It’s true, we have a lot of history with Joel Quenneville. Though we love it, I have a feeling he does not share in our sentimentality. Quenneville has made the playoffs ten times in his coaching career. Four of those times, it was ended by Detroit. 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008. Plus, he spent years in St. Louis, where he became very familiar with the play of Detroit. And apparently, it pissed him off. Want evidence? I’ve got it.
Do you remember a special day in 2003? March 29. The game was played in St. Louis. Legace was in net for the Wings, and Ozzie was in for St. Louis. Most of the stats favored the Blues. Faceoffs were even. They outshot Detroit 24-21. It was just that one stat. You know, the one that matters. Goals. 6-2 Detroit.
And Joel was mad that night. It was the fifth and final game between the two teams of the season, and the Blues had gone 0-3-1. So he sent his players out with a message: Kill them. All of them. Some of their guys don’t fight, you say? I don’t care. In fact, target them. That guy, Holmstrom? He’s been pissing me off. Kill him. Six times if you can.
There’s a wonderful video of it on youtube.
The result? Well, the Wings won, 6-2. ESPN provides the stats. And some from my own memory. St. Louis ended up with 139 penalty minutes, 113 in the last minute. The Wings were given 112 penalty minutes, 76 in the last minute. Wings assistant coach Joey Kocur threw a chair on the ice and basically challenged Joel to go with him. He was suspended. If my memory serves correctly, the Blues had 7 guys left on the bench to finish the game. The Wings had 9. Luc Robitaille fought. Mathieu Schneider fought. Dmitri Bykov (remember him?) fought…sorta. He had to keep his head down because he had an eye injury, so it wasn’t much of a fight.
I don’t remember all the games against Quenneville (who does?), but this one has always stuck out in my memory. I remember watching the game and thinking I should be mad about it. But I was laughing. Can you blame me? It was funny to see a team of grown men throwing a collective tantrum.
Now we face our friend Joel again. He’s not with St. Louis, or even Colorado, anymore. He’s in Chicago, there to lead them to a Cup. Remember last season? Chicago embarrassed us. This year, with Joel? 4-2 for Detroit. I’m not saying it’s Joel’s fault. I’m not even saying the Wings will win the series just because Joel is the coach.
We’ve had his number in the past, and he doesn’t like us very much. That’s all I’m saying.