Winger unlikely role model for Red Wings

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PITTSBURGH --- Darren McCarty hit rock bottom two years ago because of a wicked cocktail of drinking, divorce and bankruptcy.

Detroit's Derek Meech (left) and Darren McCarty play fight during practice. McCarty has been a leader despite not playing.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Detroit's Derek Meech (left) and Darren McCarty play fight during practice. McCarty has been a leader despite not playing.

McCarty was out of hockey in November 2007, relegated to watching the Detroit Red Wings from the stands with his son. Motivated to get his life and career back, he made sobriety, family and hockey his priorities.

He started a comeback that led to him playing 17 playoff games last season for the Red Wings and winning his fourth Stanley Cup.

McCarty hasn't played once during these playoffs, but still has value to the organization because of the leadership he provides for Detroit's young players, who were his teammates for much of the regular season in the AHL.

"Who would've thunk it?" he asked.

RED WING STILL OUT: Detroit star Pavel Datsyuk did not play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, missing his sixth game in a row because of a foot injury.

The MVP finalist participated in the morning skate Thursday, then stayed on the ice afterward in an attempt to be ready to face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Datsyuk said his status would be determined after the pregame skate and it looked as if he was getting ready to play, skating and stretching during warmups. But he was scratched from the lineup.

MESS ON MARIO: It's not easy to impress Mark Messier , but Mario Lemieux has done it.

"As a player, he positioned himself as a leader, came here and turned the franchise around," Messier said. "And, now he's done it again as an owner."

If the Penguins win the Cup, Lemieux will become the first person to win NHL titles as a player and an owner.

ONE-TIMERS: Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin has a shot to be the first player to lead the NHL in points in both the regular season and postseason since Lemieux did it for the Penguins back in 1992.

Hall of famers Wayne Gretzky , Guy Lafleur and Phil Esposito are the only other players to pull off the feat since 1968.

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