watch it. It might change your life.
A few comments about the video....
1.) I love how some of the clips are from the old Pass Sports channel. I grew up watching games at the old Tiger Stadium on the channel... ooooh how I yearn for the days of Kimera Bartee, Justin Thompson, and Melvin Nieves. Enough with this Ordonez scrub.
2.) At the 45 second mark, you see Darren McCarty go after Claude Lemieux at the beginning of one of the famous Red Wings- Avalanche brawls. It looks like Claude Lemieux thinks that he was in the middle of one of those atomic bomb drills from the 60s- he gets down on all fours, puts his hands over his head, ducks, and prays for his life just like students were taught to do during the Cuban Missile Crisis and stuff. What a wuss, stand up and fight like a man.... He was forever known as Claude "The Turtle" Lemieux after that for his unique fighting style.
3.) The video obviously includes the goalie fights that are appealing to everyone. Mike Vernon and Patrick Roy take like 5 seconds each to reach center ice because of all of their pads, but the whole time everyone knows they are about to throw down and have at it. The arena goes crazy and Vernon SMOKES Roy.
4.) My absolute favorite moment of the clip comes at the 1 minute 45 second mark. The Wings were facing the Avalanche after Lemieux's turtle act so there was obviously a lot of hype going into the game- Does Lemieux have a penis? Will Lemiuex risk breaking a nail and fight back this time? Well, he got his opportunity at the THREE SECOND MARK OF THE GAME. McCarty and Lemieux line up across from each other, and RIGHT when the puck hits the ice, three seconds into the game, they get right to it.
Here's to more fights, more octopi, and more Stanley Cups.... GO WINGS