"That's not me, that's karma": Former NHL’er Darren McCarty details 1997's Fight Night at the Joe

It was a little over 25 years earlier when a night that won’t be forgotten occurred: the Fight Night at the Joe.

The bad blood in between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings had actually been boiling over for a long time. In truth, it goes back a complete year.

The 2 groups had actually fulfilled in the 1996 Western Conference Finals and in video game 6, Avs right-winger Claude Lemieux hit Red Wings center Kris Draper from behind, driving the latter’s face into the boards. On the play, Draper suffered a damaged jaw, a shattered cheek and an orbital bone that needed plastic surgery.

“It sounds like if you’ve ever been to a baseball game for opening day in 30-degree and the ball hits the back and you hear the crack of the bat, it was the crack of his face,” Darren McCarty informed Betway. “I’ll constantly bear in mind that noise due to the fact that I was right there.

“If Claude Lemieux would have apologized, if he would have shown remorse, yes, the hockey gods and the rules of the game would have played out, but probably not to the spectrum that it did, because he did not apologize.”

Despite the 2 groups having actually fulfilled 3 times in the following ’96-’97 season, the bad blood never ever boiled rather as it had on March 26, 1997.

Things were tough in the very first frame when Avs defenceman Brent Severyn and Red Wings rearguard Jamie Pushor dropped the mitts at the 4:45 mark, while Avs forward Rene Corbet and Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby combated at the 10:14 mark.

But it remained in the last minutes of the very first when things intensified into a significant brawl.

“Igor Larionov and Peter Forsberg decided that they’d had enough of each other, swatted each other around,” stated McCarty. “I understand Lemieux’s on the ice, Adam Foote grabs me, Shani (Brendan Shannahan) breaks his arms, I go browsing, fade the linesman and when I pop out from fading the linesman, whose face do I see there that I’ve seen a million times?

“I pulled back and I did not leave anything to be desired.”

McCarty captured Lemieux with a disastrous right-hand man, sending him to the ice rapidly. As the latter dropped to the ice, McCarty kept swinging ultimately pulling him towards the boards at the Red Wings bench, where he provided a couple of knees to Lemieux’s head for excellent step.

“I’m trying to beat the snot out of Lemieux while he’s on the ice, and I can’t right?” stated McCarty. “So I took him and I took his head and I smashed it as tough as I might into the boards. To this day, he’s got a four-inch mark on his forehead so when he searches in the mirror, it advises him not to be a moron. That’s not me, that’s karma.

“People say they call it the turtle photo and said he turtled, he didn’t turtle,” stated McCarty. “Claude even said he was knocked out. He said that’s the hardest he’s ever been hit.”

Through all of it, McCarty was just punished 4 minutes for roughing. And when it boiled down to the end of guideline, both groups were connected at 5.

Thirty-9 seconds into overtime, it was none besides McCarty scoring the game-winning objective.

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