HSJ in the morning: New Year’s Eve games of note

The Free Press’s Helene St. James looks back at memorable New Year’s Eve games ahead of tonight’s match-up vs. the Washington Capitals (7:30 PM EST start on Bally Sports Detroit/NBCS Washington/97.1 FM):

The Worst Eves: The 1970s — fittingly, considering it was the decade of the “Dead Wings” and the “Darkness with Harkness” — featured some terribly un-festive eves. On December 31, 1970, the Wings were hammered, 8-3, by the Black Hawks at Olympia Stadium. The Black Hawks were up, 3-0, halfway through the first period. The Wings got as close as 4-2 in the second, but neither Jim Rutherford, who started the game and allowed five goals on 23 shots, nor Don McLeod, who allowed three goals on 16 shots, were able to withstand Chicago’s attack. In 1977, the Wings endured a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Bruins, with Ron Low getting shellacked in net and future color commentator Paul Woods among those in the lineup.

Steve’s Fantastic Eve: New Year’s Eve 1987 was a memorable one for Yzerman: He had a goal and three assists in leading the Wings to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. That stretched Yzerman’s scoring streak to 18 games, breaking Alex Delvecchio’s franchise record of 17 straight games, set in Feb. 20-March 17, 1965. “The Captain has been fantastic,” then-coach Jacques Demers said. “He’s been phenomenal.”

Yzerman was his usually unassuming self about breaking a legend’s record, saying, “It’s nice, I guess. Alex was a great player, but I’m sure somebody will come along and break this record some day.” Yzerman’s point streak ended after 22 games (20 goals, 30 assists) and he was right, somebody did break it — him. From Nov. 1, 1988-Jan. 4, 1989, Yzerman had a point in 28 straight games, with 29 goals and 36 assists.

The Starry Eve: New Year’s Eve 1999 got a lot of attention because of Y2K fears that the change in digits would lead to a worldwide infrastructure collapse. The Wings spent the evening playing to a 4-4 tie with the Los Angeles Kings. The Wings hosted the Kings again on New Year’s Eve in 2000, and that night was one to cheer. Yzerman scored first and last, with assists both times from fellow Future Hall of Famers Nicklas Lidstrom and Igor Larionov. The Captain, the Perfect Human and The Professor — now those were auld acquaintances that should not be forgot.

Continued (paywall)

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

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