"I've had guys in positions where I could finish them off and I've either laid off or I haven't thrown a punch as hard as I could. And I think guys have done that for me. I personally never want to see a guy face-down on the ice as a result of me punching him in the face. That's not saying I don't want to inflict some sort of pain on the guy. Yeah, I want to punch him in the head and beat him and win the fight and have my fans behind me and have my team fired up. But I don't want to knock a guy out. When a guy gets knocked out, man, the building goes dead silent.
"You want to win your fight. It's a competition. It's like any other thing. You want to win your fight. This isn't a war. This isn't a war where you're trying to kill someone. Although guys say, 'I'm a warrior and I'm going to war' and all that stuff. It's a war under the terms of the game, the rules of the game.
"Listen, it's a necessary evil in the game. If I ever heard a guy laughing about how he knocked a guy out cold, I'd probably say something to him, and I have done that. You have to have respect for your opponent.
"I run around as much as anybody else in the league. I run my mouth at the other team, I fight a lot, but at the end of the day, I've never been suspended for a hit, I've been fined, and I've never clipped a guy in the head with a hit and I've never knocked anybody out cold and I don't want to do either of those things. And they need to get that out of the game."
Sometimes it's not only about knowing when a fight is over but when to take a break.
"It's not a UFC fight," Clune said. "In the UFC, if you watch it, they wait 'til the guy can't defend himself for a TKO. They let the finish happen. And then they break it up. In hockey, I think the [linesmen], if they can get in there before a finish, they do. I know there's guys that when the jersey comes over the face they'll keep swinging. I think that's bulls---. A lot of my fights happen because guys are coming after me, so they're actually pissed off at me. So if they get the jersey over my head, I've taken some shots. But I think if a jersey's over the head, you've got to kind of wait, let the guy see, that being said some guys they want to get the win and they want to get it over with."
No doubt his chosen line of work and the manner in which he performs that line of work has made for some difficult moments for those close to Clune. But he said they have made their peace with the kind of player he is, for the most part.
"It bugs my grandparents. It bugs my parents, yeah. It doesn't bug them if they know I'm playing hard and a fight happens, a fight happens. If I'm in the lineup making plays and playing hockey and doing all that stuff. They can see the difference though when I'm frustrated and I'm going out there and looking for it and trying to pick fights with people, I think they get a little upset. They don't want to see me get in there with one of those super heavyweights," he said.
Just because a guy isn't afraid to drop the gloves doesn't mean he's prepared to drop them indiscriminately.
"I pick my spots. I'm not going to fight Colton Orr. I'm not going to fight Zdeno Chara unless there's an absolutely necessary reason like they ran over [Pekka Rinne] or Shea Weber and it was a black and white thing and I was there. But I'm not going to go out there and try and prove myself to a super heavyweight who if he catches me is probably going to knock me out cold," he said.