The next player that I'll be profiling will be Randy McKay, the type of player that I really enjoy watching. He was a guy with talent that had to fight his way to the NHL, and than was given a chance and responded well.. McKay would go on to win championships and become part of one of the best lines in Modern NHL history. An underrated fighter, an underrated goal scorer, this is a reflection (and early birthday present) upon the career of Randy McKay.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, on January 25, 1967, Hugh Randy McKay was a scrappy right-winger with ability to score and check. McKay starred in the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League with Lac St. Louis in 1983-84 and was chosen 113th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. After completing his four years with the Michigan Tech Huskies, the feisty winger spent most of his first two pro seasons with the AHL's Adirondack Red Wings.
McKay's first season with the Red Wings began during the 1989-1990 season and he started it off with a bang, taking on a very tough underrated guy in Terry Carkner. McKay landed a great right uppercut to start and a couple of minor shots while Carkner landed a couple of good lefts of his own. Probably a draw, a good start to a promising career! Here's the fight:
McKay would go on to fight John Kordic in a wild swinging affair. Kordic the veteran was landing with lefts while McKay the rookie was scoring with rights. Kordic was just too quick though and landed some better shots in a very spirited fight. Here's the clip:
McKay than went on to fight another veteran lefty in Al Secord and again went with the rights/lefts fight but had better results in this fight. Probably got the edge in the fight when Secord predictably went for the take down. McKay than fought Jocelyn Lemieux off a draw and Lemieux did well knocking the rookie to the ice with a couple of hard rights. McKay wasn't about to quit though and got back up and took the fight to Lemieux landing some nice right uppercuts and crosses, while Lemieux doesn't look to be as interested in fighting. Slight edge to McKay, but I wouldn't argue a draw that much. The next night McKay took on Secord again in a rematch from their previous meeting but it wasn't much as Secord went to his knees quickly. Draw.
McKay would start the season off in Detroit this year and although I rarely show or talk about much pre-season stuff during these reviews, I'd like to bring up a fight from pre-season that year between McKay and Mike Peluso. As many will know, McKay and Peluso would go on to form 2/3 of what would be one of the more famous lines of the Modern Era of hockey - the "Crash Line." But that was a few years away, and there was no love lost between them this day. Both buys were tossing bombs in this wide open fight. Here's the clip:
McKay wasn't picking his spots in his first full season either, he took on a legend in Marty McSorley and lost that fight, clip is here:
McKay went on to have a good draw with big Robert Dirk and a pretty good tilt with Rod Buskas before taking on "The Grim Reaper" Stu Grimson in a good fight. Both guys were leery of each other and it was more methodical fighting, with each guy careful not to give much away. McKay landed the better shots to take the decision and drew blood on Grimson, here's the clip:
McKay would go on to easily dispose of Glen Featherstone before having a 3 fight game against the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg. You have to remember that during this time period, this was when Bob Probert was having his difficulties with the law. Probert was not allowed inside Canada at the time (even though he was a Canadian citizen!), and didn't play in any games in Canada. McKay was being groomed as a successor for Probert and therefore had to assume some of the heavy lifting in the fight department for the Red Wings. In the 3 fight game, McKay fought Craig Duncanson twice and dominated both fights easily. In the third fight of the evening, Gord Donnelly went after McKay to "send a message" and took it to him pretty good. Give McKay credit, though visibly tired he tried to give Donnelly as much as he could. A solid night for McKay! Clips are online but I'm only posting the Donnelly fight here:
McKay went on to have a nothing wrestling match with Chris Chelios and a fun fight with Neil Wilkinson who ended up dumping into the penalty box area, before taking on Jeff Beukeboom twice in a 4 day period. The first fight was a beauty. Beukeboom started off strong, but McKay took a few shots, set himself up and teed off on Beukeboom, clearly hurting him. In the second fight it was closer and both guys landed some good punches and Beukeboom didn't leave himself wide open for a counter punch. Here's the first fight:
McKay went on to fight Graeme Townshend to an uninspired draw and had a win over Sergio Momesso before taking on future teammate Ken Daneyko. They had been battling throughout the game and the shift before they took roughing minors so the stage was set for them to go, and they didn't disappoint. Both guys were firing rapid punches, Daneyko going left and McKay throwing rights, and there was no holding back. I'd give maybe the slightest of decisions to McKay for landing better but I can see a draw. By the way, this just happened to be the game that Probert vs Crowder 2 and 3 happened to take place. Quite an atmosphere in the building that night! Here's the clip:
McKay's next fight was another barn burner against Basil McRae. What a great scrap to watch, McKay simply dominated McRae from start to finish. Both guys threw a ton of punches but McKay gets the clear decision. Here's the clip:
McKay would go on to have a couple of draws with Mick Vukota and Randy Ladouceur before taking a loss to the aforementioned Mike Peluso. McKay would end his career in Detroit with 3 fights in one game against the St Louis Blues, taking on Darrin Kimble, Garth Butcher and Kelly Chase respectively. Here are the clips from that wild playoff game:
During the off-season the Detroit Red Wings signed tough guy Troy Crowder to a contract as a restricted free agent. New Jersey was seeking Bob Probert as compensation but instead were awarded Randy McKay and Dave Barr. Here's an article about that situation and McKay: (and I know I'm getting a little ahead of myself but it's relevant).
By ALEX YANNIS
Published: January 12, 1992
The contributions of Dave Barr and Randy McKay to the Devils' success so far this season have made New Jersey a winner in its loss of the free agent Troy Crowder to Detroit last summer.
Because Crowder was the Devils' most effective enforcer last season, the Devils asked that the Red Wings provide Bob Probert, one of the most feared fighters in the National Hockey League, as compensation. But the arbitrator in the matter, Judge Edward Houston of Ottawa, chose Detroit's proposal, Barr and McKay.
