Dec 31, 2011; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Former Detroit Red Wings player Darren McCarty in watches the game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers during the first half at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

Former Grind Liner McCarty Writing Book


If you want to lay down a safe bet on the title of Darren McCarty’s upcoming autobiography then I’d say call your bookie and put a dime on “Grinder” because you will probably cover.

On the other hand, if you are looking to hedge your bet then might I suggest laying down a cool nickel on something a little more risky such as: “The Darren McCarty Story: My Grind Through The NHL, Rehab, And Recovery.”

It could be the disheartening realization that the only hockey I’ve watched on television this season was between the Moncton Wildcats and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but the news that McCarty, one of the most beloved yet troubled athletes in Detroit sports history, is writing a book has really lifted my spirits.


And honestly I can’t think of a hockey player on the planet with a taller tale to tell… well besides Mike Danton.

By now even the casual sports fan is likely aware both of McCarty’s on ice heroics and his personal struggles away from the rink.

We all remember the high point of Mac’s career.  It will be etched in the memory of every Red Wings fan forever.  In Game 4 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals McCarty took a feed from Tomas Sandstrom just outside the Wings’ blueline, and channeling his inner Pavel Datsyuk proceeded to disrobe both Flyers’ defenseman Janne Niinnima and goaltender Ron Hextall sliding the puck into the back of the net and delivering Detroit their first Stanley Cup in 42 seasons.

As career defining as that goal was for McCarty, his legend was already cemented in Detroit sports lore months earlier when he beat the Wings’ greatest nemesis (Claude Lemieux) to a bloody pulp during the infamous Fight Night At The Joe.

Unfortunately, McCarty’s off ice skirmishes with addiction, rehab, bankruptcy, and divorce are as well chronicled as his on ice successes.

Also, I’d be lying if I said the prospect of a firsthand account of Red Wing locker-room talk and R-rated accounts of life on the NHL road from a player who was right in the heart of the action doesn’t have me greatly intrigued.  In terms of tales of drunken Red Wing revelry, McCarty’s book has the potential to pick up right where Bob Probert’s left off.

Yet, McCarty’s memoir will be much more than simply a few good drinking stories.

Darren’s story is one that will resonate with all readers, hockey fan or not: a man who overcame his demons and came out the other end scarred but intact.

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