1996: Red Wings at Avalanche, Game 6
On October 6, 1995, the Colorado Avalanche had their inaugural regular season game against the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit was one of the early favorites to win the Stanley Cup that season, but Colorado’s 3-2 win was a real statement to the league: We’re here to win.
A few months and a few trades later (Patrick Roy and Mike Keane most importantly), the Avalanche found themselves in a battle for the Western Conference against none other than the Red Wings. The Avalanche prevailed and ultimately won the Stanley Cup.
That series ignited the flame that would soon develop into a raging house fire, changing the landscape of the NHL.
In the sixth and final game of the series, Colorado’s Claude Lemieux laid a hit on Kris Draper of the Red Wings that would require reconstructive surgery on Draper’s face. The hit infuriated the entire Red Wings team, and they weren’t going to forget it any time soon.
per NHL tradition in the final game of a playoff series the two teams were to shake hands following the final game.
After the honorary handshake, one Red Wings player, Dino Ciccarelli, was famously quoted as saying, “I can’t believe I shook that guy’s friggin’ hand.”