Longtime Detroit Red Wing captain Steve Yzerman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year, and the Detroit Tigers want to honor Yzerman for his entrance into hockey immortality in perhaps a very fitting way.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland says that sometime this season the team will initiate a bench-clearing brawl as a homage to Yzerman.
“Hockey’s almost all about fighting, so to pay our respects to Stevie getting into the Hall of Fame, we’re planning to start a fight on the field,” Leyland said between puffs of a Marlboro Red cigarette.
Leyland wouldn’t divulge too many details, but he did say he’s leaning towards one of his players charging the mound to start a fight after being hit by a pitch.
“I’ve told my team that if they charge the mound when they’re down in the count no balls and two strikes, then they’re on their own,” Leyland explained. “I mean, what kind of moron charges the mound when he’s behind on the count? It's gotta be when the count is 3-0, 3-1, 2-0 or right after a teammate before them has hit a home run.”
If and when the fight takes place, Leyland says he’d like to see one of his players draw blood on an opponent, and perhaps knock out a few teeth.
“Hockey is the most honored sport here, and that’s our motivation by doing it,” the manager said. “We’d like to show Yzerman how much he means to Hockeytown and how we’re honored to play in the same city that he’s represented for so long.”
Leyland added that he would’ve preferred the fight take place when the Colorado Rockies are in town, since their hockey counterpart, Colorado Avalanche, used to feature the man Red Wings fans love to hate, Claude Lemieux.