Friday, November 7, 2008

Wendel Moment #14 - Life (and Near-Death) of Bryan

On November 22, Wendel Clark's #17 will be raised to the rafters as the team honours its former captain and arguably the most popular player in franchise history.

In the lead up to that night, Down Goes Brown will feature a countdown of Wendel's Top 17 Greatest Moments.

Let's cut right to the point: in the early 90's, Bryan Marchment was a punk who needed a good ass-kicking.

He was notorious for his cheap shots, especially his patented knee-on-knee hits that would put guys on the shelf for months. Short of Ulf Samuelsson, he was probably the biggest prick in the NHL. To make matters worse, in 1991 Marchment started wearing a full facemask to protect a broken jaw. Of course, he kept running guys.

Well, one night Wendel decided he had seen enough. After Wendel took an innocent poke at Steve Larmer, Marchment figured he'd glide in for a cheapshot.

Bad idea.

Remember that line from The Usual Suspects: "How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?" Well, here's the NHL version: "How do you cheapshot Wendel Clark? What if he sees you coming?"

Wendel saw Marchment coming, decided he looked undernourished, and fed him both fists and half his hockey stick.

The fun wasn't over yet. As players piled on and Marchment headed for the hills, Steve Smith wound up tangled up with Wendel. The Leafs captain gave Smith a dirty look, which caused his face to explode.

A few other things to watch for in this video:
  • A classic early example of Jim Hughson's fake "oh, the horror!" routine that he now does during every hockey fight, at 4:30.

  • Doug Gilmour, playing one of his first games as a Leaf, taking down Grimson with an open-ice tackle at 4:03.

  • The organist breaking into the theme song from "Dallas" for reasons that I'm sure made sense to him at the time.

  • Grimson doing the all-time greatest "hold me back while I pretend to want to fight" routine, essentially skating all over the ice trying to get Wendel, who just stands there watching him. Interesting side note: in some states, trying to chase down Wendel Clark for a fight is legally considered a suicide attempt.

  • A Bob Halkidis sighting!

  • Keith Brown playing tough guy on the bench. Hey Keith, Mike Peluso wants to know where all that toughness was last time?
This incident lead to the NHL forcing all teams to post a warning in their dressing room: Do not cheapshot Wendel Clark, because he will hunt you down and kill you.

Unfortunately, as we'll see later on this list, they forgot to have that translated into Russian.


  1. More good stuff. What the heck is Grimson doing continually looking at the score clock over centre ice? Loved seeing Davey Ellett locked in a death-grip with his dance partner; "Roy", as his teammates called him, was a smooth skater and a good offensive d-man on some pretty bad teams, but he was no fighter. It's pretty obvious he's holding on for dear life and hoping like hell the zebras get over there quick.

    I'd love to hear what Keenan has to say about this one - how many people was he pissed at, what for, and in what order of intensity?

    As for Marchment, remember how the media actually ended up taking the brilliant step of contacting Marchment's dad in Scarborough and essentially repeatedly asked him the brilliant question "Is it true that your son is the dirtiest prick in hockey?"

  2. What an awesome series this is. I grew up on Norris Division hockey (St. Louis chapter), and at the time -- before they made those interwebs -- if it didn't involve the Blues, then we'd only hear about some of these intra-Norris highlights from the paper or THN. It's great to finally see them.

    Also, my friends always discussed fighters in the division after the latest Norris bloodfest. With all the no-talent, one-trick goons each Norris team dressed, our general consensus would still always arrive at Clark.

    Concluding statements generally went like: "First, he will score. Second, if you tick him off enough to get him to lose 5 or 10 minutes of potential ice time, he'll likely kill you. Third, he'll come back and score the winner."

    Even for a rival's fan, Clark was impossible to hate. He was the ideal player: "On the seventh day, God made Clark. And he was good."

    That said, I'll always remember him as an Islander. /snark

  3. Dominik...

    Glad to hear that even a Blues fan could appreciate Clark. If you remember the Norris fondly, be sure to check out this list.

  4. I can't even tell you how many times I just sat here and watched this video today.

    I was so fucking productive at work. But people were scared of me, because I had this crazy look in my eye like if they said the wrong thing, I'd bash their head into the desk.

    It would be impossible for anything to be more awesome than this Wendel Clark series.

    I love that Wendel just creates such havoc in this video. He completely destroys Stu Grimson's whole world. Everything around the Reaper collapsed and all he could think about was how he could get kicked out of the game without fighting Wendel, but still looking tough.

    If Grimson was truly to have us believe that he was SO MAD at Wendel that he'll run away from his own coach, why wouldn't he simply fight Gilmour first when he attempted to tackle him, and slowly work his way to Clark?

    The answer, of course, is because meeting Clark would have been the last thing he ever did.

  5. I laughed out loud at the mention of Bobby Halkidis and I have no idea why...Steve Larmer was always one of my favourite players. I think it's impossible to find footage of him where he's not working a piece of gum, even in his brief appearances in this vid, he's got the chicklets going.

  6. Bob Halkidis is a permanent fixture in my Sega NHL '93 lineup.

    Agility: 13
    Speed: 13
    Stick Handling: 13
    Fighting: 42
    Roughness: 53
    Aggression: 72

    Bobby shows 'em how we do things downtown.

    "Clark was suspended by NHL for three games during 1991-92 season for high-sticking incident with Bryan Marchment during third period of Toronto's Jan. 16, 1992, game at Chicago. Clark received a match penalty on the play for attempting to injure Marchment as he retaliated for hit in the face by slashing in the direction of Marchment's throat. The incident set off a brawl, and the match penalty required a disciplinary hearing with Brian O'Neill on Jan. 21, 1992. The following day, the NHL suspended Clark."

    Attaboy DGB, love it.

  7. Wait... Scampy actually had hair at one point?

  8. the video made me weep with joy...he's just a harmless farmboy

  9. I used to have this on video, after Clark took care of Marchment, which I still wish he could of finished the job. Smith makes the mistake of thinking if I hold on to his glove he should relent. Clark releases his right hand from that prison in about 2 tenths of a second and clobbers Smith. To Smith's credit he didn't go down right away. This is my favorite NHL moment of all time. In slow motion it is a ballet.