I am starting to think the Red Wings may have decided it's not any fun to lead the league by a billion points and have started throwing games to create more of a competition. Fortunately, I don't even care, because:
DARREN McCARTY IS AWESOME.
A big group of friends and I ventured out to Grand Rapids last night to catch his home debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins just because we thought it would be awesome to see him - and to drink $1 Labatt's.
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.
I was sad not to see goalie Jimmy Howard or defenseman Kyle Quincey as they're both up with the Wings right now, but the game was absolutely amazing to be at - the team's been making a few moves lately and it was nice to see the new guys, the 10,062 people in the crowd reacted to the game at an NHL-caliber level, and McCarty added a level of excitement that will hopefully only escalate throughout his stay (although expecting him to top yesterday's performance might be asking a lot). Maybe the Wings could use him sooner than they thought.
For more pictures, including just about a billion of McCarty, this link should work.
(PS speaking of former Wings....really, Fedorov? Really?)