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.
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 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.
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
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.)