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ESPN’s ‘Unrivaled,’ on Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry, will debut Sunday

The highly anticipated E60 documentary “Unrivaled,” on the bitter, bloody rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche from more than two decades ago will debut Sunday at 1 pm on ESPN.

The network announced today that the special will premiere on the day of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, if necessary. Colorado leads the series 2-0 heading into Game 3 tonight at Amalie Arena.

Viewers will hear from many who were at the heart of the rivalry, including Detroit’s Darren McCarty and Kris Draper and Colorado’s Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy.

The rivalry was launched during Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference finals at McNichols Arena in Denver, when Lemieux checked Draper from behind into the dasher board, resulting in numerous facial injuries to the Red Wings’ Grind Line center.

It reached its apex during the unforgettable brawl on March 26, 1997, at Joe Louis Arena.

ESPN said those interviewed include:

Red Wings: Players McCarty, Draper, Mike Knuble, Vladimir Konstantinov (and his daughter Anastasia), Brendan Shanahan, Mike Vernon and Steve Yzerman; train coach Scotty Bowman and train trainer John Wharton.

Avalanche: Players Lemieux, Roy, Adam Foote, Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Joe Sakic; trainer Pat Karns and trainer coach Marc Crawford.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also is interviewed as are longtime Red Wings broadcaster Ken Daniels, former Red Wings player and current broadcaster Mickey Redmond, former NHL player and current Avalanche broadcaster Peter McNab, former ESPN NHL broadcaster Gary Thorne, former NHL executive Brian Burke and former NHL referee Paul Devorski.

The program is hosted by Jeremy Schaap.

“Great rivalries elevate sports,” said Andy Tennant, E60 executive producer said in a statement. “They enhance the appreciation of the games we love. They bring out the best in the rivals themselves. Or do they? Is it sometimes more complicated than that? In addition to all the great things about rivalries, they can also go too far. Competition bleeds into something uglier.”

Red Wings host advance watch party

Red Wings have invited fans to Little Caesars Arena for an advance exclusive watch party for ‘Unrivaled’ on Saturday. Doors open at 5 pm The show will start at 6 and will be followed by a panel discussion with Red Wings alumni.

The event is free, but limited seats are available for the watch party, which will take place on the center hung video board.

Fans must register in advance, and can do so by clicking here.


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