from Kirkland Crawford of the Detroit Free Press,
The Detroit Red Wings of the mid-1990s were labeled as soft.
Critics said they lacked the toughness to win the Stanley Cup, even though they resided atop the NHL standings for much of the decade.
On March 26, 1997, the Wings said enough was enough.
That night represented more than just revenge on Claude Lemieux of the Colorado Avalanche. It was more than just drawing blood to avenge the facial injuries Kris Draper dealt by Lemieux in the 1996 Western Conference finals.
It was a chance to show the hockey world — and even themselves — they weren't going to be pushovers.
[ Darren McCarty: Mike Babcock cost the Wings the Stanley Cup in 2009 ]
And one could argue that the Wings got the Stanley Cup monkey off their backs, not in early June, but on this late March night at Joe Louis Arena.
With every fist that Darren McCarty dropped on Lemieux in that first-period fracas, the confidence level seemed to rise, both for the Red Wings, and for their fan base.
Let's look back at some of the finer details from that night:
Below, watch 15 minutes of highlights from the game.