“I don’t have any. They’re all favourites,” says Clark. “I never had a favourite growing up. I never idolized anyone growing up. Probably because I didn’t watch much. We lived in Saskatchewan. We didn’t get the games like today, or like if you lived in Ontario.”
Who was your favourite Maple Leaf before you joined the NHL?
Sittler: I liked Tim Horton. Consistent every night.
Vaive: My dad was from Gatineau and was die-hard Habs fan. I had to pretend I was a Canadiens fan when he was around. But you look at Dave Keon, Tim Horton, George Armstrong, Johnny Bower, the way they played and what they did for the organization, the number of Cups they won is pretty special.
Who became your favourite Maple Leaf after you played here?
Sittler: I always enjoyed Dougie Gilmour, his tenaciousness, his competitiveness.
Vaive: I finished in 1993. Since then, it’s been a little bit lean. Mats Sundin is the only real star they’ve had. Maybe Gary Roberts, Shayne Corson, Darcy Tucker. Guys that had some good years and some good runs.
Gilmour: The guy that took over, Mats. He was a great guy, he came to work every day, put up great numbers. One of those big, skilled power forwards that don’t come along very often. I loved watching him play. He got the goal on my 1,000th point.
Which Maple Leaf do you look forward to seeing the most this season?
Vaive: I’m really excited to see Matthews play. I’ve seen enough of him that he reminds me of Sidney Crosby, and the way he plays, his lower-body strength, and his ability not to get knocked off the puck. When you compare guys to Sidney Crosby, that’s pretty high company.
Who in your mind is the best Leaf ever?
Vaive: Besides me? I would have to say Dave Keon. I don’t think anyone was better overall. The years he played, the success he had, the way he played. I don’t know if there was a better Leaf of all time than Dave Keon.