Retro Recap: Halloween Zed Heads – Red Wings at Capitals – October 31, 2000

Photo: NHL

On October 31, 2000, Halloween Day, the Detroit Red Wings visited MCI Center to face the Capitals. The theme of the day was Zed. No, not the letter “Z”.  Not the character from the Hellblazer comic series. No, not, those yellow creatures in the Dr. Seuss book “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”.

For fans who followed the Washington Capitals between 1997 and 2001, Zed meant Richard Zednik, the Slovakian right winger. Prior to the 2000-01 season, Zednik had adopted a hairstyle similar to emerging rapper, Eminem, as he dyed his naturally dark hair blond and had it spiked.

Prelude

After cross checking defenseman Adam Foote in an overtime game against the Colorado Avalanche on October 17, Zednik was suspended for four games. He would finally return to the lineup on October 31, against the Red Wings.

That morning, FM Alternative Rock station, DC101, announced a related promotion. They announced that they would be giving away tickets to the game and customized Zednik jerseys to people who showed up at the radio station, first come first served. They would get their hair styled in Zednik style, too, getting their hair trimmed, spiked and dyed blonde.

Approximately 200 fans, dubbed Zed Heads, sat in a corner of MCI Center, wearing their custom Zednik jerseys and sporting their platinum blond spiked hairdos.

Team Preview

Going into the game, the Capitals had a record of 1-5-4-1. Their one and only win for the season came against the New Jersey Devils, who were the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

Their previous four games were two losses and two ties. The Red Wings had a record of 7-3-0-1 going into the game and were on a four-game winning streak. The goalie matchup was Olie Kolzig for the Caps and Chris Osgood for the Red Wings. On the personnel front for the Caps, defenseman Ken Klee was out due to recovering from wrist surgery.

First Period

It seemed like numerous Caps forwards, including Zednik, had chances to score during the period, but Osgood turned them all back. Jeff Halpern finally broke the deadlock, scoring his third goal of the year at 12:37, blasting a one timer as he fell to his knees. Ulf Dahlen fed Halpern the puck while Steve Konowalchuk got the secondary assist. This particular goal was done with a purely blue-collar work ethic, as they ground the puck in the corners and behind the net. The goal was only the third time out of 12 games thus far that season, where the Caps scored first.

Red Wings forward Boyd Devereaux tied the game just over two minutes later, at 14:45, getting assists from Chris Chelios and Matthew Dandenault. The Red Wings capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the Caps while the teams were on a 4-on-4 situation. Red Wings Sergei Fedorov went to the penalty box for slashing at a time when Richard Zednik was already in the penalty box.

With just over 2 minutes to go in the period, the Caps took the lead. Calle Johansson passed to Peter Bondra, who was behind the net andthen passed to Richard Zednik who blasted it past Osgood.

The Caps now led 2-1, which was the score going into the first intermission. This was only the third time during the season thus far where the Capitals had lead after at the first intermission.

Second Period

The Capitals were out-skating one of the quickest teams in the league and out-working one of the league’s most tenacious clubs. The effort finally paid off when center Adam Oates won a faceoff and Sylvain Cote shot the puck over Osgood’s shoulder at 12:19 for the Caps’ third goal. The assist by Oates was the 902nd assist of his career, allowing him to pass Bryan Trottier for 11th place on the all-time list.

Less than two minutes later, Zednik recorded his second goal of the game after tearing down the left wing and smashing a shot that got past Osgood. The Caps now led 4-1, which was the score going into second intermission.

Third Period

With the Caps having a three-goal lead, their main objective during the third period was to try to get the puck to Zednik as much as possible so that he could try to complete the hat trick. Head Coach Ron Wilson started double-shifting Zednik to give him maximum opportunity.

At 7:19, Zednik received a pass from Bondra from the right boards. He extended his stick past defenseman Todd Gill and deflected the puck into the net. The hat trick was complete. This was the first hat trick in the 203rd game of his career thus far.

So now hats started fluttering onto the rink, especially from the section where the Zed Heads were located. Caps owner Ted Leonsis, wearing a blond wig, waved a towel from the owner’s box. The score was now 5-1 in favor of the Caps.

The Red Wings scored their second goal at 14:36 when Martin Lapoint scored his seventh goal of the year, getting assists from Brent Gilcrist and Brendan Shanahan. The score was now 5-2, but it was too little too late for the Red Wings.

Joe Sacco recorded the Caps last goal at 17:59, getting assists from Jan Bulis and Craig Berube. The final score was 6-2 in favor of the Caps. It was the first time the Capitals had won a game in regulation time on Halloween.

Post Game Comments

In a postgame interview, Zednik said “Everybody said before the game,’This is your night,’. Everybody was saying, ‘It’s Zed’s night, it’s Zed’s night.’ Finally I get a hat trick and it feels good, especially on Zed’s night.”

Peter Bondra talked about Zednik’s first goal, “I didn’t see him. He was just yelling, so I threw it to the net.”  He continued to talk about the team’s night, “Our line, each time we touched the puck it was exciting.”

Ron Wilson said, “The bottom line here is scoring first. We’re not going to win games if we don’t score first.”

A dejected Brendan Shanahan, Detroit winger, said, “We were completely out-hustled to every puck. They played like a desperate hockey team, and we played awful.”

Afterwards
The Capitals did not immediately turn around their season after that game but started turning it around in December. They ultimately qualified for the playoffs but were eliminated in the first round by Pittsburgh.

The Caps traded Zednik at the trade deadline along with Jan Bulis in a trade where the Caps acquired Trevor Linden in return. They eventually reacquired Zednik for the 2006-07 season but traded him to the New York Islanders at the trade deadline.

Photos from the game at capsonfilm.

By Diane Doyle

Related Reading
Washington Post: Game Recap
Washington Post: Story on Zednik Suspension
CBC Story on Zednik Hat Trick
Link to Pictures from UPI Story
Box Score from Hockey Reference

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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