D-MAC IS RELEASED BUT HE WILL AWAYS BE A DETROIT RED WING
This is the ugly part of the new NHL. Beyond the rule changes that should liven up the game, comes the harsh reality of player removal that should darken it.
Heroes are leaving. It hit us Tuesday following the release of 11-year veteran Darren McCarty for salary cap reasons. Money is a bigger consideration for teams and that includes the former salary heavy Wings. Now come tough decisions by owner Mike Ilitch and General Manager Ken Holland.
D-Mac is one of us. He was tough and willing to do anything the team asked of him. He is a Red Wing for life although he will play elsewhere this season. Even as he was being booted out the door he asked Holland to remember him down the road should a reunion make sense.
D-Mac's game no longer fits in. He is too slow and cannot provide the grit that made him so dangerous around the league. The Red Wings also know he is out of shape and his love for music has consumed him. It didn't make the decision to cut him any easier, but it just made more sense.
D-Mac remains one of my all-time favorite players. He cared about people and he cared about the fans of Detroit. We are not losing Darren McCarty. We simply are losing Darren McCarty the hockey player. Grinder will continue to grind in Detroit and the McCarty Cancer Institute will continue here also.
The man who brought us the historic butt kicking of Claude Lemieux in March 1997 is etched in Detroit sports lore. He was loved more than his talent on the ice. But his desire can never be matched.
D-Mac will be missed.