If there’s one guy that can speak about the dangers of suffering an injury while fighting, it’s Toronto forward David Clarkson — and on Wednesday he did exactly that, weighing in on the scrap that saw OHL Erie wunderkind Connor McDavid break his hand.
“I liked what he did,” Clarkson said this morning. “You don’t like to see a guy get hurt, but I thought the kid was bugging him and he addressed it. He did a great job.”
Clarkson, as you might’ve noticed, is playing hockey these days with a visor, required after suffering a broken orbital bone while fighting Buffalo’s Cody McCormick… in the preseason:
Clarkson’s fighting ways have been a constant topic of conversation. With over 60 scraps in his career, it’s a defined part of his game — but there are those who contest that, for a guy being paid $5.25 million annually, the risks associated with fighting are too great. (Erie is now taking a similar line of thought with McDavid; on Wednesday, Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch came out and said the club doesn’t want its prized superstar fighting.)
Fighting’s double-edged sword is something Clarkson knows all about.
It can be a huge lift for teammates, but personally damaging. Clarkson missed the first 10 games of last season to suspension after jumping off the bench to engage in exhibition game line brawl, which derailed his first campaign in Toronto. This season, he’s yet to fight — the shield and injury all but prevent it — and is playing pretty well, leading some to speculate that without fisticuffs on the table, Clarkson is a more complete hockey player.
Just don’t tell him that.
“I don’t plan on changing,” he told Sportsnet late last month. “At the end of the day I’m going to go back to fighting and doing the things I’ve always done.”