By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Things didnt work out for Chris Clark with the Bruins, but that doesnt mean the 35-year-old veterans NHL career is kaput.
Quite the contrary, in fact, it would appear the former captain of the Washington Capitals impressed his short-term teammates with his straightforward approach to the game of hockey, his no-nonsense work ethic and the commitment it took to break his nose in a fight with Michael Haley during the Bs final preseason game against the New York Islanders.
The fight and busted-up nose showed just how tough a customer Clarkstill is a fact that longtime puckacquaintances like Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton already knew to be true and he also made plenty of offensive plays in his handful of exhibition games, including a game-winning goal against the Canadiens in Bell Centre.
Despite all that and despite the Bruins inviting him to their two-day team-bonding trip in Maine Clark was released from his training camp tryout by the Bruins organization. The transaction was lost in the shuffle of everything else going on over the last couple of days, but it's clear the Bruins felt that the future is now with 2008 first round pickJordan Caron.
It seemed like it might have been a tough choice, but Bostons organizational depth didnt really allow for an outside veteran influence given a series of Bs prospects ready to break through from the AHL level.
It was a tough call," said coach Claude Julien. "I was one of the guys standing up here saying hes got good experience and good leadership qualities, and at the end of the day -- as a whole group -- a tough decision was made. It was a decision not so much for the present, but maybe for the future with what we feel we have as depth.
Anybody can ask me the question right now and Ill answer without hesitation: Chris Clark can still play in the NHL. Thats not a question. We just had too much depth. I think it would have been tough for him to fit in our top 12, and its a lot easier to show the leadership qualities when youre in the mix of regular players. Its hard to go in there and try to be a leader when youre not really fitting into the top 12. There are a lot of things that went into our thoughts, but the one thing I do hope is that he hooks up with some NHL team . . . because hes still an NHL caliber player.
Its difficult timing for Clark right at the start of the regular season, but anything can happen once injuries start popping up and NHL teams comes searching for a veteran bottom-six forward capable of providing a little grit and offense. Thats the kind of job Clark could still master at his advanced NHL age, and proved he was ready for during training camp.