Crowder has been of no use to Detroit, because a back injury has limited his contribution to a total of three games, with no points. Beyond Expectations
Going into the game here tonight against Toronto (11-28-5), Barr and McKay had played a total of 66 games for the Devils (21-14-6) and had contributed in more ways than the team had expected they would.
McKay has fulfilled Crowder's role, being the on-ice policeman of anyone with ideas of picking on the Devils. He leads the team in penalty minutes, as he should, and going into the game with the Maple Leafs had four goals and five assists, besides contributing creditable defensive play
"He's one of the guys I like," said Tom McVie, the Devils' coach, about the 24-year-old McKay, who spent a good part of three years in the American Hockey League, which McVie is so familiar with.
"He's a tough guy and plays the way I like," McVie said about McKay, who has played every New Jersey game this season. "Sure, he fights, but he forechecks and plays hard all the time."
McKay's bump-and-grind style is an essential ingredient on a team with an abundance of finesse players. His defensive attributes are beginning to surface more and more and McVie has been using him as the right wing on the checking line. New Outlook for McKay
"I feel like I'm starting over," McKay said. "As soon as I got here, everyone appreciated what I do and made feel comfortable. I feel that I'm more than the one-dimensional player that I was used for in Detroit."
McKay was used by the Red Wings as the preliminary to Probert's main event and had only four goals in 83 games over three seasons with Detroit.
McKay's first fight in the Regular season as a Devil was against his future linemate Peluso again and again he took a win. Had a nice back and forth fight with Alan May that I called a draw before taking on "the Missing Link" Link Gaetz, and he got TAGGED in this fight. Gaetz lands what can only be described as one of the nicest punches in the history of hockey flush to McKay's face and sends him to the ice. Here's the clip:
McKay would go on to have a two fight game against Louie DeBrusk. The first fight wasn't much, just some grappling and McKay landed a couple of shots to take a slight decision. The Second fight was much better as McKay managed to get free of DeBrusk's grip and dropped DeBrusk with some solid shots. TKO win for McKay.
McKay went on to fight Tony Horacek and McKay put a beating on Horacek who eventually went for the takedown after eating a few shots. Here's the clip:
McKay's went on to fight some elite competition in Ken Baumgartner and he and the Bomber had a pretty entertaining fight. I thought McKay did enough to get a slight edge here, but Bomber did land a couple after the linesmen got in, you decide, here's the clip:
Had another war with another left handed fighter in Dan Kordic and came out on top. No description necessary other than it was a great fight, clip is here:
McKay went on to have a great toe to toe exchange with Ronnie Stern (again another guy throwing lefts while McKay throws rights) but took the loss in the fight. McKay than had a 3 fight game against the Minnesota North Stars that I've never been able to find any footage on - McKay fought Basil McRae, Shane Churla and Derian Hatcher that night but I've never seen any footage. If anyone has the footage, or knows the results, etc... I'd love to hear from you. Thanks in advance!
McKay went on to fight McSorley again and this time he simply threw a few than let Marty tire himself out jockeying for position. Not much of a fight, draw. Had a couple of really uninterested showings against Kevin Haller and Mike Lalor before taking on another powerforward in Wendel Clark. Both guys stayed in tight, before opening up a bit later. Neither guy with an advantage, draw. Here's the clip:
McKay would go on to have a two fight game against the St Louis Blues, drawing with Dave Mackey and beating Garth Butcher, before having another two fight game against Vancouver where he drew with Robert Dirk and than beat the piss out of Dana Murzyn (as many were prone to do), and in yet another two fight game, this time against the Chicago Blackhawks, McKay would take a loss to his future linemate Peluso before beating up a very game Cam Russell in an entertaining slew of games! McKay went on to beat Enrico Ciccone and Alan May before losing a decision to Gino Odjick and finished the season with a decision over Grant Jennings in a great fight.
McKay was also involved in the infamous brawl after the game between the Rangers and Devils. Here's a story on the brawl:
EAST RUTHERFORD, Apr. 29— The game was over. The Devils had beaten the Rangers, 5-3, in Game 6 tonight at Byrne Meadowlands Arena, but the brawl and the ill will would not end. The fists and then the recriminations were everywhere, from the red line to the locker room.
"We have gotten to the point," said Mike Gartner, "where these two teams really don't like each other."
The bench-clearing episode had begun with the final buzzer and a celebratory throng around Devils goaltender Chris Terreri.
Somehow, Joe Kocur and Claude Vilgrain started tangling, and then the fight kept expanding. Jay Wells, Adam Graves and Tie Domi all wanted a piece of Claude Lemieux. Domi's war spilled into the penalty box as he wrestled with Scott Stevens while game officials were trying to break things up. 'I Didn't Start Anything'
"I had three guys and a linesman on me," Domi said. "I didn't start anything. It's my job to protect my guys out there."
It was a messy ending, with nasty feelings all around and possible suspensions ahead for a couple of players. An angry Lemieux charged that Ranger Coach Roger Neilson had instigated the brawl with his last-minute lineup and charged that Mark Messier had been guilty of cheap shots throughout the series.
"We know his history," Lemieux said, an apparent reference to Neilson's tendency to recruit and play enforcers. "I'm not surprised. And the referee lost control of it."
If this brawl had been a message, delivered by the Rangers to the Devils, Neilson denied it. The Ranger coach had sent out Kocur and Domi on the last shift but insisted that was simply a response, not a call to arms. A League Decision
"Who did they have on the ice?" Neilson asked, referring to tough guys Randy McKay and Laurie Boschman. "It was just a massive scrum. Nothing much happened, actually."
That will be for the league to decide, after viewing tapes and discussing the incident with officials. Referee Denis Morel believed the Rangers were more culpable, handing out 73 minutes in penalties to Rangers players compared with 45 minutes to the Devils. Jeff Beukeboom received 29 minutes by himself, including a spearing penalty and a game misconduct. Beukeboom, a rugged defenseman whom the Rangers cannot afford to lose for Game 7, is in the greatest danger of receiving a suspension.
