Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit. He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere. That refrain from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” has been heard at the end of Detroit Red Wings games more often than would have been expected before the season started.
One of the highlights one quarter of the way through the Red Wings season, if you like old-time hockey (like Eddie Shore), was a fight between the benches at Little Caeser’s Arena with the Calgary Flames. The fight started when Luke Witkowski got into it with the Flames forward Brett Kulak. Witkowski was sent to the penalty box for a fighting major, two ten minute misconducts and a game misconduct. End of story, right? Not so fast.
After a conveniently timed commercial break, the broadcast came back to Witkowski being sent to the dressing room because there were only approximately six minutes left in the game that would ultimately end with the Red Wings winning 8-2. As he was making his way to the locker room, the Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk gave Witkowski what one might describe as a love tap on the back of the leg. Witkowski took exception to this and the two teams began your garden variety hockey fight.
I call this a garden variety hockey fight because as a young hockey fan, I sat in amazement as I watched the same Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche have a rivalry that will remain unmatched in my mind during the 1990s. This rivalry had everything, two evenly matched hockey teams, bitter hatred, two coaches yelling at each other between the benches, and even a goalie fight!
Perhaps the new building which some fans have christened the Dough Joe as an homage to the Joe Louis Arena will be the place where such memories will be matched, but these kinds of moments need to be made over several years. Some will say a rivalry such as the one between the Wings and Avalanche will never be duplicated because of the salary cap that has since been introduced to hockey and the player movement that comes along with it.