Monday, February 23, 2009

Dear Grapes,

The button you're holding is in honor of Cal Clutterbuck, a player you attempted to shame on HNIC a few weeks ago for wearing a visor in a couple of fights. You essentially watched a few fight clips of the guy and decided he was "a coward."

Well, I know it's your job to be outlandish and get people talking, and if that's your only goal, then you nailed it. As far as I can tell, you got pretty much everyone who's ever had Cal on their favorite team atwitter, because they know what kind of person and player Cal is from watching him night in and night out. And they all know you're dead wrong.

I've heard two sentiments consistently:

  1. I like Cherry and usually agree with him, but he's way off base here.
  2. Cherry would have LOVED Cal on his Bruins when he was coaching.
I really encourage you to actually watch a player play a whole game, even a couple of games, before deciding what kind of person he is. Because if you did your homework, you'd understand and appreciate what kind of player Cal is.

Let's count the ways in which he is awesome:
  • He is one of the hardest working guys in hockey, giving 110% of everything he's got every shift of every game. He hits relentlessly, plays through pain and injury and illness. The only time I've ever seen him have to leave a game this season was when he was partially, temporarily blinded by a hit on him (and if you watch a game, you'll see he takes as many hits as he dishes out).
  • He's mature well beyond his years in the way he thinks the game. For a rookie, his decision-making with and without the puck is first rate.
  • He's absolutely fearless in his commitment to physical play. Cowards don't dish out 232 hits in 54 games AND back them up if necessary (though he's not a "tough guy" as you suggest... if he fought every player who wanted to drop the mitts for his clean hits, he'd do nothing else).
  • Cal isn't afraid to pay the price of going to the net (in fact, I have yet to find any price he's not willing to pay to help the team). And he's developed a pretty wicked wrist shot, which adds valuable offense to his defensive and checking responsibilities.
  • He gives a ton of time to fans and to the hockey community. Check this out. I can't even count the number of appearances he's done this season, even filling in when teammates are unable to make engagements.
Admittedly, the Cal for Calder campaign is a little tongue in cheek. The guys with the big offensive numbers are always going to beat out the third line checkers and hitmen like Cal. But our contention is that no single player on the Wild roster, other than Niklas Backstrom, has had such a consistent, noticeable, positive impact on this team all season long as Cal. And few have come from such low expectations to become such a critical piece of the puzzle.

The guy is 21, just getting started in the league, has tons of upside and a huge career ahead of him. Give him a real look sometime; watch a whole Wild game. Let go of the outdated stigmas and you'll love our little wrecking ball just like we all do.

Sincerely,

Clutterbuck Nation

3 comments:

Fred  February 23, 2009 at 1:43 PM  

Woohoo!

Great letter to grapes. Hopefully he reads it and rethinks the whole "Buttercup" hate.

Don, Bobby Orr would have loved Cal on the Bruins, enough said. :P

walkinvisible  February 23, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

last week i liked clutterbuck. today, my boy gio is having season-ending shoulder surgery.

the plans for payback start now. we are officially enemies.

;)

NETminder1  February 23, 2009 at 6:08 PM  

ms.C, you've totally outdone yourself this time! great post!

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