Regardless of the disciplinary decision, it is clear now that each side hates the ice the other skates upon.
"I've played for 12 years, and I've never seen a playoff series won or lost in the newspaper," Messier said. "So I'm not going to comment on anything that Lemieux said."
As the series heads for Game 7 Friday night at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers were just hoping that the Devils were mad enough at them to lose their heads.
"At this point," Gartner said, "whichever team remains more disciplined will win. We can't start taking stupid penalties. There have been a lot of cheap shots on both sides."
For Domi, in the middle of things as always, it had been another strange night. His dream became Stanley Cup reality when he scored a first-period goal, but he did not ride his stick on the ice in triumph. He did not roll his arms at a hypothetical speedbag. He did not put on an imaginary heavyweight belt. He did not even bother to taunt the Devil bench. He was not celebrating afterward, either. 'I Can't Be Happy'
"I can't be happy," he said. "We lost."
This had been another bad night all around for the Rangers, who have never won a Game 7 in their speckled playoff history. An embarrassing play by Messier had delivered the opening goal to the Devils. The Rangers couldn't hold a 2-1 lead after it fell into their lap off the stick of Domi. Line changes became 3-on-1 adventures. Mike Richter was again ordinary in goal. Joe Cirella's penalty off the puck in the final minutes killed any hope for a comeback.
"We're heading back to our building now," Gartner said. "We've got to play like someone who's cornered."
And here's the clip:
Very solid first year for the Devils, and along the way McKay managed to score 17 goals! Truly he had arrived in the NHL!
McKay started the season off with a bang, taking on Cam Russell in a quick fight, landing some hard shots to take the decision. Here's the clip:
Rich Pilon would be up next and it looked promising as McKay was able to rip his helmet off and I was praying he'd beat the piss out of him but the weasel Pilon managed to put on the seatbelt firmly until Kevin Collins got there to make the save. Draw, but a loss for fight fans who disliked Pilon. The next guy that McKay would face would be Peluso again, and again they put on a great show. Both guys landed some hard shots in a nice back and forth fight. I can't score it anything but a draw. McKay went on to fight Alan May out of a scrum and really hurt May in this one. McKay landed two beauty hard right uppercuts and May wasn't feeling anxious about eating his after dinner meal, he looked to be swimming to me. TKO win McKay, clip is here:
McKay would go on to beat Stewart Gavin and than took a loss to Basil McRae who fought more smartly than in their last fight. This time McKay was swinging wildly while McRae was more patient and accurate and he tagged McKay with a shot and took the decision. McKay than took on Rob Ray and although I was expecting a barn burner, it didn't materialize as neither guy did anything or seemed interested. Draw. McKay than went on to have a two fight game against the Philadelphia Flyers taking on Terry Carkner and Josef Beranek. The Carkner fight happened during a commercial break so I never got to see the entire fight thus I can't give a decision, but the Beranek fight as you can expect, was a one sided beating by McKay. Not sure what he did to piss off McKay, but McKay went after him hard and clearly tells him to Fuck Off on his way to the box. Here's the clip:
McKay would go on to fight Mike Peluso ONCE AGAIN, and this time Peluso was able to take the decision, landing a few more punches. McKay than tried to fight Adam Burt but Burt fell almost immediately and nothing really got going. Later on in that game, Gentleman Jim McKenzie and McKay introduced themselves to each other and it was a great fight. McKenzie started off with a bang, catching McKay with some beauty lefts. McKay hung in there though and came back strong with some big rights that had some jam behind them. McKenzie landed a couple more light shots, while McKay also scored some glancing blows. Win McKenzie in a great fight. Clip is here:
McKay went on to fight Louie DeBrusk again and DeBrusk landed a couple of weak punches before the zebras came piling into the fray uninvited and clearly before the fight was ready to stop. Can't really rate that. Had a very quick fight with Paul Kruse off a faceoff, both guys were throwing quick shots and than as McKay was slightly off balance, Kruse punches McKay's shoulder pad and knocks him off balance. Draw. McKay's next fight would be against Dave Brown and this was a beauty. McKay always seemed to me to fight an inordinate amount of left handed fighters and do well against them, and when Brown went after him, he got inside quickly. Than McKay was able to get some clearance and nailed Brown with a couple of rights, got the jersey over Brown's head and smoked him with 3-4 hard rights which put Brown to the ice and drew blood. Brown got up and tried to get at McKay over the linesmen but didn't land anything significant. Great showing for McKay with the TKO over Dave Brown who was clearly hurt. McKay than went on to have a draw in a shit fight with Dody Wood before taking on Brad May in a beauty scrap. Here's the clip:
Another very solid year for McKay!!!
