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Avalanche vs. Red Wings Rivalry Gets ESPN Treatment Starting Sunday



Avalanche Red Wings

At 11 a.m. mountain time Sunday, I hope everybody has ESPN turned on. If you do, you’ll see a full E60 documentary called “Unrivaled – Red Wings v. Avalanche.”

It’s a deep-dive look at the famous rivalry, which I wrote a book about in 2006 (of course I’m going to get a cheap book plug in here, what, are you nuts?). I had the pleasure of being part of this film, so you’ll see my talking head a few times on it.

But I think you’ll be more interested in what the other people who sat down for interviews for this have to say. They include: Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Mike Ricci, Peter Forsberg, Steve Yzerman, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Vladimir Konstantinov, Scotty Bowman, Marc Crawford, Brendan Shanahan, Mike Vernon and Adam Foote. Some other people – such as former Avalanche trainer Pat Karns and former Red Wings trainer John Wharton – are also part of it, and a couple others.

I’ve seen the extended version, which will be permanently on-demand on ESPN+ and it’s very, very good. The “TV” version will be a bit shorter, but it’s on from 11-1.

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How lucky was I to get to be able to cover that Avalanche vs. Red Wings rivalry? Seriously lucky. I’ll forever remain grateful for that opportunity. I’ve said this before, but: I went from living alone in my parents’ basement at age 25 in New Hampshire, having just been laid off from my $6 an hour job at the Concord Monitor, with no car and no love life to speak of, to flying on the Avalanche team charter four years later with Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic and the rest, writing all the stories of the team.

I’m in a bad way right now. Lots of physical health problems – and a couple of mental health ones too – but I’m still here. Watching this show will be good for the mental health, knowing I was a part of all this somehow.

If you miss Sunday’s debut, you won’t be out of luck. An extended version of Unrivaled with exclusive content will be available for on-demand streaming on ESPN+. The TV version will re-air in prime time on Monday, June 27, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 and at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 30 on ESPN. It will re-air on Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. on ESPN2

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Can’t wait to watch this, the promo was powerful. Hang in there AD, we need you around here. This site makes the whole experience.

Ari Gould

I read your book, AD, and really enjoyed it. I lived through that amazing rivalry. Nothing in any sport comes close to it, IMHO. I didn’t know you are having health issues. All the best to you for recovery and a long, healthy life. Thank you very much for all of your excellent writings over the years.

Matt Briggle

That will be a great way to kick off the pre game coverage. Hope you get feeling better. I think the Avs will close it out tomorrow night. They’ve seen this story before and now that they have those “the Cup is in the building” nerves out of the way they’ll focus completely on finishing the task at hand. If they don’t then I will start getting very nervous.

Wayne Dunlap

Hope better times are ahead for you AD. The struggle is real and chronic health problems, both physical and mental can be overwhelming. I’ll be pulling for you.


Anyone know where and if this will air in Canada?
And, AD, know that you opening up about your struggles makes a difference. This coming from a bottle it down as deep as it can go person. Hang in there.


They interviewed Konstantinov for this? Really?

Well anyway, hope to get access to it in Europe somehow.

D Malingo

Can’t wait to see this – congrats Adrien on being part of it, sounds like a pretty amazing experience covering it, especially only a few years out from living in your parents’ basement. Really cool how life works sometimes!


Just got done watching this. Pretty damn good. Drapes is still pretty salty. Makes me think if Claude did wish to apologize, it would not be accepted. He doesn’t have time…

Dave Jones

Holy moly. That E60 was unreal. Have not been up on my seat like that in awhile. Two hours FLEW by. Love the AVS but damn Lemieux was a piece of crap. Probably will get edited for this. Was it just me or we’re people in that Detroit bar (where Claude and McCarty were interviewed) just aching to kick his arse?


They all looked really pissed off. I thought the whole doc was a bit Red Wings lopsided.

Dave Jones

You’re right about the story being tilted Detroit’s way. Gotta remember though that it IS Hockeytown and AVS were new to town

Daniel Buttolph

Didn’t love it. The story continues to be told through the Detroit lense with the non stop martyrdom of Draper and “heroism” from McCarty. The idea that this whole thing could have been avoided with an apology seems disingenuous.


Then you’ve never watched hockey and seen how things die down or get magnified in your life. Lemieux had the chance to quell this thing but instead chose to throw lighter fluid onto the fire. IF he had apologized he probably gets a square off man to man fight with McCarty. But it wasn’t in his nature to do that.

Matt Zmuda

Any way to watch this if you don’t have ESPN?

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