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.
Remember Moment #14, when Wendel Clark decided to send a little payback Bryan Marchment's way?
What did we learn that day, children?
- Do no try to cheapshot Wendel Clark
- DO NOT TRY TO CHEAPSHOT WENDEL CLARK!
- If you decide to ignore rules #1&2, at least make sure you get the job done
- Do not skate up to Wendel Clark like you want to fight, because he wants to fight too and he's better at it than you are
- If Wendel Clark rams both gloves and his stick down your throat, curl up in a ball on the ice and stay there. Forever.
Clark and Fetisov had a history going back to a game at the Gardens that included the infamous Burke/Laforest fight. Not surprisngly, Clark got the better of that exchange, but out of respect for the unstable international dynamics of the day he was kind enough to let Fetisov live.
This is the part where a normal man would give thanks for the act of mercy, then skate away and never be seen again. Not Fetisov.
No, instead he decided it would be a good idea to even the score in a game in New Jersey. Fetisov, widely considered one of the dirtiest players in hockey at the time, went after Clark's leg on one of the more blatant attempted hits in recent memory, practically diving into Clark's knee as he cut across the ice. Clark barely managed to leap out of the way of a potentially career-ending cheapshot. (Update: as 1967ers and Dan point out in the comments, Fetisov did get a piece of Clark's knee, putting him on the shelf for several weeks.)
Now if you had just tried to cripple Wendel Clark and failed, what is the last thing you would do? If you said "skate up to him like you wanted to fight", you would be correct.
Q: What was going through Fetisov's head on this play?
A: Wendel Clark's fist
Four things about this clip:
- Listen to the Devils announcers describe Fetisov's attempted knee-on-knee as a great hit during the replay at 1:00, even though Fetisov is literally sliding on his belly during his follow-through. These guys make the North Stars announcers from the David Mackey fight sound objective.
- I love the way Clark KO's Fetisov with one punch, then casually looks around as if to say "OK, who's next?" He's not even remotely worried.
- Fetisov's half-hearted attempt to get back into the fray is funny enough, but watch how passionately the linesman is talking to him. He looks like a harried suicide negotiator pleading with a guy on a window ledge.
- Finally, in one of the great "hold me back" moments in NHL history, watch as two Devils players skate in, realize it's Wendel Clark, and then grab each other instead. This kills me. They literally grab onto each other and hope that nobody will notice and Wendel will leave them alone. I could watch that a hundred times and still find it funny.