McKay started the season off with a bang, beating the piss out of Keith Acton who just buried his head and tried to wait out the storm. McKay would than go on to have a nice long scrap with Enrico Ciccone and take the slight decision in a close fight. Took a decision over Bob McGill before drawing with the "Bird Dog" Greg Smyth in a really entertaining fight, before beating Jason Bowen. McKay would than fight Mike Hartman in a wild sloppy fight with both guys throwing big shots. Both guys landed shots, with McKay landing more and Hartman landing harder. I'd give the nod to McKay, here's a clip of the fight:
McKay went on to take a decision over Doug Zmolek before hooking up with Tony Twist. They fought off a draw and Twist landed a good shot to start things off, but McKay came back after some grappling to land one good right himself and another that may or may not have connected. They grappled some more and it was over. Not a great fight, I called it a draw. McKay's next fight was against Lyle Odelein and this wasn't a great one either. Odelein did land one good right and than went down and McKay landed a shot while he was down, probably another draw, slight edge Odelein. Twist and McKay would reacquaint themselves again and this time their fight was even worse as Twist basically lost his balance and neither guy did anything. Draw. McKay gave himself an early Xmas present against the Leafs though and beat up Drake Berehowsky behind the net, before taking on Mike Hartman on Boxing Day (in Canada), December 26th. McKay/Hartman two wasn't quite as good as Probert/Domi 2, but McKay was protecting Bernie Nichols and issued the beating. Here's the clip:
McKay went on to have an uninspired draw with Dean Chynoweth after Chynoweth came to the aid of Darius Kaspairitis whom McKay was roughing up. Nothing fight, draw. McKay than took on Craig Berube out of a scrum and Berube of the fast hands landed a couple of shots and McKay went down, have to give the win to Berube. McKay than fought Shane Churla and I thought this would be a war with the buzzsaw but it never developed. Mostly just grappling for position, in a shitty draw. Same thing in his next fight against Ray, just didn't get going and disappointed many fight fans with a nothing fight. Draw. Cam Russell was just what the doctor ordered though to get back to good graces and McKay pumped him again to take the decision and back into the win column. Darren McCarty was next up on McKay's dance card and this was another great scrap. Both guys were throwing hard, here's the clip, I called it a draw:
McKay went on to beat David MacKey once again before taking on Rudy Poeschek. Their fight started out like it was going to be a great one with both landing hard shots than they went in to defense first mode with lots of grappling and no punches for a draw. Had a quick fight with Paul Kruse again along the boards and this wasn't much as neither guy really got started, draw in this one as well. Had a great fight with Mark Janssens along the boards at the end of a period, McKay looks like a bulldog in this one, probably a draw, maybe edge to McKay. Here's the clip:
McKay went on to beat Dave Reid before hammering Rob Ray after Ray him him in the face with his stick and bloodied him badly. McKay jumped Ray and hit him with a couple of rights before the linesmen pulled him out of there. Wasn't much but it was interesting because it happened in the playoffs.
McKay's final fight of the year was in the playoffs against Brent Hughes and it was a great playoff fight. Hughes is mocked a lot but he gave it everything he had in this one, keeping it close until McKay came on to take the win. Here's the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCINDIuoSqU
McKay started the season off with a great fight with Mark Janssens again. This time Janssens landed the slightly better shots to take the decision in a close fight. McKay's next fight would be against Nick Kypreos and he just destroyed him for most of the fight. This was about as one sided of a beating as you'll see in a hockey fight, and Kypreos was pretty marked up after the fight. Had another go with Craig Berube and it wasn't much, mostly just grappling between two veterans, draw. McKay would than fight Troy Loney and took the decision in this fight as well, landing a couple of hard rights. Had a sloppy fight with Enrico Ciccone next and neither guy did much in a draw. Finished off the season with a fight against Turner Stevenson, pretty even fight until Stevenson jerseys McKay and lands a good right which ends up cutting McKay. Not a great year fight wise, but McKay and the Devils did end up winning the Stanley Cup that year!
Here's a couple of articles which talk about McKay, from that playoff run:
The Devils have no players who match the caliber of Boston's Ray Bourque or Cam Neely or even Adam Oates, but they have a secret weapon that few teams in the league possess. They have a fourth line that is truly instrumental to the team's success.
On other teams in the National Hockey League, the fourth line gets a shift here and there in the first period, goes out to instigate a fight or two -- also in the early parts of the game -- and then usually disappears in the third period of a tight game.
But that is not the case with the Devils. Mike Peluso, Bobby Holik and Randy McKay, who have comprised the fourth line for the Devils since Jacques Lemaire became the coach last season, play as much as anyone else on the team. The three have enjoyed so much success this season that they will almost certainly be a major factor in the first-round playoff match against the Bruins that begins Sunday afternoon in Boston Garden.
Actually, the line combination of Peluso-Holik-McKay (from left to right) has done so well that some refuse to characterize the trio as a fourth line. Lemaire certainly never does.
"How can you call them the fourth line," Lemaire asked, "when some nights they play more than the first line?"
Peluso, Holik and McKay have not only played more than the first line in numerous games this season, they have also produced more than the so-called first line in a number of games. More important, they have been the only combination that has consistently provided the spark necessary for success.
The three players will go into the opening game of the series with a total of 17 goals, 43 points and a plus-24 in goal differential, meaning that they have been on the ice for 24 more goals than they have allowed.
Peluso, Holik and McKay have drawn raves from their teammates all season because they have gone beyond the line of duty by contributing in ways no one expects from a fourth line. Holik has two game-winning goals and Peluso has one.
"Fourth lines don't do the kinds of things we do for the team," Peluso said. "Other teams have a fourth line. We don't really have a fourth line."
Peluso, Holik and McKay played well together last season, but it's clear they have matured since then. The fact that they are very good friends off the ice has contributed a great deal to their chemistry on the ice. They play with gusto and work and fight.
All three are over 6 feet 2 inches and weigh more than 200 pounds. All three are ferocious hitters and forecheckers, and Peluso and McKay are also the team's most accomplished pugilists.
They spread fear when they step on the ice because they are more than bangers and grinders. They have cultivated their skills under Lemaire's tutelage, but what Lemaire has most done for them is to instill confidence. As a result, the three have been having fun on and off the ice.
"When you play well on the ice, you're friends off the ice," Lemaire said. "This line is a big plus for us. It's a big factor when you play four lines, especially in the playoffs, when the intensity is high and you play every other day."
A number of observers are giving the edge to the Devils in the series based primarily on the strength of Peluso, Holik and McKay. They work relentlessly. They deliver checks that wear out opponents. They have never been a liability to the team. Peluso, in particular, has set a standard for the team. He is always the first to the rink for practices and games and the last to leave.
And he looks for ways to fire up his teammates. Much of the time he does it with his fists, and with antics after a fight that may seem disrespectful to opponents.
"I don't mean to do that," Peluso said of his behavior. "I just get so much energy and enthusiasm after a fight. I apologize for any disrespect. I don't want people to take it the wrong way."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.— Think of the lower peninsula of the state of Michigan, the part that looks on the map like a big, left-handed mitten. Imagine this mitten clenched into a fist as big as the Joe Louis monument that stands in downtown Detroit, down the street from Joe Louis Arena.
