Monday, May 26, 2008

Great Obscure Moments in Leafs History - Everything that happened immediately after the Clark-McSorley fight

Great Obscure Moments in Leafs History - An ongoing series to honor the greatest, completely meaningless moments in Toronto Maple Leaf history.

Wendel winding up: the last thing
hockey players see before they die
Ask any Maple Leaf to list their top five memories of the past 20 years, and every single one will include the Clark-McSorley fight from the 1993 playoffs. Even non-Leaf fans know the scene by heart: Clark looking over his shoulder at a fallen Doug Gilmour, then without hesitation dropping his gloves and heading directly for the twice-his-size McSorley and rocking him with a right handed haymaker that highlighted one of the best fights in NHL history, with the whole thing called perfectly by Bob Cole ("Oh! Clark is nailing McSorley!").

Every Leaf fan has this sequence memorized. But over time, many have forgotten the comedy gold that came in the immediate aftermath. And that's where I come in.

Today's great obscure moment in Leafs history is: Everything that happened immediately after the Clark-McSorley fight

The Todd Gill vs. Dave Taylor fight

Three things that make me laugh about this fight.

1.) Bob Cole is completely oblivious to it. He doesn't even notice it until after Clark and McSorley are off the ice.

2.) Remember a guy named Dave Taylor who played on the Triple Crown line with Dionne and Simmer in the late 70s? It's the same guy. The night of this fight, Taylor was 56 years old.

3.) The cameras only catch a few seconds of the entire fight, and even then only because they happen to skate by in the background of the main event. What happened in this fight? Who won? Was it any good? Does anyone have grainy handycam footage we could analyze? Can we run some kind of computer simulation to find out what happened?

Gilmour goes after the Kings bench

When I say "goes after", I mean it in the patented Doug Gilmour "look like you want to fight while staying out of reach" way. This may be the least enthusiastic bench confrontation in history, since Gilmour doesn't want to fight, Anderson and Ellett don't know how to fight, and the Kings players are all too busy trying not to make eye contact with Wendel as he skates by so that he doesn't kill them.

Everybody who will somedy
club a guy over the head with a
stick,raise your hand
McSorley goes Sean Penn on the cameraman

On his way off the ice, McSorley decides that he doesn't want anybody to film him. This seems like an odd choice for a professional athlete during a televised sporting event, but in his defence, you wouldn't want to have your picture taken either if Wendel Clark had just punched your left eyeball three inches into your brain.

Also, McSorley is naked from the waist up at this point. Don't ask.

Barry Melrose's mullet

Technically, this wasn't specific to this particular moment, but it still deserves a mention.

We all agree that any shot of Barry Melrose from the early 90s is guaranteed amusement. But the shots of him during this game are made even better by the bright pink Gummi Bears sign directly behind him. Not even Melrose's smoldering mulletude could look cool in front of that sign. It was close, though.

Somebody throws a crutch on the ice

Any loser can toss a cup of soda or a bag of popcorn on the ice. The really hardcore will throw coins or batteries. But you have to be a special kind of crazy to throw a crutch.

Here's my question: did somebody get so worked up that they forgot they couldn't walk and threw their own crutch on the ice? Or did somebody else steal a crutch for a handicapped person and fire it over the glass? I can't even decide which scenario would be funnier. (Yes I can: the second one.)

In either case, how did the crutch's owner get home? Can we even be sure that he did? Is it possible that there's still an angry fan hopping in circles around Maple Leaf Gardens and wondering how the series turned out?

The Gill-Taylor fight ends

That's right, during everything mentioned above, the Gill-Taylor fight is still going on. The John Ferguson Jr era was shorter than this fight. Did I mention that Dave Taylor was 68 years old? Halfway through this fight he retired from hockey and had a rink in his hometown named after him during a quiet ceremony that was marred by the fact the Gill was still hitting him.

Pat Burns charges the Kings bench

This is probably the most memorable post-fight moment. Burns is jawing and pointing at the Kings bench, then suddenly makes a break for it before being restrained by a policeman, various ushers, and a guy in a yellow jacket who appears to be the bass player from Def Leppard.

