Blake 'had it coming'

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

A black-eyed Jason Blake had it coming in the opinion of Philadelphia Flyers vice-president Bob Clarke.

The charter member of the Broad St. Bullies defended Steve Downie's sucker punch on Blake last Saturday during an appearance on TSN's Off The Record, in which he also said NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell over-reacted with a 20-game suspension to Downie for a pre-season hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond.

"When he went after Blake, I loved it," the ex-Flyer GM said. "Blake was a guy who had no problem going out saying that he should be suspended for life or suspended for a year (for the hit on McAmmond). When you do that and say something that stupid, why shouldn't this kid go after him?

"The kid did what every hockey player should do: stand up for himself."

The problem was that Downie bopped Blake in the left eye while he was being restrained from coming to Alex Steen's defence after Blake claimed the Flyer crosschecked him.

"I like Downie as a hockey player," Clarke added. "I don't know him real well as a kid. But he did some things that the league frowned on. He went after Blake, the league got mad at him and fined him, but the kid did the right thing."

Blake, who suffered no structural damage and played last night in Anaheim, shrugged off Clarke's comments.

"Maybe I shouldn't have said what I said in October," Blake said, "But a lot of people said the same thing."

SIMON SAYS SWITZERLAND

According to a European club hockey web site, ex-Leaf Simon Gamache has rejoined Bern of the Swiss League. Gamache was at odds with Leafs general manager John Ferguson about getting his release from the Marlies after it appeared doubtful he'd get another call up after two goals and two assists in 11 games with the Leafs.

The diminutive Quebec native became nostalgic for Bern after helping Canada to victory in last month's Spengler Cup. Gamache had 66 points in 44 games with Bern last year.

CROWDS JUST DUCKY

After selling just 7,000 season tickets after the lockout, Anaheim has now capped sales at 15,000 and sold out for the 57th consecutive game last night. That's third among American teams in the NHL.

Though they've attracted a few disgruntled Kings' fans since winning the Stanley Cup, their Orange County-based ownership has concentrated on local sales, unlike the baseball Angels who changed their name from Anaheim to Los Angeles and marketed aggressively in the L.A. area.


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