Rich Clune: Threero Of The Week (March 11-17)
Sometimes Conference III is a prison-gang yard fight.
And sometimes, it’s the NHL’s most elaborate troll job. There’s an Original Six team jammed in with two Sun Belt teams, one of which moved from the home of another team in the division. There’s a Canadian team that moved from the Sun Belt and got dressed up in a history it doesn’t own, like one of those weirdos who breaks into people’s houses and wears their clothes. It’s a Central Time Zone division which includes a Mountain Time team. And also, St. Louis is involved.
This week’s Threero embraces the best of Conference III: being great at what you are even if you are not what people want you to be. It’s fighting when necessary — and refusing to fight when it will irritate the most people. It’s scoring, yes, but only in hilarious ways that make no sense.
If Conference III is the NHL’s mean-mug, our Threero is its smart-ass smirk.
In Nashville’s 4-0 win over Conference III foe and future Official Rival Dallas, Rich Clune jumped out of the penalty box, skated on a breakaway and then earned a penalty shot, which he promptly and deftly converted. He followed it with a gleeful, screaming, fist-bumping celebration and a pitch perfect radio interview:
“If you do your research on the Internet, you’ll find that I went four-for-four in shootouts my last year in juniors- 100 percent, no lie”
Later in the game, after a box-filling donnybrook, Clune drew Jamie Oleksiak into dropping his gloves, while Clune just stared at him blankly. Magnificent. This is especially enjoyable because during the previous Stars-Preds game, Vern “Vernon” Fiddler insinuated to Clune that he’d be on the farm before the teams met again.
It would be easy to heap upon Clune multitudes of platitudes after this very Three-y performance but a true Threero makes people feel All The Emotions, so we were treated to a great piece by Scott Burnside, explaining Clune’s journey to the NHL and the demons he had to defeat.
Many people eyed realignment with a jaundiced and cynical eye — and many Predators fans wondered what the point of Rich Clune was, too. The change from disdain to acclaim has never been quicker in Music City than it was for Dickie C.
He is a true Threero.