Now think about Randy McKay, who played college hockey in Michigan, married a woman from Michigan, bought a house in Michigan and teaches at a hockey school in Michigan.
When McKay began his National Hockey League career in Michigan during the 1988-89 season as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, he was valued most for the use of his fists.
He was an understudy to Bob Probert, Detroit's fighting master. Along with Joe Kocur, they were one-dimensional tough guys, dishing out a menu of knuckle sandwiches.
But McKay came to the Devils four seasons ago because Detroit got greedy for goons. The Wings signed Troy Crowder from the Devils, impressed that he had beaten Probert in a fight. McKay was part of the compensation package.
According to McKay's father, Hugh, the Red Wing owner Mike Ilitch told Randy that he wouldn't be part of the compensation package.
"Ilitch told him, 'Don't worry about the rumors, you'd never leave,' " Hugh McKay recalled. He said his son "was devastated" when he got the news.
But he got over it. As often happens in sports, things worked out for the better. McKay gradually developed into a reliable checking wing, working the right side on the Crash Line with Bobby Holik in the middle and Mike Peluso on the left.
Last night, in a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers that clinched the Eastern Conference finals in jubilant Byrne Meadowlands Arena, McKay scored the winning goal and earned first-star honors.
He finished the six-game series with the most goals for his team (four) and the most total points (seven). And he will return to Michigan and Joe Louis Arena this Saturday night when the Devils and the Red Wings open the Stanley Cup finals.
"Going away was tough," Randy McKay said, recalling his departure from the Red Wings, "but it gave me one thing I didn't have in Detroit. It gave me a spot to play. In Detroit, I was always struggling to get in the lineup."
In the Devils' lineup, he's a fixture. When he's out with injury, the team sags. Fighting has become almost obsolete in the playoffs, but McKay has plenty of other things to do these days.
He wore the letter 'A' on the front of his uniform jersey last night to show he is an alternate captain, replacing the injured Bruce Driver. He spends some time on the power play, a sign that his coach appreciates the multiple uses for his hands.
Peluso said McKay is "the unsung hero of this team."
"He's real confident with the puck right now," Peluso said. "So we try to get it in to him down low."
That is sort of what happened on last night's winning goal, at 11 minutes 58 seconds of the second period. With the Devils leading by 2-1, Craig MacTavish of Philadelphia broke down the right wing on a three-on-two rush.
When MacTavish's slap shot was blocked by Shawn Chambers, the puck went to Holik, who dashed up the left side of the ice on a two-on-one break. He put a pass under the diving Kevin Haller to McKay, who pushed it into the net past goalie Ron Hextall.
Earlier this spring, McKay scored a game-winner against Boston. Playing in 15 of the team's 16 playoff games so far, McKay has 11 points on 7 goals and 4 assists, fifth over all on the team.
Holik said that when the line first came together last season, "all we did was bang and crash."
"Eventually, we found out we had more to offer, and they joined me with a little finesse," Holik said. "We made some passes. We scored some goals."
He called McKay "a very tough man, a hard-working player, a gritty player who never gives up, a necessary part of the team."
"I love playing with him," Holik said. "He always gives you his very best."
In the happy locker room last night, Hugh McKay carried his camera with him, taking pictures of his son, of the team owner John McMullen, of New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. He mentioned that his son is a man of few words, which Randy proved during interviews.
McKay said the team has "one more step to go" and that he hopes "the puck keeps following me around." When someone asked him what emotions were going through him at the moment, he said it was "hard to explain."
"A chill goes through your body," he said. "Goose bumps on your back."
Hugh McKay wondered aloud about his son's hockey school in Michigan.
"This summer," he said, "he probably won't have much time to help out."
McKay started the season off with a long fight with Donald Brashear, Brashear getting the decision, here's the clip:
McKay than went on to beat Dody Wood, here's the clip:
McKay would go on to have a decent scrap with Paul Kruse again. Another close one between these two which happened along the boards. Both guys were in tight but were landing shots, probably a draw. McKay would than go on to fight Darren Langdon, while at the same time Joe Kocur and Reid Simpson were fighting. Here's the clip of that:
Later that game McKay took on Jeff Beukeboom after Beukeboom came in to stick up for Ray Ferraro, here's that clip:
McKay went on to fight Brashear again and Brashear did his thing and got the win... Although after McKay landed a big right uppercut Brashear may have been stunned as he basically stopped fighting. Hard to say. McKay than took on Grant Jennings and it didn't look like much would happen but eventually McKay seemed to get angry and came on hard, and landed some big shots to take the win. McKay would go on to take a loss to Zmolek, draw with Janssens again, before taking on Dennis Vial in an absolute beauty. Pretty even fight until Vial lost the jersey and tagged McKay with some shots. Here's a clip:
McKay would go on to really take it to Rob DiMaio in a quick fight to get the win, he really tagged DiMaio with some shots. McKay than tried Paul Laus and it didn't go well for McKay! McKay threw a couple of rights that missed before Laus found his range, and smoked McKay with a big right uppercut that put him down hard. TKO win for Paul Laus.
Tough year for McKay and the Devils who went from being Stanley Cup Champions to not making the playoffs.
