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08-29-2010, 04:25 AM
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Just out of pure interest I wanted to check, if this talk about Clarke being a slightly disappointing playoff performer was true - especially since in those games I've seen him play (which admittedly are not too many) he has been, well, Bobby Clarke; killer faceoff ability, forechecking and penalty-killing, as well as some elite playmaking. I wanted to concentrate on his numbers in the Stanley Cup finals, and with the help of the Hockey Summary Project site ( this is how those look like:

1974 vs. the Bruins GP: 6* G: 3 A: 3 PPG: 1
1975 vs. the Sabres GP: 6* G: 2 A: 3 PPG: .833...
1976 vs. the Habs GP: 4* G: - A: 3 PPG: .75
1980 vs. the Islanders GP: 6* G: 4 A: 3 PPG: 1.166...

Total: GP: 22* G: 9 A: 12 PPG: .954...

* presumably he played all the games?

So it looks like he was a little more efficient in the finals than in all the rest playoff games he played (--> 98 points in 114 games, PPG: .859...).

When comparing these numbers to his regular season stats, 1975 and 1976 performances are clearly disappointing, stats-wise at least. I think he can be excused for running into a brick wall in the form of the Habs in 1976, but it does seem strange how he dried up after game 2 in the 1975 finals, even if he conciously had concentrated on defense after the two victories.

Then again, 1974 and especially 1980 were seemingly very good serieses for him (certainly evidenced by those few games I've seen). And considering how much Bobby Clarke, if anyone, was more than just about raw numbers... I mean, sure, if a player like Marcel Dionne (my 'whipping boy' ) was held off the scoreboard, what else was there? Bobby Clarke, on the other hand, brought so much more to the table.

A little more about Clarke's international play in best-on-best tournaments/serieses.

In 1972, IMO he was certainly responsible for Paul Henderson's success (mostly in Canada) - and that is what Henderson himself has more or less said. It is true, though, that in those last 3 crucial games he probably wasn't one of the key players for Team Canada; Esposito, Park and Henderson at least were certainly more 'clutch' that time. And of course he was/is a dick for what he did to Kharlamov.

In the 1976 Canada Cup, he was quite mediocre at first and missed a game (was it against USA or Sweden?), but got himself on the scorebord when it mattered, with 2 assists and 1 goal in the last 3 games. Don't forget it was him who scored Canada's 3rd goal in the 2nd final, as well as assisting on the tying goal (at 17:48) that got them into the OT. At the same time, he was brilliant defensively and the captain of the team.

As far as the 1979 Challenge Cup goes, IMO he, along with Gainey and Barber, showed excellent shutout skills (versus Balderis, Zhluktov and Kapustin) in the 1st game, was 'okay' in game 2 and sucked with the rest of the NHL All-Stars in the final game.

Summa Summarum; if one thinks that Bobby Clarke was only mediocre/'good' in the playoffs and poor internationally, that person probably doesn't like him as a player & the set of skills that he had (which weren't flashy at all). But that's just my interpretation.

Last edited by VMBM: 08-30-2010 at 01:34 AM.
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