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An Eye for an Eye

Updated: Sep 16, 2022


By the Coyotes third season, they had built an immense dislike for the Dallas Stars. To paraphrase Coyotes assistant coach John Tortorella,” the Stars are so arrogant it’s sickening." Every game between the teams was physical and cheap shots abounded. It came to a head in late March of '99. The Stars (Craig Ludwig in particular) were doing all they could to get under the skin of Jeremy Roenick. It didn’t take long for Roenick to respond; it was still in the first period when he ran Mike Modano and put him out of the game. The thing was, Modano didn't have the puck at the time. Roenick was assessed a major penalty, and because he also got a game misconduct, the Stars would have to wait to exact revenge.

Now normally, when there's a whole lot of talk about retribution, nothing much happens; but it did this time. 6’5” Stars captain Derian Hatcher announced to the world that Roenick would pay. The league warned of consequences, but Hatcher paid no heed. In the first period of the next game in Dallas, Hatcher charged Roenick and plastered him into the boards. Roenick’s jaw was broken in three places.

Hatcher was suspended for 7 games, including the first 5 of the playoffs. The Stars however overcame his absence and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

(The Coyotes and Stars didn't meet again for 7 months, but the bitterness remained. In their first meeting the next season, Coyote Keith Tkachuk called out Hatcher before the game was 2 minutes old. The 2 captains went at it right at centre ice, and while Tkachuk didn't win the battle, he did earn an immense degree of respect from his teammates and coaches.)

In later years Roenick wrote in his book (J.R.) that he never played with a captain who took greater care of his peers than Keith Tkachuk did





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