Great Obscure Moments in Leafs History - An ongoing series to honor the greatest, completely meaningless moments in Toronto Maple Leaf history.
For a few months now, I've been diving into my old Leaf tapes and posting clips on Youtube. It's been fun to hear from fans who remember some of these moments and hadn't seen them in years. And often, I get requests for memorable clips that have never found their way online.
But there's one clip that's easily the most wanted, accounting for almost half the requests I get. And it's not a goal, or a hit, or even a fight. It's the Markov Salute.
More specifically, it's Danny Markov's mocking salute to Jaromir Jagr, delivered moments after Gary Valk ended the 1999 Leafs/Penguins second round series. This was back when Jagr was making a big show of saluting after every goal, and Markov decided to throw one right back at him.
I finally found the clip. Watch for it, right at the end:
A few thoughts.
- Danny Markov was probably insane.
- No, scratch that. Danny Markov was definitely insane. This is the same guy who once attacked a mascot, shot a puck at a referee, and trash-talked the Senators bench after getting hit in the face with a slapshot. He was definitely insane. God I miss him.
- Markov actually salutes Jagr three times. The first two are with a glove on. At that point he starts yelling down the ice, presumably to get Jagr's attention, and then gives him the glove-off version. I loved Danny Markov.
- Um, is that Keith Olbermann?
- You know, for a guy who never passed, Sergei Berezin assisted on a lot of Leaf overtime winners. He set up Garry Valk here, as well as Steve Thomas and Cory Cross. Those were presumably the only three assists of his career.
- A great underrated hockey tradition: when a team wins in overtime and their goalie makes the lonely skate all the way down the ice looking for someone to hug. Curtis Joseph gets completely ignored for 190 feet, then Mike Johnson comes out of nowhere and flattens him. Good times.
- Nice play by Jiri Slegr on the goal. One of the first things they teach you in defenceman school is "When there's a loose puck in the crease, always deliver a sliding dropkick to your goalie's groin."
- Fans of other teams like to say that Bob Cole is secretly a Leafs fan. Maybe they're right, because apparently he also refuses to acknowledge the Leafs' 1994 Conference Finals loss to the Canucks ever happened.
- Tough call for "Most Obscure Guy in the Pile" here, but I'm going to go with a 20-year-old Adam Mair, who makes an appearance a full three years before his rookie season. It's either him or Ladislav Kohn, who was always fantastic in Facts of Life.