The rivalry between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues has created some memorable moments over the years. None as dramatic as what happened on March 17, 1991.
Referee Bill McCreary and linesmen Ron Finn and Shane Heyer had their hands full.
When the dust settled, 278 penalty minutes were handed out, including 12 major penalties, 17 misconducts, and 12 ejections. Three players were later suspended for their actions.
From Old Time Hockey, via the Riverfront Times:
This game is known in Chicago and St. Louis as the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre.” This was a classic Norris Division battle amongst two teams fighting for the President’s Trophy. It was expected to be an intense game, but it quickly turned into a very chippy affair early. A line brawl, started when Featherstone took exception to Jeremy Roenick’s hard hit on Snepsts.
Featherstone shoved Roenick, Keith Brown shoved Featherstone, and the fight was on.
With Featherstone and Brown fighting, another scuffle broke out when Roenick shoved Chase, called up from Peoria by the Blues in case something like this happened. Goulet tackled Chase, then Kimble, acquired by the Blues to beef up the lineup, came into the fray, apparently leaving the bench to do so.
Kimble yanked Roenick off the pile, and pummeled Roenick while Rod Brind’Amour held onto Roenick. Kimble broke Roenick’s tooth and cut Roenick’s lip.
”They had something against me and they wanted me to feel the pain,” Roenick said. ”They did.”
But that was only the first brawl of the game, which came in the opening period. There would be more. Much more.
From St. Louis Game Time:
By the second period, the Blues were down 4-2. Steve Larmer high-sticked Gino Cavallini and was given five minutes and a game misconduct, which on any other night would’ve been the perfect chance for the Blues to get right back into the game.
Instead, the Blues got right back into a brawl. Mike Keenan encouraged his guys – nine of them to be accurate – to start a line brawl with the already angry Blues. Dave Manson and Scott Stevens were the main event, having some unresolved issues from the evening before (and season before – it was alleged that Manson bit Stevens while Stevens went for Manson’s eyes in one tussle). Manson wrestled Stevens to the ice eventually, cutting Stevens in the process, but Stevens wound up on top both literally and figuratively.
“It was weird,” said Blues center Adam Oates. “I was pretty scared, I’ll tell you that. Let me rephrase that. Terrified. Grimson, Manson and Peluso [were out there] and they had 10 bodies on the ice, too.”
The Blackhawks went on to win the game 6-4.
”I was embarrassed to be involved,” said Blackhawks coach Mike Keenan.
Here’s a more on the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre: