New kids on the block

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

Considering he's a heavily tattooed bruiser who spends his off-season fronting for a thrash band, starring on a unit heretofore dubbed the New Kids on the Block Line was sure to irk Darren McCarty.

However, after scoring the insurance marker in a dramatic 3-1 win against the team with which he spent the first decade of his career, surely nothing would bother him on this night.

"No, I don't like that one," said the 33-year-old mucker of the boy band monicker befitting his new trio that now includes fellow newcomers Tony Amonte and Daymond Langkow.

"Let me think about it because you can't just throw it out there. It's a serious thing."

Indeed, as a man who became known all over the NHL as one third of Detroit's famed Grind Line, the naming of lines is not something he takes lightly.

Nor are the Detroit Red Wings.

"It was nice to see Mac get a goal -- he talked about it all night and between the second and third periods," said Amonte, the game's second star with a goal and assist. "He wanted it bad."

So bad that he offered up a cash reward to the team kitty if the Flames could extend their winning streak to eight at the expense of his former club.

"You have 15 guys who you went to war with and won three Cups with -- I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that one bad," said McCarty of his former teammates.

"I went out to dinner with (former linemates) Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper last night and while we didn't talk hockey I did say, 'keep your heads up, because otherwise I'm going to get you.'"

Dominating the Wings with a forecheck you'd expect from a McCarty trio, the Flames responded to an early deficit when Amonte was sprung on a breakaway and finished by going five-hole past Manny Legace. From there, the freshly minted line provided plenty of energy and more than a few scoring chances at even-strength and on the powerplay.

However, it wasn't until two minutes into the third McCarty broke open a tight 2-1 game with a wraparound he buried on his backhand.

"Off the top of my head, it's probably top five," said the game's first star of his second goal of the year.

"Don't ask me what one through four are."

Initiating the forecheck with a glass-rattling hit on Mathieu Schneider as the Flames entered the zone, a nifty pass from Amonte behind the net set up a fist-pumping goal celebration that rivaled the mugging embrace between the two following Amonte's drought-breaker Saturday.

"There's no two guys who like to score goals like me and Tony," said McCarty, the gold-helmet recipient who skated the length of the ice to high-five Harvey the Hound when named first star.

"I like scoring goals, getting hits and winning hockey games -- all three were there tonight so I'm a pretty happy guy. I'm taking this helmet home."

Playing for more than 15 minutes, the trio pieced together in Phoenix did everything Darryl Sutter asked of them.

"Playing with Daymond and Tony you get a lot more chances and get to play more -- including some powerplay, which you relish -- so anything you can chip in is great," said McCarty, never one to hide his emotions.

"We're going to have to talk to him about (the goal)," grinned Kirk Maltby, following Detroit's fourth loss in 20 games.

"He was doing a lot of hootin' and hollerin' as he went past us."

Something the New Kids are famous for.


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