Downey sticks up for captain, dishes on-ice justice
|Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom is helped off the ice by trainer Piet Van Zant and forward Henrik Zetterberg. Lidstrom injured his right hit by Ian Laperriere's hit along the boards in the first period of Monday's game.|
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was slammed into the boards by Laperriere in the first period, and hobbled off the ice with a knee injury. Downey took offense to the hit and went after Laperriere later in the period, and the two exchanged blows before being separated, both drawing penalties for fighting.
They squared off again in front of Detroit's bench early in the third period. The two then argued through the glass in the penalty box as they served 10-minute majors.
"Fair justice is fair justice," said Downey, whose team snapped a six-game winless streak. "I'm not going to run their guys, but I'll go out there and get him back. We can't be running the superstars out of our game."
Laperriere didn't understand what all the fuss was about. There was no penalty called on the play.
"I play hard," Laperriere said. "Hopefully, he's going to be OK. I respect him a lot."
The Red Wings didn't know the extent of the injury to Lidstrom, who came in leading all defenseman with 57 points. Detroit coach Mike Babcock didn't think it was too serious.
"He'll probably end up with a few days off," Babcock said. "I don't know if he's going to be out a week or 10 days. I wasn't very impressed with what happened."
Laperriere said he understood the wrath of Downey and the rest of the Red Wings.
"I know where Aaron is coming from," Laperriere said. "I've been there. I've been around long enough to know that when one of their best players gets hurt, they will come after you. But I think it was a clean hit."
Lidstrom is scheduled to have his right knee re-examined in Detroit on Wednesday.