Darren McCarty improved his NHL fighting game with advice from Bob Probert.
Speaking to The Hockey Beast, the 4-time Stanley Cup Champion and Red Wings legend reveals what advice he got from “Probie” during his rookie season in 1993-94.
Darren McCarty came into the NHL as a fierce AHL fighter. 13 seasons later, he’d won 4 Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and proven himself as a legend.
McCarty grew up only 40 minutes across the border from Detroit. And getting the opportunity to play for his favorite team was huge. Once a Red Wing he was going to get to play with his idol Bob Probert.
“Probie” was from the same area as he was. McCarty quickly realized that the Red Wings needed somebody with the same style of play that he had himself.
“I felt that I was more of a player than just fighting and more valuable than that. I knew I had to fight my way into the league, that was my way in, so that was what I was gonna do. The goal was to play one year in the minors and fight as much as I can, prove that I could be that Robin to Probies Batman,” McCarty tells The Hockey Beast. “We were great friends and did a ton of stuff together, I learned a lot from Bob. He never knew where the line was as in crossing the line. But when he crossed the line he showed me where the line was so it seemed like I would always be at the end of the cliff but for some reason not fall over.”
McCarty wanted to emulate his game like Rick Tochett. And when he came to the Red Wings team with Probert being there, he quickly got some advice.
It was simple. It’s better to hit your opponent before they hit you.
“You do learn things. It’s more of how you protect yourself and fighting different guys. Probie showed me what you would do when you’re tied up, how to make two quick moves and how to get a different grip. We weren’t the same fighter. Probie’s going to stand there and get hit in a fight and then realize he’s in a fight. And the he’s going to want it to go forever and beat you up over time, McCarty tells The Hockey Beast. “I was more of a pugilist, more of a ‘I’m gonna set you up and I’m gonna grab you, but I’m gonna keep throwing and not stop moving’. I’m always moving.”
“Fighting isn’t about how many punches you can deliver, it’s about how many you can take. I tell people that if you can see the punch coming no matter how hard it is, you’ll survive,” McCarty says.
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