It’s hard, the more we know about head injuries, to return to a place where “old time hockey” was celebrated unabashedly, though growing up in Detroit in the 1990s this undoubtedly was a seminal sports moment.
Animosity between the Red Wings and Avalanche stemmed from Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference finals when Claude Lemieux checked Kris Draper from behind, sending him face first into the top edge of the boards. The gruesome hit gave Draper a broken jaw, a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and a concussion.
Things kicked off when Peter Forsberg and Igor Lorianov got into a fight after Forsberg tried to land a cheap shot. The Red Wings Darren McCarty then took the opportunity to begin pummeling Claude Lemieux who turtled on the ground. Patrick Roy came out to defend Lemieux and Brendan Shanahan (currently NHL dean of discipline) took him out at center ice. That incident led to Roy and Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon squaring off with each other.
There were nine total fights in the game. The Red Wings won 6-5 in overtime.