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CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION

McCarty celebrates his first goal on Feb. 15.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After signing a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, right wing Darren McCarty was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins on a 14-day conditioning loan.

Since joining Grand Rapids on a professional tryout three weeks ago, McCarty has tallied four goals, three assists, 19 penalty minutes and an even rating in nine games with the AHL club. He provided one of the most memorable performances in Griffins history during his Van Andel Arena debut on Feb. 15, when he tallied his second career hat trick in a 6-3 win over Lake Erie. After scoring 5:53 into the first period, 2:17 into the second and 2:45 into the third, McCarty capped off his four-point evening – the first of his 16-year career – with an assist on Grand Rapids’ final goal.

“Darren has earned this opportunity,” said Detroit general manager Ken Holland. “He’s made great strides in the past several months and we wanted to give him the chance to continue in hopes he can contribute to the Red Wings once again.”

McCarty, 35, was one of Hockeytown’s most popular players from 1993-2004, helping the Red Wings capture the Stanley Cup in 2002, 1998 and 1997. Detroit’s second choice in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, he teamed with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby in the late 1990s on the famed Grind Line.

The Burnaby, British Columbia, native scored the Cup-clinching goal in Game 4 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers to give Detroit its first championship in 42 years. McCarty’s toughness defined the Red Wings’ once-bitter feud with the Colorado Avalanche, highlighted by his legendary brawls with Claude Lemieux.

During his 11 seasons and 643 regular season games with Detroit, McCarty accumulated 1,275 penalty minutes and 273 points (119-154—273), placing him 34th on the Red Wings’ all-time scoring chart. He also ranks 14th on Detroit’s all-time playoff scoring list with 45 points (20-25—45) and 194 PIM in 150 contests.

Following the 2004-05 lockout year, McCarty logged two campaigns with the Calgary Flames, giving him 286 points (126-160—286) and 1,450 PIM in 742 career NHL games. He missed the majority of last season while injured and began his comeback with the IHL’s Flint Generals in January.


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