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I Just Heard About The Brendan Shanahan vs. Ricky Vaive Fight For The First Time And Can't Get Over What A Hilarious Story It Is

Bill Greenblatt. Shutterstock Images.

Every now and then when you're scrolling twitter you'll come across something that's not recycled, regurgitated, partisan nonsense. Something actually informative and that you never knew before. 

I am apologizing off the top for not knowing this story before today. For all the hockey fanatics who scream their lungs out about the sport not getting the respect it deserves, or enough courage, and then crucify anybody who isn't part of the club and tries, suck it.

Giphy Images.

(don't be like the country club golf bros.)

But I digress. 

I lived with a houseful of Detroit guys when I was in college. The Red Wings weren't fucking unstoppable anymore, but that didn't stop them from still thinking so. And subjecting me to nightly viewings of their games even though I couldn't care less. Oh, and they hijacked my boxer puppy's name I gave him, Bernie, (as in Bernie Lomax), and renamed him Dino (as in Dino Ciccarelli). We battled for a month on it, but I was outnumbered and he seemed to respond to Dino better so the name stuck. 

But again, I digress.

Shanahan was a fixture of my college years whether I liked it or not. As much as I hated those Red Wings teams, Shanahan was hard to not like. For one, he was a handsome mother fucker. Two, he played hard as hell, always. Scrappy wasn't the term because he could dazzle too. He wasn't just a grinder. He was a stud. And he could lay the lumber.

And he wasn't afraid of anybody. Including Bob Probert.

Or this cocksman either apparently-

You don’t get the nickname “the mad Irishman” by being a pussy. 

But I somehow never heard this Rick Vaive story until now. 

Maybe that's on Gary Thorne and Bill Clement (to this day, two of my favorite all-time announcers) for failing to inform us viewers when killing time on one of ESPN's Hockey Night in America Wednesday night broadcasts, but I'm glad I caught this now because it's gold.

The Toronto Star - A lesson to all NHL stars who balk at signing autographs for a kid: you never know what that kid is going to be when he grows up.

As a 14-year-old in 1983, Brendan Shanahan approached Leafs star Rick Vaive for an autograph.

Vaive turned the kid down.

And the snub would stay tucked away in Shanahan's memory.

"When I was 14 years old I was skating in the summertime at a rink in Toronto," recalled the Mimico native. "Rick Vaive happened to be skating at an adjoining rink and we were actually in dressing rooms that were right next to each other. I went in when he was sort of settled and asked him for an autograph. I didn't get the best response from Rick Vaive at that time."

"Fast forward four years later and Rick Vaive is waiting for a meaningless faceoff in Buffalo," Shanahan said. "He's now playing for the Sabres. He's lined up next to some 18-year-old kid from New Jersey. When the puck dropped, I attacked Rick Vaive.

"It was a quiet, uneventful game. He couldn't believe the rage I had, not only in attacking him, but it took two (linesmen) to restrain me afterwards and throw me in the penalty box."

Vaive hardly knew what hit him. He approached former teammate Jim Korn – then with the Devils – to find out what was wrong with Shanahan.

"He said… By the way, what's wrong with that kid and why was he coming after me?'" said Shanahan. "Jim Korn said,Apparently he asked you for an autograph when he was a little kid and you weren't that friendly to him. So he's harboured those feelings since then.'"

I sadly can't find footage of this fight anywhere online)

Unbelievable amount of grudge harbored by Shanahan in this story. You have no choice but to respect it. Pure maniac behavior.

Picturing a clueless Vaive, on the back end of his career, standing at the faceoff circle and getting attacked by an 18-year-old kid who's waited 4 years for the moment to knock his lights out is laugh-out-loud funny. 

It's like Inigo Montoya finally meeting the 6 fingered man.

Young Shanahan had been counting the days until he'd get the chance to make Rick Vaive pay for  ̶k̶i̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶f̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ not signing his autograph.

Vaive had to have been so caught off guard, wondering what in the fuck was happening before he even knew what hit him.

It'd be like if this kid who got snubbed by Anthony Rizzo this season, because the kid's dad is a scumbag, hit the gym 3 times a day, perfected the art of hitting, and made it to the league as Anthony is in his final season. 

He gets his first plate appearance, nobody's ever heard of him, especially Rizzo, but the kids been waiting for this moment for 7 years. He slaps one to first, just like he'd envisioned a countless number of times, Anthony fields it himself and heads to the bag. "Why is this kid screaming down the baseline on a routine grounder?", Rizzo thinks to himself as he begins to hussle to the bag before realizing he has to dive to tag it. The kid comes in hard, cleats up, and catches Anthony high. The benches clear, mayhem ensues. After the game the only question the media wants to know is why? 

"Got turned down for an autograph by the guy a while back", the kid says as he grabs his book of 8x10s and heads to his teammates' lockers to ask for their autographs for his dad.