If there ever was a player Blues fans weren’t expecting - or clamoring - to hear from regarding their team, it’s Darren McCarty. The fifteen year veteran - all but two of his NHL seasons coming with the Detroit Red Wings - was a noted pest for Blues fans throughout the 1990s and 2000s. He added four Stanley Cup championships to his resume during those decades, scoring the Cup winner in 1997 and later on adding a natural hat trick to his resume in 2002 against Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche.
In 758 NHL games played, he racked up 1477 penalty minutes and was clearly unafraid to go to toe-to-toe with anyone.
It may seem odd that McCarty, after all of this time, is waxing poetic about his favorite Blues. As part of a long-ranging interview with Betway, McCarty discussed his Cups, the fact that Claude Lemieux was a turtle (something every fanbase can agree on, I think), and what NHL players he enjoyed playing with and against the most.
It’s always a good time when a NHL journeyman sits down to discuss their career, even former Red Wings. When guys are retired, they finally get to show their personality - which can lead to gems like this quote about Lemieux’s son, Brendan:
“The snapping turtle? ... To Brendan, I mean, what do you want? He’s a Lemieux, he plays like a Lemieux, you gotta treat him like a Lemieux.”
Can’t argue there.
McCarty’s all-time list is, unsurprisingly, a who’s who of former teammates. Former Red Wings Chris Osgood and Brendan Shanahan feature on that list - and of course, both of them are former Blues as well. Shanny was a fan favorite in the years he played here, between 1991-1995, before moving on to Detroit after being dealt by the Blues to the Hartford Whalers for Chris Pronger. Shanahan went on to win three Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, including one with former Blue Brett Hull.
Chris Osgood was... not a fan favorite in St. Louis, mainly due to the fact that he was a Red Wing before he arrived here. His two years as a member of the New York Islanders are often overlooked, as is the season and a half he spent in St. Louis. Osgood got the Blues to the playoffs each season he was with the team, but the Blues petered out in the quarterfinals both seasons. Osgood walked as a free agent before the 2004-2005 lockout, leaving the team to patch that hole with Patrick Lalime and Curtis Sanford. Osgood returned to Detroit to win another Stanley Cup in 2008; the less that’s said about the Blues’ tandem in 2005 the better.
When asked about naming his all-NHL team, it’s little wonder than McCarty brought up Shanahan and Osgood. He especially goes to bat for Osgood:
“I’d throw Ozzy (Osgood) in net. Listen, the biggest joke out there is the fact that there is even an argument that he’s not a Hall of Famer. When you’ve got 400 wins, you’ve backstopped two Cups and you’ve won a third as a backup, I mean to me it’s just the bias of the team in front of him.”
That could be - after all, in St. Louis, the Chris Osgood era is an afterthought in the never ending carousel of goaltending controversies. In Detroit? Three Cups.
Shanny’s a bit more of a slam-dunk if you want to talk who Blues fans will agree with. In three full, and one lockout-shortened, NHL seasons with the Blues, Shanny put up 156 goals and 150 assists in 277 games played, averaging 1.1 points a game during his tenure. Despite getting Chris Pronger in return, there were many Blues fans who were upset by the deal that sent Shanahan to Hartford. Luckily, the trade indirectly contributed to the Blues winning their first Stanley Cup, so most fans should be over it by now.