McCarty scores hat trick in GR

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Darren McCarty scored a hat trick on Friday evening in his home debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Not only did he play a solid two-way game, the Griffins were selling $1 hot dogs and Labatt beer. Not too shabby.

Steph @ No Pun Intended got to see the game firsthand and you can view her photographs here including the one below.

Photo taken by Steph @ No Pun Intended

Here’s what she had to say about Darren’s play:

As it turns out, we were in for a surprise. The 35 year old trying to break back into the NHL decided to put on a show, scoring 5:53 into the first period, 2:17 into the second and 2:45 into the third for a hat trick that had the arena louder that I’ve ever heard it. Along with hats, a whole lot of $1 hot dogs made their way onto the ice, as did, at one point, a shoe. McCarty seemed extremely fit and conditioned, looked good all night long, and was obviously a huge factor in the game. Aside from the hat trick, he also added an assist, to record his first career four point night, and was named the first star of the game. The Griffins as a whole had a spectacular evening, in particular Adam Berkhoel in net and Jamie Tardif with a great first period fight, and they went on to win 6-3 over the Lake Erie Monsters.

The Grand Rapids Press wouldn’t be surprised to see McCarty on the Wings’ roster before the trade deadline. The article also reported that other NHL teams have expressed interest in McCarty.

Even before his homecoming weekend — after his hat trick Friday he was held scoreless in a 6-4 loss the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday but did record his first fight — McCarty was standing out on the Griffins.

He still looks a step slow at times — even McCarty will acknowledge that his conditioning needs a little more work — but he’s always in the right spot on the ice. He rarely makes a dumb play and still possesses the soft hands that helped him score 126 career NHL goals.

Suddenly, McCarty looks like a pretty good late-season addition for the Red Wings, especially if the team doesn’t make a trade before the Feb. 26 deadline.

I haven’t personally seen McCarty play since his return to hockey so I can’t say with any personal knowledge what the Wings should do. If he truly hasn’t lost his step and he would be a better defensive alternative to Aaron Downey, then I would be fine with the Wings signing McCarty. I’m a big McCarty fan and I’d love to see him back in the Detroit uniform. But before this losing streak, I would’ve passed on him this season. However, it wouldn’t hurt to put some more grit in the lineup at least until Dan Cleary can return from his fractured jaw injury. I am also a big Aaron Downey fan, who is a younger alternative, so I don’t want to see him lose his hard earned roster spot unless McCarty truly would be a better player for the team. I don’t want Downey to lose his roster spot because McCarty was a Detroit fan favorite back in the day.

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