Used without permission from LegendsofHockey.net.
Bobby Clarke is a complete and utter imbecile. How this man has a job, let alone a cushy job as senior vice-president of an NHL organization, remains beyond my grasp.
I'm not surprised he jumped to the defence of Steve "Degenerate" Downie on TSN today; this is the same player who slashed Soviet forward Valery Kharlamov, fracturing his ankle and knocking Kharlamov--who was arguably the best offensive forward in the 1972 tournament--out for the remainder. For those who haven't read or heard Clarke's comments, they are as follows:
"When he went after Blake, I loved it. Blake was a guy who had no problem going out and saying [Downie] should be suspended for life or suspended for the year. When you say something that stupid, why shouldn't this kid go after him for it? The kid did what every hockey player should do.
"The hit that Downie threw on McAmmond was not a whole lot different than the hits we all admired, including myself - that Scott Stevens used to do on open ice. He hit lots of heads and hurt lots of people and we said it was great. What Downie did was, it looked like Colin Campbell took it personally, [thinking] 'I told these players they couldn't do that and he did so I'm going to get him.' To suspend him for 20 games is ridiculous. [Dean] McAmmond was a veteran player who was skating and watching his pass and got nailed. Sorry for it, too bad he got hurt but it was his own fault as much as it was Downie's."
You've got to be kidding me. Clarke is the mastermind behind the goonish tactics we've all seen from the Flyers this season, drafting Downie ('05) and Jesse Boulerice ('96), signing Randy Jones ('03) and Riley Cote ('04) before finally "resigning" (read: getting fired gently) part-way through last season, in which the Flyers finished dead last. It wasn't until Paul Holmgren came in as GM that functional players such as Kimmo Timonen, Daniel Briere, and Martin Biron were brought in to try and win games by outplaying instead of outlasting the other team.
As ridiculous as his comments surrounding the Blake incident were, I'm going to focus on his analysis of the hit Downie threw on Dean McAmmond in the pre-season.
First off, let me say this: Steve Downie should have been suspended for the entire season for this hit. Downie, if you're interested in punching me in the eye because I said that, please contact me at email@example.com because I would love to have you charged for assault.
Clarke's ridiculous 'blame the victim' justification and his goonish mentality are the kind of old-school ideology that I personally, and I thought most other hockey fans and pundits, are looking to get the NHL to move away from. I don't know what I hope happens, but Clarke deserves to lose his job and most respect people have for him over this, no matter how many points he got in his career (which, for the record, were a lot: 1210 points in 1144 games).