Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wendel Moment #16 - Clark vs Peluso

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.

Obviously any list of Wendel Clark highlights is going to include a scrap or two. For Moment #16, let's go with a Norris Division bout that serves as a good summary of Wendel's work in this area.

Here's Clark vs Hawks heavyweight Mike Peluso at the Gardens, from October 20, 1990.

A few things I enjoy about this fight:

  • Peluso is already flat on his back by the time they can even get the camera switched over to it. This happened in at least 50% of Wendel Clark fights.

  • Listen to how loud the Gardens gets when Wendel drops the gloves. Keep in mind, this isn't a playoff game -- it's October. What would need to happen these days for the ACC to get that loud during an early season game? An announcement of free shrimp cocktails for the 100-level? Howard Berger falling headfirst out of the pressbox? Jason Blake back-checking? God I miss the Gardens.

  • After KOing him with one punch, Clark falls on top of Peluso and continues to pummell him. And yet two Blackhawk teammates are standing a few feet away and don't make a move to help. (You can see this especially well on the replay after the 1:00 mark.)

    One of them at least manages to do a semi-convincing job of pretending to be engaged with a linesman, while the other (wearing #4, which I think would be Keith Brown) just flat-out decides not to get involved. You can almost hear them muttering "Well, better him than me, we'll send his widow a canned ham".
The lesson, as always: Do not try to fight Wendel Clark.

Sadly, Peluso's heroic attempt to serve as a cautionary example to other NHL players failed... as we'll see several times as we count down our list.


  1. This fight made me think of Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" when he wails on Scott Farkas ("yellow eyes, so help me he had yellow eyes!") The ref comes in and has to smother Clark to get him to cease his assault, like the mom had to do with Ralphie. Which is not to say that Clark is Ralphie, I like my blood, don't need it punched out. in fact, forget I said anything...

  2. I love how, once Clark sends Peluso to the ice, he coils around him like some kind of awesome snake. Can't wait for the other 15 moments. Thanks, DGB!

  3. Off-topic, but your Gardens nostalgia sparked something in me. Remember during big games, when the Leafs would score, the main camera would tilt up wildly? I think it was because the fan sitting directly in front of the camera would jump up and hit the camera with their hands or their head. I miss the Gardens ;)

  4. Hah, I would have never noticed #4 unless you pointed it out.

    I love that as soon as another Leaf who isn't Wendel skates onto the scene, he immediately rushes over to get tied up and avoid having his nose pushed through the back oh his head.

  5. The best part of this clip is right at the beginning when the puck carrier hears the whistle, knows a fight is going on and tilts his head back thinking "I sure hope to god Clark's not in that"