With the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs right around the corner and with fans eager to see some of the game’s most skilled players do their thing in games that mean everything, one former Detroit Red Wings player and popular enforcer Darren McCarty knows how big the most memorable moments in playoff hockey can really be. McCarty recently spoke with Betway Insider about one of the greatest Stanley Cup-winning goals in the history of the NHL and walked through what was going on in his head at the time of the biggest goal in his career.
During an interview conducted by Andrew Berkshire, and in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Fight Night at the Joe — one of the most historic nights in because of an all-out brawl between Detroit and the Colorado Avalanche — McCarty fondly looked back at that Stanley Cup goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.
He made a fantastic and unexpected move that beat both defenseman Janne Niinimaa and goaltender Ron Hextall. During the game, the announcers suggested Hextall never would have assumed McCarty would have had the deke move he used in his bags of tricks and Berkshire told McCarty that the goal was on the same level as some of the stuff Mario Lemieux was doing at the time. McCarty said, “I can caveat this for you.”
He went on to explain:
“I remember the play, it was the end of the shift, Billy was changing, me the responsible grind-line right-winger went through the middle, took a pass from Tomas Sandstrom, left-winger, I look up and see there’s one defenseman there and my mentality, the Darren McCarty mentality is get to the red line, dump it in and get off.”
McCarty said he’d only ever beat a guy one-on-one his entire life and that was the time. He joked that the big man upstairs must have thought he was Lemieux because, at that moment, he remembers being surprised and thinking he had the defenseman beat. He said he saw an orange flash out of the corner of his eye and brought the puck to the other side of his body and then went to make a move on the goaltender. He said to himself, ‘please don’t miss the net’ and it went in. He said the first person he saw was Steve Yzerman who said “what the f— was that?”. Even today, when the two speak, Yzerman bugs him and says, “Thank God you don’t have to do it again.”
One of the reasons he was able to do it at the time was because of the faith his team and his coach had in him as a player. McCarty might have been considered a tough guy, but he became a much more well-rounded player in that series and those playoffs, and what he offered the Red Wings became an integral part of their success that season. He would go on to play another six seasons for the Red Wings before moving on to the Calgary Flames from 2005-to 2007. He returned to Detroit and played 16 more games for the Red Wings between 2007 and 2009 before retiring from the game.
McCarty Has An Insane Amount of Love and Respect For Scotty Bowman
That goal put the Red Wings up 2-0 and with the final score being 2-1, it became the game-winner and Stanley Cup-clinching goal. McCarty said with 11 seconds remaining in that game, head coach Scotty Bowman made sure he was out there for that goal. It was a defining moment in his hockey career.
McCarty also revealed that following Bowman’s retirement, the legendary coach came up to McCarty and said “Hey, D-Mac, I wanted to let you know, one of the things I regret the most is that I didn’t tell my players how much I appreciate ’em. You’re my second favourite right-winger ever to play for me next to Guy LaFleur.”
To see the entire video interview in full, you can click this link. The interview also discusses the rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche, what he thinks about Claude Lemieux and which current NHL player he sees plays a similar style of game to the one he did back in the day.
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