Clearly, Burns had no intention of actually attacking anyone. This was one of those "fire up the crowd" moments, which would be fine except that 90% of the crowd didn't notice because they were looking somewhere else. They couldn't watch it on the scoreboard either, since back then the Maple Leaf Gardens scoreboard had four colors, sixteen pixels and could only show the word "Noise" and strange images of Mickey Mouse hands clapping.

Pinky finger
The guy in the pink shirt giving the Kings bench the finger

Just as Burns gives up his half-hearted charge, a random fan in a pink golf shirt and what appear to be acid-wash jeans strikes a mighty archer pose and flips off the Kings bench for about half a second before realizing he's on TV and switching to polite applause.

I love this guy. Some day I'm going to track him down and get a picture of him giving me the finger. Seriously, if anyone knows who he is, let me know.

When Nikolai Borschevsky gets his own talk show, I want this guy to be his sidekick. I want him to sit on the couch in his Zack Morris outfit while Borschevsky asks rambling questions, and then furiously flip off the confused guest as we cut to commercial. Make it happen, CBC!

The video evidence

Thanks to the wonders of Youtube, here's the entire sequence. Enjoy...




14 comments:

  1. The John Ferguson Jr era was shorter than this fight. Did I mention that Dave Taylor was 68 years old? Halfway through this fight he retired from hockey and had a rink in his hometown named after him during a quiet ceremony that was marred by the fact the Gill was still hitting him.

    Gold. Gold, I tells ya.

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  2. Awesome job! Love this post! I just wrote a piece about Todd Gill being perfect for Leaf head coach. This clip highlights his desire to share the spotlight, his focus on team-goals, his determination to contribute but not distract... A shining example.

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  3. this is one of my fondest leafs memories. i have that video the leafs made after the 92/93 season - "The Passion That Unites Us All" - and i watch it whenever I'm in the mood for a good cry...and this fight and the aftermath was a big part of it...

    watching gilmour go and chirp at the kings bench was awesome. he was everything for the leafs, man, what a rudey.

    and clark, what can you say about clarkey? what a warrior. came to the defense of his boy and whooped some mcsorley ass...

    watching that video brings back some great memories, and some not so great ones, too...what a year...

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  4. HAHAHAHA Gill and Taylor definitely just stumble into the screen. Good thing too or we'd never know that they had fought.

    No word yet on whether a young Damien Cox was the gentleman sporting the pink shirt.

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  5. Jesus, that gets your blood going!

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  6. "... i have that video the leafs made after the 92/93 season - "The Passion That Unites Us All"

    That video was worth the $20 just go Doug Gilmour's hair.

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  7. I always thought the guy in the pink was a hallucination brought on by my brain not being able to handle Clark's massive bad-assery.

    I'm going to go watch the Clark 'hero of the day' tribute like 800x in a row on constant replay.

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  8. I'm going to go watch the Clark 'hero of the day' tribute like 800x in a row on constant replay.

    That video is the greatest thing on the Internet. I'm going to do a post some day where I analyze it frame-by-frame.

    (Everyone laughs.)

    No, I'm completely serious. I'm going to do that.

    (Everyone slowly backs away.)

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  9. I have the same video, I think it's called "The Passion Returns" which was second choice after, "Thank God the Ballard Era is Over". Other highlights include Krushelnyski and Anderson singing "Leafs are the Best".

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  10. Thanks for posting this.

    It's amazing to remember just how crazy the city was that summer over the Blue and White and how closely everyone seemed to be following the Leafs (and for the right reasons for a change).

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  11. Next time the leafs are in the Conference Final, I will bring out my acid washed jeans and pink shirt again.
    signed
    Earl Pinkerton

    Pink shirt guy

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  12. You are just hilarious. Hilarious. I can't tell you how long I've been looking for a Loyal Leafer like you with some comedic genius. I think I just shit my pants.

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  13. The Youtube Nazis pulled the video :(

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