LCS Hockey: Born Again
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March 25, 2019
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And Down Goes Lidstrom




Ian Laperriere... and that is his real nose,
we're not about to start a dream sequence
or anything.

It seemed like old times.

The once glorious Colorado Avalanche-Detroit Red Wings rivalry was rekindled last night when Ian Laperriere planted Nicklas Lidstrom into the boards at 6:10 of the first period. It was magnificent. Ted Williams never had such a hit.

Lidstrom and Laperriere were both going for the puck along the left wing wall of the Colorado zone when the five-time Norris winner was struck with crippling indecision. Uncertain whether to play the puck or avoid the hit, Lidstrom's momentary hesitation made him easy prey for the hard-charging Laperriere. The scrappy Colorado winger with scoliosis of the nose kept on truckin', hammering Lidstrom in the chest and driving him several feet backwards into the boards. And Laperriere didn't let up; he drilled Lidstrom into the glass like a Shaquille O'Neal free throw.

Clearly concussed, Lidstrom lost control of his legs, and probably all other bodily functions, falling to the ice with his skates splaying to the sides like Bambi. As play continued, Lidstrom attempted to get to his feet, displaying all the coordination of a monkey on ether. His drunken swaying prompted referee Mike Hasenfratz to literally hold him up along the boards until help could arrive.

Afterwards, the Red Wings were telling anyone who'd listen Lidstrom didn't suffer a concussion. Yeah, right. At least they were willing to admit he suffered a right knee injury. Lidstrom will have an MRI today, and the club will update his condition following Wednesday's practice.

Obviously, if Lidstrom's out for any period of time, the Wings are screwed. They're already down Niklas Kronwall and Brian Rafalski, although both could return as early as Friday. The Wings are trying to calm everyone's fears, insisting Lidstrom's injury isn't serious, but it didn't look good.

Give the Wings credit. They rallied around their fallen leader and managed to snap their six-game losing streak, beating the Avs 4-0. Even though Ryan Smyth returned from his broken ankle, the men with feet on their shoulders were still without Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny. And it showed. They were dreadful.

Chris Osgood bounced back from getting yanked in his two previous starts to post the shutout, stopping 18 shots. But don't worry; he's still terrible. Pavel Datsyuk was brilliant, ringing up three assists, and Henrik Zetterberg also ended his five-game goal drought, potting a pair.

The big story, though, was Detroit's response to the hit on Lidstrom. Incredibly, the Wings actually showed some heart. I didn't think they had it in 'em. Especially on the road. They're homers from way back. Ask Mike Keane.

But on this night, Aaron Downey threw the garbage can through Danny Aiello's pizza shop window, going after Laperriere and giving him a severe beating. It was the right thing to do and the right way to do it.

Don't get me wrong. The hit on Lidstrom was clean. But you can't let anyone run your captain and best player, clean or not. And Laperriere knew the score. He was cool with fighting Downey. That's hockey. It's all part of the game.

My problem was with the rest of the Wings yapping at Laperriere from the bench. I couldn't see who was talkin, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it was Chris Chelios and Kirk Maltby. They're heavyweights on the bench and (sunshines) on the ice. (Sunshine) them both in the ear.

Laperriere and Downey renewed acquaintances in the third period. Laperriere was coming out of the corner and took an errant high-stick from Mikael Samuelsson. I'm not sure if he thought Downey did it or if he was still sour from the earlier fight, but Laperriere raced right at Downey and got swatted to the ice. Everyone grabbed a partner. Mike Babcock and Tony Granto were even barking at each other, bringing back memories of Scotty Bowman and Marc Crawford. Cody McLeod tried to take on the entire Detroit bench. Again, I couldn't see who was yapping at him, but I'm gonna say it was Chelios and Maltby. (Sunshine) them in the ear with Bea Arthur's (sunshine).

Aw, I just hate the Red Wings so much. And that's a good thing. Because I gotta tell ya, my hatred was starting to fade. As longtime LCS readers know, Quebec/Colorado is my team. Or at least it was. The whole Bertuzzi incident broke my spirit. I didn't like the way the franchise turned its back on Steve Moore. I'm still bitter. And now that guys like Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, Patrick Roy, Claude Lemieux, Martin Lapointe, Darren McCarty, and Brendan Shanahan are all solid gone, the Colorado-Detroit rivalry is all but dead. Or at least it was.

Here's hoping Lapperiere's hit can lead to a renaissance. The teams won't play again this season, but there's still a chance for a potential first-round matchup in the playoffs. If that happens, the vitriol will run free. Good times.

FORSBERG DONE?
While last night's game was nice, in my mind the Colorado-Detroit rivalry was rejuvenated a couple weeks ago when Peter Forsberg announced he would never play for the Red Wings. It was beautiful. It reminded me what hockey's all about. And it was great to see a millionaire athlete actually show allegiance to the crest on a sweater and not the number on a paycheck. As soon as Petey said it, I was back in.

I couldn't wait for Forsberg's return to the NHL. I figured he'd probably end up in Philly, but I was holding out hope he'd sign with Colorado and team with Sakic for one final playoff run. I was counting the days until Foppa announced his comeback. And I'm still counting.

Yeah, I know his agent, Don Baizley, came out yesterday and said Petey probably wasn't going to play this season, but I'm not buying it. And reports out of Sweden seem to confirm just that, with Forsberg telling Swedish TV he's willing to wait one more week before making his final decision. He has to be on a roster by the February 26 trade deadline to be eligible for the postseason. So it ain't over 'til it's over.


IT FIGURES
Today's press release for the NHL media included the following quote:

“Me and Malts talk. We’re intellectuals, so we have conversations. We talk about love.”

-- Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood on how he and Kirk Maltby occupy their time on long flights.

Yeah, that seems about right. Because really, when I think of Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby, "intellectuals" is the first word that comes to mind. If, you know, "intellectuals" meant "gay."


And here's all the festivities from last night's game...




LCS Hockey: Born Again
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