McKay started the season off with a decent scrap with Jamie Pushor. It was a pretty solid fight, both guys landing shot shots, I called it a draw. McKay than went on to fight Stu Grimson and in the beginning McKay kept it close, but as the fight went on Grimson got his arm out of his jersey, landed some shots and scored the easy win. Here's the clip:
McKay's next action would be in the middle of a linebrawl against the Bruins, taking on Dean Chywoneth. Here's the clip:
McKay went on to fight Craig Berube and Berube landed the only real shots in the fight to take the decision. McKay's next fight would be against Jamie Allison and it was a pretty good toe to toe exchange. Both guys landed some good punches, veteran vs rookie, I called it a draw. Here's the fight:
McKay would go on from there to beat Bob Boughner, draw with Cam Russell and take a loss to a young Eric Cairns who took it to him pretty good. McKay than had a series of shitty efforts against Denny Lambert, Tie Domi and Paul Kruse that were mostly just wrestling matches. Disappointing efforts for sure, but he had a pretty decent fight with Langdon again later on, Langdon really catching McKay with a couple of solid straight lefts. Here's the clip:
McKay started the season off with a boring fight against Craig Berube. Neither guy seemed to want to punch much and they just wrestled. Draw in a crapper. Took a decision over Dan Lacroix in a fight where there was a stick caught between them for the majority of the scrap! Never saw that really happen before! McKay than went after Brad May after May kind of gave him a shot along the boards. McKay didn't give him any chance and unloaded a few shots before May could get set - something May was known to do himself. Here's the clip:
McKay than fought Zdeno Chara but that wasn't much before taking on Darren Langdon again. Langdon again gave McKay fits and took the decision. Here's the clip:
McKay would go on to beat Jean Yves Leroux and edge Paul Laus to finish off the season.
McKay was really starting to slow down in the fighting department at this point and was playing through a bunch of nagging injuries. McKay's first fight was against Igor Ulanov but it wasn't much and there was a bunch of interference, so I can only call it a draw. McKay went on to have a two fight game against Brendan Witt. The first fight was from a battle in front of the net and it was over quickly but clearly nothing was satisfied because after they served their penalties they met up at first opportunity and had a really good scrap. Here's the clip:
McKay would go on to have a couple of yawners against Jason Strudwick and Chris Tamer before ending the season with wins over Doug Zmolek and Steve Halko.
McKay started the season off with another boring draw against Chris Tamer, before being edged out by Nolan Pratt in another not great fight. McKay's next fight would be against Luke Richardson and it was kind of weird - McKay pushes Richardson who immediately drops the gloves and starts firing punches while McKay leaves his own on. Not sure if he was just trying to draw a penalty or didn't realize Luke would fight him, but Richardson lands a bunch before McKay gets his mitts off and lands one on the ice. Clip is here:
McKay would go on to fight Tie Domi again, and Domi really got the best of this fight, dropping McKay with a couple of hard lefts, here is the clip:
McKay finished the season with a fight against Keith Primeau in the playoffs, and the Devils and McKay would go on win the Stanley Cup again.
McKay would be part of history this year as he and teammate John Madden each scored 4 goals in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Here's an article about the amazing accomplishment:
The Devils accomplished something tonight that had not happened in a National Hockey League game in 78 years: two of their players, Randy McKay and John Madden, scored four goals each in a 9-0 trouncing of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.
''It was pretty amazing, that's for sure,'' Martin Brodeur, who earned his first shutout of the season and the 43rd of his career, said of the accomplishment. ''It was amazing to be ahead by so many goals and see our defense not relax even for a minute.''
The last time two players scored four goals in a game was Jan. 14, 1922, when Odie Cleghorn and Sprague Cleghorn led the Montreal Canadiens to a 10-6 victory over the Hamilton Tigers.
McKay and Madden are not known for their scoring prowess, but they were, in the words of McKay, ''in the right spot at the right time.''
''It was one of those nights that when I touched the puck, it went in,'' McKay said. ''Guys on the bench couldn't believe it. Bobby Holik was shaking his head every time we went to the bench after a goal.''
Madden, whose only goal in the first seven games this season came in the 3-3 tie in Carolina a night earlier, had joked with McKay on the bench that he was going for five.
''I was just happy to score one,'' Madden said later when discussing his remark. ''Things went our way because we played a solid game all around.''
Devils Coach Larry Robinson said he did not remember any two players ever scoring four goals in a game, even in youth hockey.
''It's just great for both guys,'' Robinson said. ''They worked extremely hard.''
Turner Stevenson scored the first goal of the game. He joked afterward in a happy dressing room that nobody had noticed that he had scored the winning goal.
While the Devils played with inspiration in their first meeting of the season against division rivals, the Penguins were listless for the most part. They had only three shots on Brodeur in the opening period, while allowing the Devils to score four times.
The victory catapulted the Devils (5-2-2-0) past the Penguins (5-4-1-0) to the top of the Atlantic Division.
Pittsburgh replaced goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin for the start of the second period after he allowed 4 goals on 16 shots. He is 0-5 against the Devils.
Garth Snow, who replaced Aubin, received the same treatment by the Devils, who scored 4 times in the second period on 15 shots.
McKay scored the last two goals against Aubin, including the Devils' first power-play goal of the night. It came with 8 minutes 42 seconds left in the first period. McKay's second goal came with 29.9 seconds remaining in the period. He notched his third career hat trick at 12:32 of the second period and his first four-goal game with 2:16 left in the second.
''Never scored four goals before, not at this level,'' McKay said. ''I have to go back to high school for the last time I did this.''
Madden scored his first of the night at 4:45 of the opening period and gave the Devils a 5-0 lead with his second goal at 11:10 of the middle period. His third goal came with 1:13 left in the second period, and he closed the scoring with 4:05 left in the game.
McKay and Madden are the first Devils to score hat tricks in the same game since Feb. 13, 1989, when Brendan Shanahan, now with Detroit, and Pat Verbeek, now with Dallas, did so in an 8-1 victory over Toronto.
McKay started the fighting off with a two fight game against the Flyers, taking on Rick Tocchet and Chris McAllister. The Tocchet fight wasn't much but McAllister caught McKay with a couple of big shots and dropped him for the TKO win. McKay looked pretty wobbly as he was getting up.
McKay would end the season off with a clear loss to Tie Domi who landed the only real shots and tied up McKay very well.
Here's an article about McKay getting underneath Leaf's goaltender Curtis Joseph's skin later on that year:
Twenty-five seconds were left in the game when Devils wing Randy McKay backed into Maple Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph in his crease.
