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The Grind Line

McCarty-Maltby-Draper
They are the Grind Line
 

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Kris Draper forms one of the NHL's
most tenacious checking duos with Kirk Maltby

Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper: There's no one on the ice who would get more pleasure out of defeating Peter Forsberg than Kris Draperthe only thing better might be a win over former Forsberg linemate Claude Lemieuxin a boxing ring.

Since Lemieux's infamous 1996 hit on Draper, any member of the Colorado Avalanche has been considered Public Enemy Number One, fueling an already intense Colorado-Detroit rivalry.

Add Forsberg's gold medal game shootout performance in the Olympics and you have the makings of one of the feistiest international matchups in recent history.

Kirk Maltby and Draper were solid in Canada's 3-1 win over Sweden earlier in the tournament and are playing on a line together with Shane Doan, who has five points in this tournament. Draper has steadily improved with the Red Wings during his ten-year career. He continues to set career highs with each passing season and, like a fine wine, gets better with age.

Maltby rebounded from a 2000 injury with ease, and has missed almost no games since then. He also has a knack for scoring game-winning goals against Forsberg and the Avalanche, most notably in the Game 1 of the 1999 series, plus one of his two goals during his injury-plagued 1999-2000 season in a memorable regular season game. As members of the 'Grind Line,' Maltby and Draper have both played a big role in the Detroit dynasty.

Maltby had never played in the World Championships before but has an impressive two goals and two assists at this year's tournament. Draper has yet to score a goal at this year's World Championships and one in the gold medal game could be twice as special. Especially if it leads to the playing of O Canada.


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