McCarty chipped in with a few goals and checked diligently during a solid rookie season with Detroit in 1993-94. McCarty continued to supply hard-nosed play in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season and helped the Wings reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1966.
In 1995-96, McCarty hit double figures in goals while helping Detroit set an NHL record with 62 wins. Although they were knocked out by the Colorado Avalanche in the semi-finals, the experience was invaluable to McCarty. In 1996-97, he scored a personal-high 49 points and was one of the club's best players when they won the Stanley Cup. His goal in the second period of game four stood up as the Cup-clincher which brought Motown its first Stanley Cup in 42 years. The next year, McCarty contributed eleven points as the Wings repeated as Cup winners.
McCarty assumed more of a leadership role and battled back from a hernia which plagued his season in 1999-00. As en entered the 2001-02 campaign, the Wings had all the tools to take another run at the Stanley Cup. With the signings of Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, they were looking as the odds on favorite to capture hockey's Holly Grail. Although with the off-season acquisitions, success was no guarantee. Since the late 1990s, McCarty has teamed with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby forming one of Detroit's most reliable units in the post season. After missing 20 games during the regular season, McCarty and the Wings were looking to avenge their misfortunes of 2001 and avenge they did. Detroit eliminated the defending Cup champions from Colorado in seven games and went on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in five.
The 2002-03 season would be a season to forget for McCarty and the Wings. Following a first place finish in the Western Conference during the regular season, McCarty and his teammates were eliminated in four straight games by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the first round of the 2003 playoffs.
A fan favorite for 11 seasons in Detroit, McCarty signed as a free-agent with the Calgary Flames in the summer of 2005. Over two seasons in Calgary, McCarty suffered a number of personal setbacks, not to mention he failed to register a point in his final season as a Flame. To start the 2007-08 season, he didn't even have a team, and was out of hockey until December 2007. McCarty and long-time friend Kris Draper met over lunch and talked about their lives, and Darren expressed interest in returning to hockey. When Kris asked him how serious he was about returning, McCarty vowed to make every effort possible to rejoin the Red Wings. Draper insisted that McCarty get back in shape, and set him up at CORE, a sports fitness facility he co-owns. Kris then agreed to arrange for a minor league contract with the Flint Generals of the International Hockey League, a team in which he has a financial stake. McCarty worked hard both on and off the ice, and in March 2008, he was summoned to join the Red Wings. In the playoffs that year, McCarty appeared in 18 games and helped the Red Wings to their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame
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