Kris Draper Retires: Memory of Brutal Hit by Claude Lemieux Remains

July 30th, 2011 by Jason Sapunka Leave a reply »
Kris Draper, a Selke Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup Champion, announced his retirement on July 26, 2011.

Draper was a member of Detroit's "Grind Line" which consisted of himself, Joey Kocur and Kirk Maltby in the late 1990s. Darren McCarty would fill the spot left vacant when Kocur retired in 1999.

Despite the championships, trophies and fame as part a legendary Red Wings line, Draper will also be remembered for being the victim of a hit that sparked one of hockey's greatest rivalries.

The NHL's 1996 Western Conference Finals put the Red Wings against another NHL powerhouse, the Colorado Avalanche.

During the final game of the series, Draper approached a loose puck along the sideboards at center ice by the team benches.

After Draper poked the puck forward, he was facing up ice while drifting backwards. Claude Lemieux skated from behind, pushed and caused Draper to slam his face on the dasher.

Draper suffered a broken jaw, nose and cheekbone in addition to sustaining a concussion and nerve damage. Draper was out of action for the rest of the season and took several months to return to playing shape.

Read Full Article at Bleacher Report - NHL
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