Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The definitive guide to the Wendel Clark "All Heart" video

As long time readers know, I believe that the All Heart video is perhaps the ultimate artistic achievement humanity has ever produced. Last year, it made my list of the top Wendel Clark moments of all time. And in that post, I promised that some day I'd do a frame-by-frame breakdown of the entire video. Some day.

Almost a full year later, some day is here.

Thanks to a copy of the original video file, the power of Google, and a tireless work ethic, I've managed to source every clip in the entire video. Oh, I also had a detailed set of production notes from the video's creator. That part helped too.

So grab a cup of coffee or a cold pop and settle in, because we're going to be here a while. Ladies and gentlemen, the definitive guide to the greatest thing on the internet.

The history
Dan Christopher created "All Heart" several years ago. He spent six months of scouring through VHS tapes from ebay and teaching himself video editing software from scratch. Dan wrote a guest post last year where he explained how and why he created the video.

Bottom line: If Dan ever has buy his own beer on game night again, shame on you Leafs Nation.

The music
The soundtrack is supplied by Metallica's "Hero of the Day", from the group's 1996 album "Load". It is generally considered the second greatest heavy metal song of all time, trailing only "everything ever recorded by Guns N' Roses", which was tied for first.

Here's the song's bizarre official video, and here's the band performing a live version with a symphony orchestra. Yes, really.

The clips
By my count, All Heart contains over 60 different clips. And if you'd like to see each and every one of them analyzed at a Zapruder level of detail, you've come to the right blog.

0:00 - The opening shots are views of Wendel's farm in King City, Ont. Harry Neale's comments about the "heavyweight champion from Harvard" losing "a decision to the farmboy from Saskatchewan" is a reference to a 1986 fight between Clark and the Flames' Neil Sheehy, who had been a heavyweight boxing champion in college.

0:12 - Wendel puts on a Leafs jersey for the first time after being chosen #1 overall in the 1985 NHL entry draft. The old guy next to him is Harold Ballard. If you watch closely, you can see Ballard mouth the words "Dear Norris Division, you are going to die."

0:16 - The classic "dressing room shot", taken from the second greatest Wendel compilation of all time: the CBC's "Only the Strong Survive". (Don't miss the classic Demers/Brophy exchange at the end. God I miss John Brophy.)

0:21 - Two shots of Maple Leaf Gardens (a.k.a. "Wendel's House"), followed by the aftermath of an unidentified fight. Note that every Wendel Clark fight ends this way -- with Clark skating slowly off the ice, casually glancing around to see if anyone else wants any more, with a linesman nearby but afraid to touch him, and the Jaws of Life driving by in the background to help his opponent.

0:29 - Normally, the person carrying the puck is on the receiving end of the hit. Not Wendel, as this unfortunate Wings defenceman (Doug Halward?) found out.

0:31 - A happy Harold Ballard high fives a fan. Seconds later, the fan's hand turned into a cluster of vampire bats and flew away.

0:33 - Classic Clark fist-pump. Take note, Jason Blake.

0:34 - Clark hugs Vincent Damphousse.

0:35 - Clark body slams fellow rookie Jim Johnson of the Penguins. Fun fact: This was Clark's first ever regular season NHL fight.

0:37 - Clark vs. Behn Wilson. For those that don't remember him, Wilson was one of the greatest fighters of the 80s, and perhaps of all-time. This was one of the first times Clark took on a certified NHL heavyweight, and the result is an absolute beauty. If you've never seen it before, watch it now. If you have seen it before, watch it again. After this fight, Don Cherry told the world that Wendel was worth "a million bucks".

0:45 - Apparently bored with punching people in the face, Clark decides to turn Brad McCrimmon's kidneys into paste.

0:49 - Clark destroys Dave Barr of the Blues during the 1986 playoffs. Clark had five post-season fights that year.

0:53 - This is a quick shot from the memorable pre-season fight between Clark and Craig MacTavish. After pairing off with Clark, an overmatched MacTavish tried for a takedown only to have Clark roll through and then continue to maul him. The Oilers weren't happy about this one, with Glenn Sather accusing Clark of being "not very smart". Clark is rumored to have replied "Ask me again about which one of us is smart in 20 years when he signs Wade Redden as a free agent."

0:55 - Clark eats the soul of Dave Mackey. I wrote about this one here.

0:56 - Clark TKOs Washington enforcer Alan May in about three seconds. Full fight is here.

0:57 - A classic open ice hit delivered to Dino Ciccarelli.

1:00 - Clark crushes a young Scott Stevens.

1:01 - Clark beats up on one of the best hockey names of all time: Ed Beers.

1:02 - A one-punch KO on the Rangers' Mark Hardy. Full fight (complete with ridiculous Ranger homer commentary) is here.

