You’ve got to love Bobby Clarke.| He’s 58 and hasn’t taken the jock off yet. Yesterday, the former Flyers general manager, who played 15 years in the NHL and is in the Hall of Fame, created yet another buzz.Clarke not only went to the defense of Flyer Steve Downie – a permissible stance by any team exec – but he implied that the victim of a sucker punch deserved the shot.“I loved it,” said Clarke of Downie’s fist to the face of Toronto’s Jason Blake.Alarm bells went off all over North America.
Downie was suspended for the season’s first 20 games for a preseason hit on Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond.
In the days after that, Blake implied that the 20-game suspension wasn’t enough.
Re-enter Downie. On Saturday, in just his fourth NHL game, the Flyers rookie went after Blake, punching him in the left eye while the victim was being held by officials during a scuffle.
“Blake was a guy who had no problem going out and saying he should be suspended for life or suspended for the year,” Clarke told The Sports Network of Canada. “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. If a player like Blake, who’s been around as long as he has, wants to criticize a player, then he has to go on the ice with him and suffer the consequences.”
Blake shrugged it off.
Clarkie, who broke Valery Kharlamov’s ankle with his stick in the 1972 World Cup, played in the days when an eye demanded an eye.
He still lives there.