I sat down with 4-time Stanley Cup Winner and 1/3 of the infamous “Grind Line” Darren McCarty to reminisce over the many great moments they had, meanwhile some of the memories that stuck with him most. “The Grind Line” consisted of Red Wings Legends Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Joe Kocur and Darren McCarty. The four of them combined for 16 Stanley Cups in their careers, meanwhile, have been a staple in Winged Wheeled History.
(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File)
3. 2008 Grind Line ReturnDarren McCarty.
“March of 2008 this was the comeback year.. After getting called up from Grand Rapids it was really special.. I will always have respect for Mike Babcock for this. Our first time playing together in four or five years, he started the Grind Line between the lockout and Calgary this was a very special moment for me, for us. It was great to battle one last time together.”
2. 2002 Red Wings’ Conference Finals vs Colorado Darren McCarty
“It probably was best series as far as production goes in the playoffs. I had four goals in the playoffs and they all came in that series but a funny story came along with that.
It was Friday I’m playing mini-sticks with my son Griffin before i went to the Hotel. We had Game 1 the next day meanwhile it was his birthday that following Monday he was turning six years old.
So I asked him ‘Hey dude, big game tomorrow but your birthday’s Monday, what do you want for your birthday?’ he replied with “Score me a goal Dad”.. So I immediately go into ‘Dad Mode’ knowingly that i can’t promise that saying..
‘whoa, whoa I’m a Grind Liner, I got seven goals all year.. You know we aren’t about the name on the back, we are about the crest out front..’
Right after i said that Griffin looked at me and said “Stevie would’ve said yes”.
The Irony of the whole situation was if you remember Game 1 of that series. I ended up scoring a natural Hat-Trick in the third period. After the game i was named First Star of the Game, so coming off the ice i see Griffin. I go up to him and say sorry son I couldn’t get you one… I got you three.”
1. Opening Face-off vs Flyers
This was probably really where it all started, it sort of set the tone, although we didn’t realize at the time. Going back to the Finals in 97′ there was a famous photo of me, fixing my elbow pad at the draw against the Legion of Doom with the Grind Line. Why I say that was the turning point was because we were on a mission. One of the greatest things about that series was Scotty Bowman and the team trusting us to go against their best players.
We faced Eric Lindros and held their line to one goal, which ending up right before i scored the Stanley Cup clinching goal. They later went on to be one of the most dominant lines in the league next year and we shut them down. It just goes to show that Defense wins championships and the Grind Line proved it.