July 29, 2010

March 26, 1997 -- The Liveblog

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This is the third installment of an indeterminable amount of Classic Liveblog posts here at TTD. The other two can be found by clicking the "Liveblog" lable at the bottom of this post.

*****


I'm watching this game thanks to the 4-disc Red Wings DVD set that I'm sure 98% of you own. This DVD box has pulled me through some tough times. When I can't sleep, I pop in the Igor/Triple OT game. When I want to laugh, I watch Patrick Roy getting pulled in Game 7. When I want to cry, I watch the Wings win the '97 Stanley Cup. When I want to jump over a three story house and piss gold onto a leprechaun's face, I watch Steve Yzerman's overtime winner. And when it's been two months since I've written about hockey and I can't think of anything else to write and revert back to a played-out gimmick, I put in the March 26th game.

It doesn't need an introduction. Mickey Redmond informs us that this was the #1 game voted on by Red Wing fans, over multiple Stanley Cups and thrilling playoff victories. It was Darren McCarty's fondest memory as a player. Books were written because of this game. Dogs and cats were named "Shanny" and "Marty" and "Mike Fucking Vernon". It ended wars on far away continents. Babies were conceived. By 2:00 AM on March 27th, Brent had sprouted a full beard at age 10. It affected people that much.

And it took place in the regular season.


1ST PERIOD

  • 20:00 -- Steve Yzerman starts the game on a line with Tomas Sandstrom and Marty Lapointe. Sandstrom, for me personally, is by far the most forgettable Red Wing of the last 20 years. He actually had a decent regular season after being traded from Pittsburgh (9G, 9A in 34 games), but then went 0G, 4A in 20 playoffs games, and after that he was drugged and buried under Mike Ilitch's mansion alongside Manny Legace's corpse. I just don't have any recollection of the guy doing anything in 1997.
  • 19:30 -- This game took place during that weird time period when Scotty Bowman would try playing Sergei Fedorov as a defenseman. Other notes for this game: Tomas Holmstrom wearing #15; play-by-play being called by That One Guy who did Wings TV games the year between Dave Strader and Ken Daniels; Mike Knuble's first NHL game; Bob Rouse AND Doug Brown were both healthy scratches (resisting urge to just turn the game off.)
  • 16:31 -- The Avs take a 1-0 lead on a Valeri Kamensky one timer directly off a faceoff. The goal happened so quickly that the cameras had not yet turned back to the broadcast at the time it occurred, missing the goal entirely. Future NBC television crews could be heard in the production truck feverishly taking notes.
  • 15:15 -- The game's first fight takes place between Jamie Pushor and Brent Severyn. The two combined for 32 PIMs. 20 of those PIMs were Severyn's, who led everyone by night's end. He followed up this performance by changing his name from "Brent" to "Dan the Beast" and growing a despicably incredible mustache.
  • 15:15 -- If you got the previous joke, we would've made great friends in the '90s.
  • 12:00 -- The most underrated part of this rivalry was Marc Crawford's hair. It's a complete travesty that I can't find one good picture of it during the peak of it's douchiness, slicked over to one side with his bangs nearly dangling over his left eye. Definitely "Backstreet Boys"-inspired. It looks like it was combed with Mike Keane's penis.
  • 8:25 -- Larry Murphy and Keith Jones get tangled up in a minor scrap involving 10 to 12 players. With my astute lip reading skills I determined that Jones was complaining over Murph's breath, saying that it smelled like boiled ham and Brandy. Offended, Murph retorted by telling Jones that he's so dumb, he could make Brian Engblom look smart by comparison. Jones then said "That's not true", to which Murph said "Prove it." 13 years later, Larry Murphy won the fight.
  • 1:38 -- Igor Larionov, who hadn't so much as frowned at another human being before in his life, nearly gets into a fight with Peter Forsberg as the two tumble to the ice. This led to some other stuff ....




.... Claude Lemieux, destroyed by Darren McCarty's fists and knees, was already
taken off the ice and headed to the locker room by the time Vernon took
Roy down. I had always been so caught up in the fight itself that I never
realized how quickly Lemieux was wasted. As far as images and memories go,
that one is unquestionably #1 for many Red Wings fans. This 15 second moment
in time temporarily put Mac above every famous athlete in
the lexicon of Detroit sports history. Hell he's probably still up there for a good number
of you.
  • 1:38 -- Vernon's left hook put a gash over Roy's right eye. While his blood, along with Forsberg's and Lemieux's, was being cleaned up, we see a shot of Crawford yelling at somebody on the ice, "YOU HAVE NO FUCKING BALLS. NO -- FUCKING -- BALLS", while motioning his hands around his scrotal region. He then yells, plain as day: "....YOU FUCKING FAGGOT" ...... Yeeeesh. He completed the tirade by flipping his bangs out of his eyes.

