You knew they were indeed old-timers when after the North Stars and Wild alumni beat the Blackhawks on Saturday, there was a huge bucket of Coors Light right in the middle of the locker room.
Good evening from TCF Bank Stadium, where Minnesota’s alum beat the Blackhawks’ alum, 6-4, today.
It came after coach Lou Nanne’s fiery, passionate Herb Brooks-like pregame speech.
“I said we’re going to be out here, we’re going to have fun,” Nanne said. “This was our big rivalry, but we are going to win this game. And if I have to sit some of you guys during the game, I’m going to sit some of you because this is the last game we’re going to play against the Blackhawks and I do not want to go home a loser to the Blackhawks and I don’t think you do either.”
Said Dino Ciccarelli, “We were fired up.”
Awesome event, awesome game and awesome weekend. I was lucky enough yesterday to get to attend the alumni party at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, and it was incredible sharing stories with the Ciccarellis, Neal Brotens, Denis Savards, etc.
If you didn’t see, I wrote a column for Sunday’s paper on Tommy McCarthy.
Also, check out all of our coverage in Sunday’s paper (and online later at startribune.com/wild) on the alumni game, the Wild-Blackhawks advance, Craig Leipold talking publicly for the first time since Mike Yeo’s firing.
As for the alumni game, Dennis Maruk opened the scoring for Minnesota off assists from Andrew Brunette and Craig Hartsburg. Chicago’s Eric Daze quickly tied it, but Brian Bellows tied it off assists from Mike Modano and Brian Rolston. Troy Murray tied the score at 2-2 on a penalty shot.
In the second, Minnesota took over starting with Brunette scoring on a penalty shot.
“Thank God there wasn’t a shot clock. I was waiting for the buzzer to go off,” Brunette said, laughing. “By the time I got to the top of the circle, I was like, ‘Uh oh, I better hurry up here.’”
That would be the only goal of the second period, but in the third, Wes Walz got things started with a snipe 12 seconds into the period. Brad Maxwell and goalie Don Beaupre, who was great and ultimately was named MVP, assisted.
“Fortunately it was in the first 12 seconds of my shift because if it would have happened any time after my 12th second, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a whole lot on it,” Walz said. “I had a little bit of juice.”
Bobby Smith scored next on the eventual winner from Ciccarelli.
Chris Chelios and Jeremy Roenick assisted on Daze’s goal to cut Chicago’s deficit to 5-3, then Darby Hendrickson assisted on Modano’s goal before Roenick scored in the final seconds from Jamal Mayers and Adrian Aucoin.
“It was amazing,” Walz said of the experience. “We wanted to put on a nice show for the fans. People pay good money to come watch these games, so we wanted to put on a good show. It became evident right before we went out for warmups that we wanted to win this game, let’s just say that.
“We got the win for the fans. This was an amazing experience. You know a lot of times for us hockey players after you retire, the lights go off and don’t come on for a long time. Some guys struggle with that throughout their retirement, so for the lights to come back on for three or four hours for a lot of us was a lot of fun.”
Added Brunette, “It was really special. I don’t think you grasp it completely until you’re standing on the ice for the national anthem with those guys. As the teams were introduced, a lot of it was nostalgia. It was a tribute to the North Stars and what they meant to hockey, to the fans here, to professional hockey in the state of Minnesota. To see the names and the numbers of guys I grew up watching, it was a real honor to play with them.”
Rolston and many others said the league should try to move Sunday’s 2:30 puck drop back because the sun was melting the ice, which explains why there was no Zamboni during the first intermission. They were afraid the ice wouldn’t freeze.
“In the third period, the ice was perfect because the sun set,” Rolston said. “The first two periods, real sticky.”
I can't imagine the game can be pushed back due to NBC logistics.
That’s it for me. Most the guys get out of town Sunday. For Ciccarelli, he plays in the Red Wings’ alumni game next weekend in Colorado. He said this weekend was incredible because they did everything with the Blackhawks. They took the same bus to events, etc. He and old foe Denis Savard even kiddingly got into a scrap seconds after the faceoff.
Ciccarelli may not be kidding next weekend. He said he’s already disgusted the way the Avs are treating the Red Wings, saying “Patrick Roy and Peter Forsberg have said they don’t want any interacting between the two teams. Next week’s game will be intense.”
He reminded that it was Claude Lemieux that rearranged Kris Draper’s face in 1996, not the other way around.
Should be interesting, and if you know Dino, he’s not joking around. He’s really ticked.
Talk to you Sunday after the Wild-Blackhawks game. Two big points on the line.