Joseph, who surrendered 4 goals on 26 shots tonight as the Devils beat Toronto, 4-2, to force a seventh game, pushed back.
Joseph, who off the ice is typically patient and polite, suddenly became enraged.
He said later that McKay began to punch him in the mask while Joseph kept his hands at his sides. Quickly, Bryan McCabe and Danny Markov jumped into the fray to help their teammate, who eventually dropped his glove and blocker to the ice and bear-hugged Alexander Mogilny.
''I was a little surprised,'' Joseph said. ''Usually when you're up, 4-2, with 25 seconds left, the winning team doesn't have that much frustration. I wanted to tell him I didn't know why he would do that with 25 seconds left. There was contact for sure, but the next thing I remember was taking punches to the head.
''The mask isn't built for punches to the head,'' Joseph said. ''It's built for deflecting pucks. But no, I didn't get hurt at all. It's nothing your big brother wouldn't do. Though he'd let you know it was coming.''
McKay maintained that Joseph had hit him with his stick and that his punches were in retaliation.
It is not the first time Joseph has become angry in the playoffs. Last season, he wanted an interference call to nullify a game-winning goal against Ottawa in Game 3. When he did not get it, Joseph charged the referee, Mick McGeough, and flung off his gloves. He fell down and slid into McGeough, knocking him down, and was given a misconduct penalty.
Toronto wing Gary Roberts reflected on what happened to Joseph tonight. ''He's not happy with how he's been treated in the crease,'' Roberts said. ''The last time I checked, I don't think Randy McKay had the puck. Curtis had all the right in the world to be upset. Randy had no need to go into the crease and grab Cujo's head.''
Joseph came into tonight's game with a 7-2 record and a 1.59 goals against average in the playoffs. He enjoyed a relatively easy four-game sweep of the Senators, giving up just 3 goals in 123 shots in the series. But the Devils are forcing him to work harder and have made him pay. He has given up 16 goals on 186 shots.
McKay said he was not surprised to see Joseph get so upset. ''Maybe there was a little more frustration on his part,'' McKay said.
Joseph replied, ''I was frustrated at taking some punches.''
Joseph's best save of the night came in the second period with the Devils leading, 3-2. Patrik Elias skated hard at Joseph to his right and Jason Arnott was flying to his left. Both had an open look at the Leafs' net. Elias blasted a slap shot. Joseph snatched the puck, an almost certain goal, from the air as if it were a house fly. The save was brilliant, and it kept the Leafs in the game.
Joseph will play his most important game on Wednesday as the series shifts back to the Meadowlands for a decisive seventh game. The Devils are rediscovering their scoring touch, so Joseph will have to be spectacular. He will not necessarily have to be tough. It is better for the Leafs that he keep his composure. He figures, against McKay at least, that won't be a problem.
''I'm not in his league as far as tough guys go,'' Joseph said. ''I wouldn't throw the gloves off and challenge him, I don't think.''
Leafs wing Steve Thomas said he did not expect the team or Joseph to need any extra motivation for the seventh game.
''We play very well in their building,'' he said. ''The motivation comes from the need to win. Both teams need to win a seventh game, and we are in a position to beat a very good hockey team. We know how talented their team is.''
And another from the same incident:
The rock 'em, sock 'em playoff series was finally over. Randy McKay has more games to play, and the Toronto Maple Leafs do not, so McKay could sit at his locker and unburden his soul.
Remember that incident in Game 6 Monday in front of the Toronto goal, when McKay, the Devils' 34-year-old right wing, edged into Curtis Joseph's designated parking space? Remember how Joseph took two whacks with his stick at McKay's legs? How McKay got into Joseph's face mask? And how a Stanley Cup playoff series with enough froth suddenly was bubbling with more?
That, McKay said today, was not exactly an accident. ''I was a little close to him in the crease,'' McKay said. ''That's what I was trying to do.''
Only Joseph can say if the incident had any effect on him in the Devils' 5-1 victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night. The Maple Leafs clearly did not play as well after the McKay run-in as they did before. McKay rankled Toronto. Glenn Healy, the Maple Leafs' backup goaltender, called McKay, who has grown mutton-chop sideburns and a Fu Manchu for the playoffs, ''the guy with the cheesy 1970's sideburns.''
McKay said he was only trying to do his job, which includes irritating the other team's goaltender from time to time. ''You don't want to wait for the game to come to you,'' he said.
McKay said today that he had noticed that the Maple Leafs seemed to be colliding into Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur a lot. He was only returning the favor. That is why McKay has been voted by the Devils as ''the players' player'' two years straight.
''I just try to be conscious of doing all the little things,'' McKay said. ''Irritation could be a factor. I just try to go out and work hard and do the things that count.''
McKay, a veteran of 117 Stanley Cup playoff games (all but seven with the Devils), also happens to be scoring. He will enter the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins tied with Bobby Holik and Patrik Elias for the team lead in playoff goals, with five. That is five more goals than McKay scored in the postseason a year ago.
He has been on the negative side of the plus-minus rating in only two of the Devils' 13 playoff games (he is plus-3 over all), and he scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the Devils' 6-5 victory in Game 2. McKay is an important reason the Devils are still playing. The key, Coach Larry Robinson said, is that McKay, who nursed a sore shoulder a year ago, is still fresh.
''Usually at this time of the year, Randy is so beat up and is just hanging on,'' Robinson said. ''I think the rest we were able to give him has helped just because of the game he plays.
''I think the reason he's played so well is that he has some gas in the tank.''
McKay missed four games late in the regular season with a bruised tailbone. He returned to the line centered by Holik and finished with 23 goals, his second-highest total in 10 years with the team. The Holik line has been one of the Devils' most productive in the playoffs.
''The regular season's long,'' Holik said. ''You just can't play at your best level of intensity. It's not like you're saving yourself during the season, but you always seem to find something extra when the playoffs start. Randy's no different than anyone else in here. We need him to play better, but we need everyone else to play better, too. That's what playoff hockey is all about.''