1:03 - A 1992 scrap between Clark and Chicago's Jocelyn Lemieux. Clark had just returned from an injury and was rusty -- he couldn't get his arm free, allowing Lemieux to land several jabs early on. Then Clark does get his arm free. Then Lemieux's face explodes. The end. Full fight is here.

1:05 - Wearing the "C", Clark hustles across the ice at the Gardens. This clip may in fact be actual speed.

1:09 - Clark was named to the Campbell Conference all-star team as a rookie in 1986. Thanks to injuries he wouldn't play in another all-star game until 1999, giving him the NHL record for longest stretch between all-star appearances. Here's Clark, oddly wearing #15, being introduced during the pre-game ceremony.

1:13 - Wendel heads to the dressing room after a fight, presumably to wait for the homicide investigators.

1:24 - Clark sends Steve Smith through the end glass at the old Chicago Stadium.

1:30 - Clark has stitches. I don't know who gave them to him, but I'm sure the memorial service was lovely.

1:33 - One of my favorite clips in the entire video, as Gord Dineen pretends to want to fight Clark while hiding behind a linesman. That works brilliantly right up until the linesman gets fed up and leaves, at which point Dineen moves to Plan B: backing into the boards and turning his entire body horizontal. Interesting strategy. Full fight is here.

1:46 - Jeff Chycrun figures he can handle Clark since he's a full five inches taller. He would be wrong. It's actually amazing how often Clark's opponents ended up facing the wrong direction during a fight. Full fight is here.

1:50 - Clark's memorable obliteration of Mike Peluso, which I wrote about here.

2:00 - Wendel KO's Dirk Graham (yes, he was originally a North Star). This is quite possibly the greatest moustache-vs-moustache fight of all time.

2:01 - Clark TKO's David Maley (not to be confused with David Mackey).

2:02 - Ho hum, another Wendel TKO. This one is from 1993, and this time the victim is (future Leaf) Kris King. The full fight is here. And now it's time for three of the greatest Wendel moments of all time in rapid-fire.

2:03 - The infamous "waster" on Curtis Joseph. I named this the #12 Wendel Moment of All-Time, and there was nearly universal agreement that it should have been higher.

2:08 - Clark vs. McSorley. Quite possible the greatest fight of all-time. Almost definitely the greatest moment of Wendel Clark's career. Without question the greatest moment of my life (unless my wife is reading this, in which case wedding day, birth of what's-her-name, blah blah blah.)

2:14 - The Bruce Bell hit. Rumor has it that to this day whenever Wendel Clark sneezes, one of Bruce Bell's lungs explodes.

2:17 - Hey look, it's our old friend Gord Dineen from 1:33! Remember how he tried to ninja his way out of their first fight by going horizontal? Maybe he should have stuck with that, because he stays upright here and gets absolutely destroyed. You could always tell when Wendel was really mad at a guy, because he would make sure to hold his corpse upright while he pummelled him.

2:24 - In a great sequence, Clark annihilates Mark Howe and then gets jumped by Rick Tocchet. Hey Rick, you think you can beat Wendel Clark if he doesn't see you coming? Wanna bet? Full fight is here. (And check out Ron Hextall's bizarre stick slamming routine during the fight. When did he become the goalie from Blades of Steel?)

2:36 - Clark takes on the Stars' Mark Tinordi, who I seem to remember him fighting about 300 different times in his career. Clark more than holds his own, even though he practically has to jump to land a punch. Full fight is here.

2:40 - Guitar solo! Apologies in advance for any typos, as I'll be typing the next few lines with my middle and ring fingers folded in.

2:41 - Clark scores an overtime winner on Eddie Belfour, who of course executes the "losing goaltender sprint off the ice" move.

2:48 - Garth Butcher thinks he has Clark lined up during the 1993 playoffs. He's wrong, and no doubt has time to reflect on that fact as he rotates four feet in the air.

2:53 - Another OT winner, this time against Tim Cheveldae of the Wings.

3:00 - Wendel takes out a pair of Rangers on the same shift.

3:05 - Clark drops down to prevent a scoring chance. If any members of the current Leafs team are reading this, this move is called "blocking a shot" and it is in fact a legal hockey play.

3:06 - A patented open ice hit against a miscellaneous Hab. This was from Pat Burns' epic return to Montreal in 1993.

3:07 - Another one-punch TKO, this time on Rudy Poeschek.

3:08 - Note to defencemen: If Wendel Clark wants to go to the net, he's going. Trying to stop him is just going make it worse for everyone involved.

3:10 - Clark kills Bob Brooke, then decides to give him a proper burial beneath the MLG ice. The full fight is here. Fun fact: this fight happened in overtime.

3:15 - Wendel takes on future teammate John Kordic in a classic. This fight featured about 30 punches, including Russ Courtnall's ticket out of Toronto. The full fight is here.

