Friday, November 21, 2008

Respecting Two Rivals

Two former NHL warriors are getting their numbers raised to the rafters by their respective teams on Saturday: Montreal's Patrick Roy and Toronto's Wendel Clark.

By my quick research, Roy finished his career 21-10-4 against the Blueshirts, with the highlight being the victor against Vezina winner John Vanbiesbrouck and the Rangers in the 1986 playoffs on the way to the Stanley Cup.

Here is a classic Roy moment against the Rangers:

I don't know what is more impressive, that Roy would try that or just how much fun Sam and J.D. had calling the play. (Joe Micheletti has got to go.)

Quick great story: my dad met Roy back in the early 90s at a Canadiens practice right before my birthday and he asked for an autograph for me. Roy signed a sheet of paper wishing me a happy birthday (which I still treasure) and my dad told him that I wanted to be a goalie one day. Roy's response? "Why??" Priceless.

The way Clark played was far from priceless - the bruising winger made his opponents pay the price every game. Clark played Old Time Hockey the way it was meant to be done and had a strong NHL career. Everyone remembers his rough and tumble work for Toronto, but he did spend some time on Long Island.

Clark was traded to the Isles before the '95-96 season by Quebec and had 43 points in 58 games with 60 PIM. Two of those points came in the three games that he played against the Rangers but both were assists despite putting 10 shots on goal. Clark was shipped off of the Island before the end of the season to his old team of Toronto along with Matt Schneider in return for Kenny Jonsson and the first round pick that turned out to be Roberto Luongo of all people. Trippy, right?

If that doesn't make you dislike him, then perhaps his demolition of Ranger defenseman Mark Hardy will in some classic Youtube gold:

Sadly injuries cut his career short but his reputation was cemented and he is a god in Toronto. And despite the harsh end to Roy's time in Montreal, he is still loved by the hardcore Habs fans. That kind of respect can't be quantified but it can be appreciated so congratulations to both of them for being recognized for all they gave to their teams; I am just glad we don't have to face either of them ever again ...

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