Each NHL Team’s Biggest Character: Minnesota Wild: Cal Clutterbuck
Alright my Minnesotans, you’re up! Few expansion teams have seen as much financial and fan success as the Minnesota Wild, but why wouldn’t they, it’s the Hockey State! (not officially or anything but whatever) They haven’t had many faces that have stood out since their inception; Backstrom and Koivu has probably been the franchises two biggest faces but in the 2008-09 a man named Cal Clutterbuck got called up to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and never so much as gave the Huston Aeros a wave goodbye. Clutterbuck was immediately embraced by the fans and earned himself a great spot at the Xcel Energy Center. Clutterbuck is an extremely exciting player to watch. His physical game is a huge driving force for his team’s blue-collar style of hockey. Clutterbuck is ferocious all over the ice and isn’t afraid of anyone. He’ll hit you, hit you, hit you and just for the hell of it hit you again, an absolute wrecking ball out there because he’s constantly throwing his body around the ice. He pumps out more hits than Lady Gaga and Drake combined and more he’s got more blocks than a brand new box of LEGOs. As a matter of fact, in the 2008-09 season (his first full season in the NHL, mind you) he broke Drew Doughty’s record for most hits in a season by tallying 356 himself (the previous record was 311). But it’s not like he’s got a god-given gift of size, standing at 5’11” and 215lbs. he’s not the biggest guy on the ice. Maybe it’s a little bit of a Napoleon Complex for being under 6′ tall, but whatever it is don’t stop, Cal! It’s safe to say that Clutterbuck is a very versatile player, he not only fights and hits but he’s been known to tally some point last season he had 19 goals, 15 assists totaling for 34 points. Not by any means all-star numbers but for his style of play (which every team needs) he doesn pretty darn well. And while Cal’s play on the ice is fun to watch it’s his persona that makes him a fan favorite.
NHL commentator Don Cherry once said that Cal Clutterbuck has “the prototypical hockey player name”, and I have to agree. It’s not too short or long, it’s alliterative and it just flows off the tongue, doesn’t it? It’s a name that doesn’t lose it touch no matter how many times you say it. Clutterbuck sounds like either two things to me: either 1) A really dirty word that has yet to be defined in the English language or 2) some kind of mythical horse (i.e. grab me my Clutterbuck and lets ride!). No matter how you feel about the guy I think we can all agree he has an awesome name. But what’s even more awesome than his name is his hair. I have never seen anyone wet and perfectly comb their hair with a side part before warm ups. It’s hilarious, he looks so distinguished out there among the rest of the hockey goons. I just wrote a whole post on how flow is the hockey hair most envied, but I would put Classy Cal Clutterbuck’s side part right on the same level as some nice flow. Great name, great hair, great hits, what more could you want out of this guy? Answer: great facial hair. Clutterbuck’s moustache is beginning to gain some respect around the league. It sits above his upper lip like the guardian of his face. No one is exempt from the physical punishment he doles out on the ice, if you get in Cal’s way he WILL hit you. Cal doesn’t need to say this of course because he lets his moustache do the talking, just one look at it and you realize that it, like Cal, is stern… stern but fair.Sometime he gives us a gift and allows the stache to grow down giving us a handlebar moustache. The handlebar screams badass and unlike his normal stache, the handlebar takes no prisoners, so get out of the way. If you’re interested in following his moustache on twitter you can find it at @ClutterStache, it’s quite hilarious.
In short, Cal’s intimidating yet versatile style of play, his great hair and stache combo and his interesting and fun to say name make him the Minnesota Wild’s biggest character.