3:19 - Clark takes on Garth Butcher in 1987, the first of two fights they had that night. By the way, Garth Butcher holds the all-time record for largest discrepancy in toughness between first and last name.

3:25 - The Wendel Clark/Kevin Maguire practice fight. I wrote about this one here. Notice how at one point Maguire ends up facing the wrong direction.

3:30 - Clark "fights" Slava Fetisov, in the same way that you might "fight" a mosquito that lands on your arm. I wrote about this one here.

3:43 - Wendel scores another OT winner, this one coming in that crazy comeback win over the Boston Bruins on New Year's eve December 30, 1989. The Leafs had trailed 6-1 but came all the way back, taking a 7-6 decision in overtime in perhaps the greatest Leafs win of the decade.

3:53 - Wendel Clark vs. Bob Probert, chapters I-IV. They had several memorable fights, most of which featured Probert being hit in the head so hard that years later he'd say things like "Yes, I would be interested in doing a figure skating reality show". The best of the series was the third fight, which I wrote about here.

4:08 - Todd Gill hugs Clark, creating a picture whose subtitle is "Two People Who Are Awesome".

4:09 - Somebody holding up a quote from the bible.

4:10 - I'll let Dan describe the final shot: "Clark in his captained, mulletted, post-murder glory." Amen.

And then, much like just about everyone who ever tried to fight Wendel Clark, we fade to black.

(In addition to all the help from Dan, a quick thanks to a pair of great resources: hockeyfights.com, and dropyourgloves.com.)


  1. TL;DR

    that is crazy... a good kind of crazy, but still.

    if i were a Leafs fan i'd probably be emotional & crying right now i guess?

    well done; still the best blog ever.

  2. I think this is my favourite thing that has ever happened on the internet. I love this blog so much.

  3. I love this video because it makes me feel like I'm not a freak for loving hockey the way I do.

    "if i were a Leafs fan i'd probably be emotional & crying right now i guess?"

    Yup. That's what I'm doing.

  4. Those are the fastest hands that I've ever seen.

  5. PS: At 3:06, I remember that hit like it was yesterday and I believe the recipient was Benoit Brunet.

    Although you'll never be able to corroborate because there's no way Benoit remembers it.

  6. "unless my wife is reading this, in which case wedding day, birth of what's-her-name, blah blah blah"
    You're killing me, Sean. If you pause the video at exactly 3:39, you'll see a guy with a camera who might have taken a pic of Fetisov getting destroyed from 3' away... I wonder if you can see his soul blasting out of his back on the film.
    Awesome work.

  7. Legendary. The video is already epic and this just adds to it!

  8. Chris Durno RECALLED!


  9. I've been waiting for this since I mentioned the video in the comments many moons ago.

  10. Speaking today as a die-hard Sens fan, I grew up watching and loving the Leafs. I loved Wendel then and I love him now. He was infinity times the hockey player of any of the current Leafs.

    And you kill me, man. "birth of what's-her-name blah blah blah" Priceless.

  11. This is your magnus opus.

    But there's a glaring error. The greatest Leafs game of the 80s took place on December 30, 1989 - not New Year's Eve.

    For shame...

  12. Sean,

    You and Dan need to collaborate on a new project.

    All Heart V2.0

    Featuring highlights from Lee Stempniak's career as a Leaf. Sure, it'd just be a couple quick shots from last night's game, but if you set it to "Patience" by GnR, it'll be just as good as this one.

  13. Bravo. Tremendous work.

    4:09 - Somebody holding up a quote from the bible.

    You're awesome.

  14. I feel like I'm in a Leafs class with a slightly off-kilter, but ultimately, coolest teacher I know whenever I come to this site.

    Next lesson?

  15. Words cannot begin to describe the awesomeness that is that video.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


  16. If Dan is reading this, and I'm sure he is, he must be commended for a seminal piece of work.

    I used to do video/sound editing for a living, and I have to tell you, if that was a novice effort, you have fantastic talent.

    The most brilliant part of this video is something which wouldn't seem so obvious as first. The pacing is absolutely so crisp and perfect. You have tied sound to action so perfectly well, there are professional editors who would be jealous of your effort. Every ebb and flow and cymbal and bass has a corresponding action to it, and that is very, very hard to do. You can usually see this kind of quality editing on a network broadcast, but they normally will actually edit the music to match the video, not the other way around. You didn't touch the sound one bit, and crafted your clips around the song.

    Marvelous work.

    The only similar work I have seen by an amateur would be a tribute to Steve Yzerman, but even that isn't in the same ballpark of professionalism.


    It's really too bad that you only had old VHS tapes to work with (props to you, BTW. So much more time consuming than digital). I dearly wish the video quality was better because this video should have been the one shown on Wendel's tribute night.

