Denver Post beat writer Adrian Dater wrote a pretty good book about the old Red Wings/Avalanche rivalry called Blood Feud. I assume everyone has already read it by now or is currently reading it. If not, shame on you.
With the onslaught of whining that erupted from Emptytown after Nick Lidstrom got pwn3d by Lappy on Monday, you had to expect that Dater would chime in.
Oh, he has, and it looks like he's trying to rekindle a flame that could drive his book career for years:
Last I checked, Lidstrom did not have a special blue jersey, which would signify he couldn’t be hit. Last I saw him on the ice, in fact, he had a red and white sweater on, just like anyone else on his team. Last I checked, Lidstrom had his head down along the boards - the first thing kids are taught not to do when they start playing hockey. So, the facts are this: Lidstrom had no blue jersey and was doing something no player should do - all the while pinching into the Colorado zone, trying to make a play to score a goal.
For those unsure, the Avalanche and other teams give injured players special jerseys to wear during practice so they can avoid physical contact that might worsen their ailments.
Back to Dater, who's rant only gets better:
This is a team, Detroit, that regularly cheap-shotted Peter Forsberg for years. They would slash him on all parts of his body, hit him from behind all the time and all kinds of other nefarious things. Did I ever hear a word from the Red Wings, saying, "Sorry, we shouldn’t have done that. We forgot, Peter Forsberg is a star player. It won’t happen again"??? No, never. Never heard that.
And he's not even close to done. He even drags Brian Burke into it, which you have to commend since Burke is probably the most hated guy in Denver these days, other than Todd Bertuzzi, Burke's little pet:
When Slava Kozlov sucker-punched Adam Foote’s face into the glass, opening up a huge cut, it could have theoretically ended Foote’s career. But nothing was said from the Wings room about a lack of respect. Instead, all they could do was complain about Claude Lemieux’s dirty sucker punch in response - which was valid, and which resulted in a suspension to Lemieux (but none to Kozlov, all because Brian Burke - NHL discipline czar at the time - had a longstanding grudge against Pierre Lacroix, going back to their days as competing player agents (at least, this was the view held by everyone around Lacroix, and I believe the anecdotal evidence I heard was strong). Burke never once suspended a single Red Wing in all those bloody years of the rivalry, but suspended Lemieux twice and Joe Sakic, laughably, once).
Oh snap. All of this is true, of course, and Dater's poorly-veiled bias toward the Avalanche (hey, who am I to judge?) can't be blamed for his observations. He didn't even mention the fact that Darren McCarty got just two minor penalties for his completely cheap attack on Claude Lemieux in '97 that left the former Avalanche pest crumpled on the ice in the infamous turtle pose that Detroit fans never fail to bring up.
And now, the big finishing face wash:
If Nick Lidstrom can’t be hit in a hockey game, then get that blue jersey ready. It’ll be hard calling him a "Red" Wing anymore, though.
I admit that I don't always agree with Dater, but this blog and most Avalanche blogs owe him a lot. He's one of the more prolific hockey beat writers in the country and he fills a lot of column inches with Avalanche news. And really, where would blogs be without actual reporters to steal from?
It's good to see Dater doing his part to resurrect a dead rivalry, especially since he's not really stretching the facts or engaging in relentless propaganda (I'm thinking Kiszla and Paige, circa 1997) just to sell papers. Hat tip to you, Adrian.