David Clarkson did what he always does in last night's meeting between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. He ran his mouth and pulled his usual antics in attempt to get the Rangers off of their game. For some reason he believes that he can singlehandedly change the focus of the entire club, and not only that, but a Blueshirts squad that isn't fazed by very much at all. You can try all you want, but you will never get this team off track through pee-wee antics, and I give head coach John Tortorella some of the credit for instilling that mentality ever since he took over behind the bench several years back.
Anyway, Clarkson was not given the attention he wanted and ended up receiving a 10-minute game misconduct when he got out of control in the opening period. Upon returning, he still continued to mix it up with big Mike Rupp and several others until he went to an ultimate extreme out of desperation. He proceeded to leap into the air in the direction of New York forward Brandon Dubinsky's head along the boards. Thankfully Dubinsky was not harmed on the play and immediately took exception and dropped the gloves with Clarkson.
The beating he applied on Clarkson, by the way, was well deserved and I'm sure much appreciated on the Rangers' bench.
Brendan Shanahan and the National Hockey League have no choice but to take a second look at this hit, and it will be an absolute crime if Clarkson is not suspended. Why? It's more because of Clarkson's intents throughout the game than just the hit alone. He's an attention-seeking rat in a league that is attempting to sustain a professional persona in comparison to other major league sports. To have a guy like Clarkson running around out there making a joke of the game and ultimately leaping into players is a downright embarrassment.
I had seats five rows up behind Henrik Lundqvist's net last night, and several times I saw him take whacks or intentionally bump into Hank behind the play where it will go unnoticed. It's just uncalled for. It's one thing to agitate, but it's another to take cheap shots.
If the league wants to rid themselves of this sort of behavior, they need to rid themselves of the players first. It's a shame because Clarkson can actually be an effective hockey player, but he instead chooses to be an instigator who not only instigates, but pushes buttons until he must face some sort of disciplinary action. He's out of control.
Intentionally trying to injure someone by lunging at their head is not only cowardly but it also speaks to self-character (or lack thereof) and self-control. It makes the NHL look extremely bad, especially since they are trying to get more kids involved with the sport at a younger age. Would you, as a parent, want your young child thinking it's okay to throw their body at someone's head because they are not getting attention? Absolutely not, but sadly Clarkson's childish antics leave us in this position.
Let's face it; the era of goons in the National Hockey League is long over.