Andrew Berkshire sat with Detroit Red Wings Legend Darren McCarty ahead of the 25th Anniversary of Fight Night at the Joe to discuss that brawl as well as other memorable moments in his NHL career.
The buzzer sounded for the first Stanley Cup you won in 1997. Is it a mere coincidence, or was Scotty Bowman the one who put you on the last shift?
Scotty, not Scotty. It’s the fact that he trusted me enough to let me be there, no matter what. After Scotty retired and we had won the Cups Mr. Ilitch and his wife were throwing a huge party. Scotty Bowman came up to me, and said: “Hey D-Mac! One of the biggest regrets I have is not telling my players just how much I love them. “You’re second to Guy LaFleur as my favorite right-winger to ever play for me,” he said, and then he ran off.
Guy LaFleur is the Flower. Legend. It was his first four Cups, which I had to accept. He also smoked more than me per day. For me, it was all I cared about. The mic drops. That’s it. This is the gratitude I’ve always received from everyone in this organization NHL public betting.
In the third quarter of Game 1, the Conference Final 2002 against Colorado was tied at 2-2. Darren McCarty scores a natural hat-trick on Patrick Roy. At that point you must have thought we had this down, right?
You’ve got the first game. You never look ahead. It was a war you knew, and so the only thing to do was stick with the attrition. Patrick Roy had a high glove that I used to score a number of my goals. Go back to the 1997 playoffs. Breakaway. High glove. This is my position as a right-handed shooter.
Adam Foote is a great warrior, and as we age there comes a certain respect for him. But I did give him a good shave. Roy could not have seen the first goal, but he almost got it in the face. My favorite goal was the second one I scored. It was a two-on-one down the left wing with a slapshot and high glove. My favorite goal was the one I scored to win the Cup. It was because I would do it every day. We don’t call ourselves superstitious hockey players. But we do have rituals. And my daily routine involved hitting that shot right before leaving the ice at every practice.
You were also forechecking. Not only did you create the scenario that led to the goal but you also scored the goal.
The Grind Line took pride in this. They didn’t even have next-gen statistics back then. But I could have seen the result, pressure, goal, and all the other information. The Grind Line was proud of this. We wanted to frustrate and shut down your Forsbergs and Sakics and your top line. But when we saw our best players struggling, or feeling frustrated, then we needed to help. And we did. This game is just one example.
Fast forward to game 7, and we’ve blown them out. Roy retired after we beat them by 7-0. In the first quarter, we were 4-0 up. It was the quietest and most fearful locker room I’ve ever seen because everyone felt on edge. This was not what we were expecting, it was 0-0. What is going on? When Freddie Olausson made it 5-0 less than five minutes into the second half, the relief began. It’s like you are looking at the ground and wondering, Is this real?
In your professional opinion, who did you think won the fight between Roy Vernon and Roy Osgood in terms of goalie battles?
Old P Roy has a score of 0-2. We’re glad he didn’t touch Dom Hasek. Dom’s step on the stick is a good thing. It was an idiotic thing to do, and I expected that he would be fed. Bernie, however, slipped the man, caught him on his left, and held out. Just the fact that two older men were fighting is enough. Listen, even though I’m not a huge Patrick Roy fan I still respect him as a player. In the same manner that I do not respect Claude Lemieux as a player, I still respect him for who he is.
Did you watch Claude’s Son? Brendan Lemieux?
What is the snapping turtle called? He’s also biting children, isn’t he? Evander Kane is not someone I respect, but the cold cock that was down the pipe was an excellent left. Those are the messages that get across. These not only hurt but they also send a strong message. What do you want from Brendan? He’s a Lemieux, he plays like a Lemieux, you gotta treat him like a Lemieux. Although I do not know this kid, I am aware that there are several players in the league with whom I would have a problem if I were to play. There are probably eight. Since I no longer play, I do not have a problem. They also changed the rules.
Who would you say, in your opinion, is Darren McCarty?
This kid has more talent and plays in the top minutes but I am a bit smarter because I do not make dumb decisions. Tom Wilson is my favorite. You have to realize that the boy is a top player, skates well, and he has a physical presence. But I do question his decisions sometimes. He’s a wonderful kid. I have always liked him. He is such a nice guy. Some guys get on the ice, and they have an alter-ego.