Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Free Press posts an excerpt from Darren McCarty’s memoir

A significant chunk of blog bandwidth of late has been dedicated to a pair of memoirs and a historical book, with Mark Howe's memoir, Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life Lived in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff's Original Six Dynasties: the Detroit Red Wings and Darren McCarty and Kevin Allen's My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star.

Both Duff and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa have offered reviews of McCarty's book, and Friday's overnight report has a "book corner's" worth of notes about all three books and their authors and co-authors (Jay Greenberg, who co-wrote Howe's memoir, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last month).

Today, the Detroit Free Press offers an set of excerpts from McCarty's memoir ahead of his local book tour, and it promises that Mondays set will include McCarty's description of his fight with Claude Lemieux.

I'll toss off a few lines of the tame part of this excerpt, and let you read the rest on your own:

The NHL lifestyle breaks down to working out, playing games and killing time between working out and playing games.

Most fans would guess that players fill the hours with drinking and carousing, and I certainly did my share of that. But do you really want to know the No. 1 leisure activity for the Red Wings on those 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup teams?

It was solving the USA Today crossword puzzles. I’m not making this crap up.

I remember Stu Grimson used to do crosswords in the mid-1990s. But the crossword phase started when the Wings signed Joey Kocur as a free agent a couple days after Christmas in 1996. Kocur had started is career with the Wings in 1984-85, and had then been dealt to the New York Rangers in 1991. They dealt him to Vancouver the previous March.

Kocur was brought in for his toughness and leadership, and the leadership was evident from the moment he walked in the room. Everyone in the league knew that Kocur was close with Steve Yzerman, and no opponent wanted to see first-hand what that friendship meant to Kocur. Yzerman always got plenty of room on the ice because no one wanted to have a meeting scheduled with Kocur.

All of a sudden Kocur’s interest in crosswords became the Wings’ interest in crosswords. We called Kocur “Papa” because he was the head of our house. He was the best I ever saw at crosswords. He could head to the toilet stall before practice and have the USA Today crossword completed when he was done doing his business.

Kocur also could complete the New York Times crossword puzzles during the week. He was amazing.

And McCarty (and Allen) continue at length...

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.