  17. Oh, and about Bruce Bell.

    He runs a hockey school in Lethbridge these days. He never mentions the fact he was a St. Louis Blue. He was a Nordique first. I think it's because he got tired of being asked "Were you the guy in St. Louis who got dismembered behind the net by Wendel Clark?"

    Anyways, Bruce has the only bio of a player I've ever seen that includes receiving a bodycheck as a career highlight. Sprained shoulder my ass. More like "internal organ reorganization"


    "... Missed part of 1986-87 season with sprained left shoulder, suffered when he was checked by Wendel Clark in St. Louis' Jan. 21, 1987, game at Toronto. .."

  18. Jesus dude. This is awesome.

    You're like the Simpsons. Everytime I go to write something...ah fuck DGB alrady did it better.

  19. DGB, you're pure genius Bud!

    This was classic. I am at work and cant get YouTube here but I have seen the video a solid 300 times so I can recall each shot.

    Your descriptions are dead on and commentary nothing short of brilliant.

    "The birth of whats her name" LMFAO!

  20. Favourite Line:

    "The Bruce Bell hit. Rumor has it that to this day whenever Wendel Clark sneezes, one of Bruce Bell's lungs explodes."

  21. Not that it matters, but the "miscellaneous Hab" was Benoit Brunet, moments before he died.

  22. keeps raising that bar ... till he sees God.
    Great stuff DGB!

  23. an amazing tribute to an amazing tribute to an amazing hockey player. there will never be another Wendel. as usual, your commentary is spot on and hilarious.
    seeing his body of work in this video makes me wonder: did Probert fight Wendel because he was high or was he addicted to coke because he fought Wendel?

  24. 0:16 - The classic "dressing room shot", taken from the second greatest Wendel compilation of all time: the CBC's "Only the Strong Survive".

    Two things about this video.

    1) I remember watching this one live on CBC and Ron Maclean had one of his best puns to date. It went something like:

    "And that's how they play hockey in the Bryan....Adams....division."

    and 2) Bloge Salming fact...the producers of the movie "Top Gun" wanted to use that song, but Adams didn't want his song to be used in what he perceived to be a "pro war" movie.

    His manager must beat the shit out of him everyday for that...

  25. Brilliant good sir. Simply brilliant.

  26. @DGB:
    Our hockey minds are one and the same. There is no one I'd rather share All Heart with, nor is anyone anywhere near as deserved. You do us all a great service with this blog sir. A great, great service.

    @ Shaner:
    Thanks for the kind words. You are one of my favourite personalities around here so it's particularly awesome to hear this from you. All Heart was a novice effort all the way. There was one single reason why/how I managed to gather the resources (and patience) to put it together - my lifelong admiration of the protagonist. I don't think I could do this kind of stuff for a living. Or ever again, for that matter.

    @ Everyone:
    It means so much to me that there are so many Wendel fans out there who can identify with this video. The fact that old-timers get goosebumps and kids disbelieve what they're seeing makes everything worthwhile.

    @ Wendel
    I bet you haven't even seen this yet. You're that humble.

  27. This video is the best thing pretty much ever. Dan you should probably win the Nobel prize for awesomeness for having created it.

    However, it does make me kind of sad realizing that Wendel was not only everything you'd ever want in a hockey player, he played in the greatest era in hockey history. It is sad knowing that hockey will never be that good again...

  28. Poor Dave Mackey. After Wendel ate his soul, rumour has it Dave went on to front a bad Richie Valens tribute band. One particular evening, Wendel along with Brian Curran and Garth Iorg from the Blue Jays, went to a bar that Mackey was playing in, saw Wendel walk through the door and Dave Mackey face melted right on stage out of fear!. Story goes Mackey was about to bellow out La Bamba when all he got to was La Bammm, and then out of sheer terror his face melted like he was in the temple of doom! Wendel went on to have a couple of shots and scored a hat trick the next night. True Story :)

  29. As a general rule, I HATE Toronto, the city, and the team.

    I will however concede that my team (Ottawa) has never, and will never have a player like that.

  30. jeez you weren't kidding when you mentioned the homer-ism regarding the mark hardy incident (I don't refer to it as a fight, in the same way I don't refer to Godzilla eating a Japanese man a fight). That was downright retarded commentary.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBIuvdZwwxk&feature=related

  33. As an Isles fan, I suppose any comment about Wendel Clark will remind people of those god-awful fisherman jerseys, but I'll take that chance.

    Clark and Kirk Muller spent part of a season together on the Isles. Muller pouted like a baby the whole time until he got traded. Clark manned up and played his heart out on a very bad team. For that, I'll always respect the man.

  34. I just tried to rate that 5 stars at least ten times...