Remember the days of this photo? It might be reality again before too much longer.
Early in the month, former Red Wing Darren McCarty, who last played in the NHL for the Calgary Flames during the 05/06 season, announced his intentions to try to make a comeback, signing with the Flint Generals and playing ten games with them (during which he compiled 3 goals, 2 assists, 30 penalty minutes, 30 shots on goal, was in 2 fights and ended up with a -2 +/-).
I kept meaning to make it to one of the Generals' games against the local Kalamazoo Wings, but life got in the way. He played his last game as a General this past weekend - a game during which he laid down a beating on K-Wings forward Travis Granbois reminiscent of the McCarty of old, and even got himself ejected. About this incident, McCarty says:
Fortunately for me, my chances to see McCarty haven't yet come to an end - this afternoon he signed a 25 pro-game tryout with the Grand Rapids Griffins. McCarty is free to sign with any NHL team during the tryout, but he must do it by February 26th, the trade deadline. As to whether or not he'll make it back to the big show, Ken Holland has the following to say:
"He was chirping me a little bit earlier, trying to get under my skin. There's still a little bit of loony toons inside. I was a bit ornery tonight. He two-handed me. I'm not going to take that. I don't care how big you are. That's not part of the game.
"Maybe I was a little bit aggressive, but I've still got that in me."
"Now we'll make a determination if that's as far as he goes or if he has another level in him. [He has to show] that his speed is up to the pace of the game, and passion and focus."I don't know how good his chances are, or how he might fit into the Wings roster and help the team out down the home stretch, but regardless of whether or not he does make it, I think this is smart move - the Griffins have struggled lately and could use the veteran presence of McCarty in their locker room (something the Generals commented on as being useful during his brief stint with them) and it looks as though so far he's been able to make a substantial enough contribution to the team around him. Whether or not it's enough to reclaim the role he once had remains to be seen - but I'm still excited to see!
Your first chance to see him, Detroit fans? February 15th against (fittingly) Colorado's affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters. I'll be there!
(As for the Wings, they're up against Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow evening and - happily - Henrik Zetterberg should be back in the lineup. Hope you're ready, Tracy!)