It is hard to tell who made more news last week, Hillary Clinton or Bob Clarke.

The Clintons roiled one country. Clarke managed to unhinge an entire continent.

If you know anything about the former Flyers general manager, you realize two things: (1) he's a throwback; and (2) the team he so proudly led for 40 years is sports' museum piece.

The Clarkes are from a different era and we can't judge them by the standards of the modern world.

What Clarke did last week - viscerally defending a player widely accused of being the latest in a long list of hockey goons - was a direct outgrowth of his age and the era he represents.

He grew up on Gordie Howe and Big John Ferguson and an ethic that demanded an eye for an eye. It was a time when teams backed their tough guys to the limit.

This is not to defend cheap-shot artists, attempts to injure or "goonism" in general. It's just to point out that modern sports fans, raised in an era of gentle tolerance, live in what amounts to a foreign country.

Bob Clarke is the president of Hockey North America and the rest of you be damned!

That flinty-eyed approach is what made a skinny diabetic from the mines of Manitoba a member of the Hall of Fame. It's what enabled him to dominate a whole sport for some years with a skill set somewhat inferior to, say, Jean Ratelle.

It's also what made him a winner.

Those who followed the Broad Street Bullies will remember the summer of 1972, when Canada met the then-fearsome Soviet Union in an eight-game series to settle the issue of world hockey superiority.

The best player in the world that year was Soviet forward Valery Kharlamov, a sinister combination of incredible skill and Red Army toughness.

Kharlamov would become the most penalized Soviet in the series. The most penalized Canadian was, you guessed it, young Bob Clarke.

Years later Ferguson, who had been an assistant with Team Canada, recalled the incident that turned the series in Canada's favor.

"I called Clarke over to the bench, looked over at Kharlamov and said, 'I think he needs a tap on the ankle,' " Ferguson recalled. "I didn't think twice about it. It was Us versus Them. And Kharlamov was killing us. I mean, somebody had to do it."

There remains debate over exactly what happened next. Some say Clarke broke Kharlamov's left ankle with his stick. Some say his slashing tactics just slowed the Russian down.

Kharlamov finished Game 6, but couldn't play in Game 7 and was a nonfactor in Game 8.

Canada, which had lost two of the four games in the Great White North and was down, 3-1-1 after the first game in Moscow, wound up winning the next three and the series, 4-3-1.

Bob Clarke was the toast of his homeland and won three MVP awards in the next four National Hockey League seasons.

He was among the very greatest of his era. But his era was long, long ago.

Trivia time. Who scored the winning goal in Canada's epic, 6-5, victory in Game 8 in Moscow?

About time. The Bowl Championship Series is conducting a reassessment of its format that could lead to a mini-playoff in the only NCAA sport that lacks such a conclusion: Division I football.

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford, the new head of the BCS, is in favor of matching the top four teams in two of the existing bowls, then having the two winners meet the week after to determine who's No. 1.

The ACC, SEC, Big Twelve and Big East are cautiously in favor. The Pac-10 and Big Ten are opposed.

Further thought is needed. But at least somebody is finally thinking.

Trivia answer. Paul Henderson of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who also led Canada with seven goals in the series.

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