2ND PERIOD
  • 19:56 -- Immediately, Brendan Shanahan and Adam Foote engage in one of their 68 career fights against one another, and second of the night. The refs step in before Foote's nose can do any serious damage to Shanahan's fist.
  • 19:25 -- Sergei gets the puck and flies down the right wing to set up a 2-on-1. Tomas Sandstrom is used as the decoy and Sergei's wrister ties the game at 1-1.
  • 18:48 -- Another Valeri Kamensky slapper puts the Avs up less than a minute later to make it 2-1. I remember Kamensky for two things: scoring some big goals, and looking like he hadn't slept since 1991.
  • 16:52 -- The third goal in less than three minutes comes from Marty Lapointe, on another 2-on-1, with a great feed from Slava Kozlov. 2-2 game.
  • 16:40 -- Aaron Ward takes on Severyn as the latter's sweater and pads come off completely. Tomas Holmstrom then made fun of Mike Keane for blushing and those two squared off. Less than 24 minutes of game time have been played and both teams have combined for 27 penalties and 110 penalty minutes. Sadly this still doesn't beat out Todd Bertuzzi's per-game average from last season.
  • 13:40 -- Rene Corbet scores on a breakaway to make it 3-2 Avalanche. (At this point, the DVD froze for like 20 straight seconds and I thought all of this typing was for nothing, and that one of my most prized possessions was now worthless. If you happened to be woken up at 4:15 this morning by what sounded like a train full of people being stabbed to death as they collided with an erupting volcano, that was me getting a little angry.)
  • 12:36 -- McCarty fights with Adam Deadmaarahakdfadf oh how I hate typing that fucking name. Adam D., that's who it was. God I hated that guy.
  • 6:26 -- A weird mishandle by Vernon leads to Colorado's 4th goal. 4-2 Avs now as the 2nd period winds down.
  • 0:20 -- Maybe the biggest (actual hockey) moment of this game: the Wings were still down two with under a minute to go when Nick Lidstrom scored on the power play, making the score 4-3 Avalanche heading into the 3rd. They would need it.

3RD PERIOD
  • 18:49 -- Kamensky finishes off the hat trick early in the 3rd period to once again put the Avs up by two goals, 5-3. As awesome as the first two periods had been, the Wings were still down two goals in the 3rd to their arch nemesis, and in danger of being swept in the season series, 4-0.
  • 14:00 -- If Kirk Maltby is best known for being an agitator (I'm leaving room in case you want to bring up the '50 goals in Junior' thing. I know you want to), then this game might have been his masterpiece. By the end of this game, I didn't like the guy. I mean I did, and do of course, but holy Moses ..... what an annoying shit. I wish he never lost that edge.
  • 11:33 -- Lapointe nets his second goal one second after a power play expired to make it 5-4 Colorado. One of 80 clutch goals from Marty during the '97 season.
  • 10:57 -- Moments later, Shanahan turns the game on its head with a back-handed bank shot off of Roy's left pad to tie the game. The place erupts. If the bad blood and fisticuffs weren't enough, this had actually turned into a game thanks to a relentless Wings squad. It's 5-5 and the momentum is fully in Detroit's favor -- finally -- as they were badly, badly out-shooting Colorado by this point. (Weird fact: Mike Vernon got his 300th career victory in this game, busted open Patrick Roy and endeared himself to millions of Wings fans .... all while stopping 14 of 19 shots.)
  • 4:00 -- Not relevant, but still: I'm writing this from my parents' house, where my grandmother also lives. From her room I can hear faint snoring and a Girls Gone Wild infomercial. One of the weirdest moments of my life. Finishing up...

OVERTIME

It only took 39 seconds. The Professor to Shanny to Mac for a slam dunk of a one-timer. Igor deked around two guys like it was nothing, and Shanahan (who aside from tackling Roy at center ice and dueling with Adam Foote played a PHENOMENAL game) put a bullet pass right where it had to be. McCarty finished off an inconceivable night that began with Lemieux's blood on his knuckles and ended with him as the #1 star.

18 fighting majors. 144 penalty minutes. 1 turtle.