If you’re anything like me, this necessary increase in social distancing has directly correlated with a rise in YouTube consumption time. It truly is a treasure trove of magnificent entertainment. I certainly recommend visiting the NBC Sports Philadelphia YouTube channel when you have a chance.
So while we wait for the live games to come back, I thought we could sift through some Philly YouTube treasures together. Here’s one of my favorites: the tribute video from Bobby Clarke Night.
This was played on Arenavision at the Spectrum on Nov. 15, 1984. Clarke retired the previous season and immediately became the team’s general manager.
So let’s break this video down:
• 0:00-0:17 — Slow pan up on a photo of a young Robert Earle Clarke, which the name graphic makes clear for anyone that might have been confused by who was being honored on Bobby Clarke Night. Clarke properly attired for winter in Manitoba.
• 0:20 — We get a glimpse inside the dressing room of the Flin Flon Bombers, Clarke’s junior hockey team circa 1968, and we find out our music choice for this video is Billy Preston’s “Never Gonna Say Goodbye.” So we’re off to an awesome start here.
• 0:30 — Some early Clarke-era Flyers video draws a reaction from the Spectrum faithful.
• 0:51 — We fast forward to some 70s Clarke video as he wears the largest captain’s “C” a uniform has ever seen. Hey, there’s a guy in a leather jacket and tie applauding. Classic looks on and off the ice.
• 1:00 — It took a minute but we have our first actual goal in this highlight compilation, albeit a less-than-thrilling tap-in against the Canadiens.
• 1:28 — The crowd roars as Clarke is shown being introduced as a member of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. Not surprisingly, Valeri Kharlamov was not invited to the festivities.
• 1:45 — Another loud applause. This time for video of Clarke taking part in the warmup at an All-Star Game. Odd time to ramp up the cheering. But OK. Didn’t need much to get a mid 80s Flyers crowd going.
• 2:05 — So the second goal we see in this highlight video is the most important one in Flyers history: Clarke’s OT game-winner in Game 2 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final. If they don’t win that game, it’s very unlikely they win the Cup that year. And who knows what would happen the next year if they don’t win in ‘74?
• 2:18 — Immediate transition to Clarke and Bernie Parent skating the Cup around the Spectrum ice. Loudest applause so far. Then, it cuts to the last second or two of the following year’s Cup win with Clarke celebrating in the faceoff circle in Buffalo. For my money, this is one of the best hockey celebrations ever. Clarke, with arms raised, leaps twice and then practically marches back to celebrate in the crease.
• 3:00 — OK, I hate to keep harping on this but we’re at the three-minute mark and we’ve seen Clarke score two goals. It’s his career highlight video. He scored 358 regular-season goals. Feel free to sprinkle a few more in there.
• 3:20 — WE GET ANOTHER GOAL! And it’s spectacular. Clarke scores from the seat of his pants in Detroit. For some reason, it’s SUUUUUUUPPPPPPPEEEEERRRRRRRR slo-mo. That’s followed by a not-quite-as-slow slo-mo on a breakaway goal against the North Stars. Up to four goals. I wonder if the slo-mos are so slow because this is when the editor realized “Never Gonna Say Goodbye” is a long song.
• 3:26 — The goals are coming fast and furious now. This one is the 300th of Clarke’s NHL career in a home game against the Red Wings. The highlight here? A priest in the crowd holding up three fingers to acknowledge the feat. Good hockey knowledge, Father.
• 4:07 — To borrow from comedian John Mulaney, this is where the video goes from good to great for me. Clarke takes a slap shot in the head, without a helmet mind you, from teammate Reggie Leach. Clarke’s knees hit the ice for about one-tenth of a second before the irresistible sense of pride that fuels Clarke forces him immediately back to his feet. We see blood pouring down Clarke’s face as future Hall of Famer Ray Bourque flashes in the background. Then, Clarke gives Leach a stick tap as if to say, “Keep those coming.” What a warrior.
• 4:22 — Next we see Clarke pick up his 1,000th career point in that very same game. You know, the one where he took a slap shot to the head. As we see the celebration of the goal, notice the blood all over Clarke’s sweater. Hockey player. Also, it’s a chance to enjoy Mel Bridgman’s old-school JOFA bucket.
• 5:06 — The video appropriately ends with the most famous shot of Clarke, his toothless grin in Buffalo following the second Cup victory as the crowd erupts in cheers.
Here are my final stats on this video:
• Five minutes, 24 seconds
• Seven goals, zero assists shown
• One ridiculously tough legend
A true masterpiece. So happy to have come across it.
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