Darren McCarty fought his way into the NHL. While being in the AHL, he realized that it was his ticket to the big leagues. And it wouldn’t take long before he squared off against the toughest guy he ever fought in the NHL.
Darren McCarty entered the league in the 1993-94 season, representing his childhood team, the Detroit Red Wings.
Even though his belief was that he’d skills that didn’t include dropping his gloves, which he would prove several times throughout his career, he was going to use his hands to give the team an extra push.
Since McCarty, who’s running the podcast “Grind Time with Darren McCarty”, had plenty of fighting going on in the AHL, he knew what to look out for.
In his opinion, fighting these people wasn’t about winning. It was about surviving.
“When you’re fighting in the NHL, you always want to know what hand the guy is or what he’s dangerous for,” McCarty says to The Hockey Beast. “But you didn’t mind fighting a guy that wasn’t going to end your career or knock you out . He’d maybe bruise you, he’d maybe cut you or maybe break your nose.”
“Then there are guys like the Tony Twists, the Dave Browns or the Joey Kocurs, the one-punch guys that can end your career, that can put their fist through your face. They throw so hard, you don’t want to get hit by that.”
Already in his rookie year, Darren McCarty would run into the player that was the toughest fighter he ever faced
On December 17th 1993, he ended up fighting Rangers Joey Kocur. And it wasn’t an easy task.
“I’m a lefty but I know he’s got a right that is the second most powerful thing in history behind Thor’s Hammer. So I know I’m not gonna be hit by this right hand,” McCarty says to the Hockey Beast. “So I square off right handed, which is the only time I’ve squared off right handed. We tie up, he throws a punch, I duck, he knocks my helmet off. We ended up in a headlock and we both had our heads on the ice. Then he looked at me and goes ‘you alright, kid?’. And I go ‘thanks for not killing me Mr. Kocur’.”
Watch the legendary fight against Joey Kocur via this link.
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