20 years later, Darren McCarty and Ken Kal reflect on Red Wings-Avalanche brawl

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 12:15:00-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) -- The vantage point for Darren McCarty has certainly changed over the last twenty years, but sweet revenge is a part of his hockey legend and a moment in time he - nor anyone else who witnessed the events of that day - will ever forget.

"Standing up here, looking back twenty years, what it meant, it's unbelievable," McCarty said Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. "I'm just proud and honored to have been a piece of the puzzle."

Red Wings radio broadcaster Ken Kal also had a different perspective on that bloody day. And with all the different scenes he's described over his long career, this one was certainly memorable.

"I just remember it was like a three-ring circus out there," recalled Kal. "You've got (Igor) Larionov battling with Peter Forsberg, tnext thing you know all hell breaks loose. You've got McCarty going after (Claude) Lemieux, and then (Brendan) Shanahan comes in and intercepts the goaltender (Patrick) Roy, everything's happening. And as a broadcaster, trying to describe everything was crazy. It was like we'd never seen anything like that."

During a visit to Detroit last week, former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman recalled his fondest moments at Joe Louis Arena as lifting multiple Stanley Cups above his head. But without the events of March 26, 1997, those championships may not have existed.

"What I remember most about that game is that the Red Wings could get to the top of the mountain, but after they beat the Avalanche in that game, the rest of the way was gravy for Detroit," said Kal. "That game turned everything around for the Wings."

"I was the one that was able to do it, and things that followed, now we can talk about," said McCarty. "The best part was scoring the winning goal, being able to beat them after that. You know, you don't do that in Detroit, and I was just in the position to do something that millions of others would've done."