That might explain why McKay showed up for a meeting and a light workout with his sideburns and his Fu Manchu intact. Toronto is gone, but not McKay's attitude. ''My belief is when you get to the playoffs, you don't have any more incentive to win but to win,'' he said.
McKay started the season off with a fight with Tie Domi. Domi was a bit of a coward in this one as he had been suspended in the playoffs last year for cheapshotting Scott Niedermayer. Jim McKenzie was looking for Domi and Domi laid down off the face off and McKenzie got booted. Here's the clip:
Than Domi takes a much easier fight against an older Randy McKay and does a number on him. Kind of gutless but that was Domi sometimes. Here's the fight:
McKay would than go on to fight Gary Roberts as the second fight on the same stoppage of play and Roberts landed some good shots to take the win. Here's the clip:
McKay would end off the season with a couple of draws with Todd Simpson and Scott Ferguson.
On March 19, 2002, McKay was traded from the Devils along with Jason Arnott and a 1st round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft to the Dallas Stars for Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner.
McKay would only play 14 games for the Stars before signing with his hometown Montreal Canadiens for the 2002-2003 season. It wasn't a year filled with success though for McKay who would take losses to notables like Todd Simpson, Chris Neil, Jason Strudwick and Wade Belak. Time had finally caught up with McKay and he just wasn't able to keep up so he retired after this season.
There you have it folks, my tribute to Randy McKay. A guy whom I've always admired - McKay was a meat and potatoes hockey player. There was nothing fancy about him, he went up and down his wing, played well defensively, hit hard, scored goals and was willing to drop the gloves. That's everything you could ever want in a hockey player. More than that though, McKay was a champion. He never quit, and always showed up even though he lost his fair share on the back half of his career. As always, I would appreciate any fights, stories, anecdotes, experiences or comments that you have to offer.
"The Hand is fine, I got a shot of chromosome yesterday."
I liked Randy a lot, but his skills seemed to disappear overnight. One day, he was laying a beating on Dave Brown, and the next he was being thrown around by scrubs for the rest of his career. It always seemed odd to me that he would experience that kind of sudden dropoff and never be able to recover.
Awesome post! Win or lose Mckay usually provided an entertaining scrap. An old school type you don't see in todays nhl. Do you have these profiles archived anywhere? It would be really cool if you had a website with links to these player profiles you do. Anyway thanks for the time and work you put into these, entertaining reading for sure!
One of my all time favorites. Got to meet Randy a couple different times, as he enjoyed his time in Northern Michigan while a Huskie & a Red Wing. Very down to earth guy. Thank you Boobies! One of your best!
"Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in 'Mad Max' times." -Moe Syzlak
Great job on these things ILB. Thanks again. That playoff game between the Blues and Wings in 90-91 was one of the best games I have seen and as you said it was brawl filled and set a record for Combined PIM in a playoff game at the time
Take the shortest route to the puck and arive there in Ill Humor
I always liked McKay. Everyone knows he got dropped by Gaetz, but what most people dont know is he fought Gaetz in that same preseason in San Diego and had an unreal toe to toe brawl and it was a complete draw. That game was televised locally too and my VCR ate my tape. Someone has to have it.
Great post Boobs. I have to admit that I learned a little bit more from this post. Great start to McKay's career, tailed off at the end as could be expected. I think I'll need to re-evaluate my all time rankings as far as McKay is concerned. Had some big wins there that I didn't know about. Once again, Great job.
I remember McKay's first fight in the NHL against Carkner.It was a Friday night and I believe the Flyers won 11-6?......I remember thinking it was Chris McRae?....I had seen his name recently for the Red Wings fighting Domi in a previous game when Domi had his first brief stint with the Leafs.......
"Other than Peatycap,is there anyone else as full of shit as Trump?".....Upton 2011
Was Carkner his first fight? I have a great fight between McKay and Mark Tinordi on the 89-90 tape that it mentioned the rookie McKay.
Anyways, McKay was so awesome. I know most Devil fans were upset a bit losing Crowder, but they forgot after watching Randy a few games. If Detroit never signed Crowder, I still feel New Jersey doesn't win the 95 cup.
I do feel McKay hung on too long and as a fan it was tough watching Belak hammer him like he did in Montreal.
I always viewed it like this: PS goals, assists, games played, etc. It doesn't count for shit. But to answer your question, yes, Gaetz was his first NHL PreSeason fight, followed by Tinordi the very next day.
When someone askes someone about their first NHL goal, they don't reference preseason. I get what people say, but again, it's a sub category/sub seasonal # that shouldn't be = to regular season games.
"Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in 'Mad Max' times." -Moe Syzlak
I tend to agree with Kramer that's why I rarely post anything pre-season when I do these write ups. It has to he something fairly special for me to include anyway - although I do agree that Tinordi fight is a beauty. But when did Tinordi ever have a bad fight?
As far as having a website to save these? The answer is no... My hard drive recently bit the bullet and I don't even have hard copies myself ! What can you do?
As always, thank you for the kind words. It means a lot to me that the true fight fans appreciate these write ups and reviews. You guys are the best. Thank you.
"The Hand is fine, I got a shot of chromosome yesterday."
Big Mckay fan. His mark was made as a player and probably as a fighter as well as a Devil. Man that Crash Line with him and Peluso (Holik centering) was so fun to watch, especially in the Devil's Cup year.
He was very entertaining as a player, solid LHW, but his heart and balls were the difference maker for me - man could he smoke guys with his hitting, and man was he a great role player!
We sometimes overlook the full package (abilitiy to play, value to team, leadership, etc.) and focus entirely on fighting ability.. Guys like Mckay are the ones I especially miss today, in the new NHL..
I agree with not counting preseason in any "real" totals/stats, but I don't get why when we hear about Gretzky's or Gordie Howe's career scoring stats, they don't include the postseason, which they definitely should.