Today I will do my radio show on 971 FM The Ticket with former Red Wing Darren McCarty. And one of the things I want to ask him is what will it is like for him to do a signing in the same building with former Colorado Avs antagonist Claude Lemieux?
Lemieux is one of the most hated men in Detroit. McCarty pummeled this guy in one of the most famous fights in Detroit history and it is a battle that helped spur the Red Wings to the 1997 Stanley Cup. Of all the sports figures in the history of sports, only two people could never play in Detroit.
One is Ron Artest who started the Palace brawl. The other is Lemieux who rearranged Kris Draper’s face during a vicious hit in the 1996 Western Conference Finals and still today shows no remorse. I talked to Lemieux along with two other reporters after the hit while he lay on a training table. He said he did not care about Draper’s health and that it would not haunt him.
Here is what he told Eric Lacy of the Detroit News a few days ago.
“Let’s not mix the two,” he said. “You asked me about the signing, and I’m happy to do it. No, I haven’t talked to (Draper), and that’s it.”
Lemieux was defiant and was like the boxer Drago in the movie Rocky: “If he dies he dies.”
McCarty and Lemieux will sign autographs together from 2-4 p.m. at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens (2-4 p.m.) and it will just seem odd.
How will fans approach this? Do you just walk up to the guy and ask for an autograph, smile and take a photo with him? It is not only an uncomfortable setting for McCarty but it is strange for fans.
The photo of McCarty and Lemieux fighting will be the most signed item there. I know it is a historical photo and it is an item sports memorabilia people will want.
But I saw Draper’s face that night. I talked to Lemieux. And I want nothing to do with it.
(Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@detnews.com or 313-222-1494. You can follow him on twitter at TerryFoster971.)