Anatomy of a fight

Speaking of Orr, the Maple Leafs' tough guy has been edging for a bout with Clune this season, but Clune has avoided that confrontation.

"I said, listen man, it's not going to happen. Don't care if the other team calls me chicken, if fans around the league, whatever. I didn't make the NHL by fighting guys like that," Clune said.

For a player like Clune, there are also the competing emotions of performing a task that is clearly defined on the team while also wanting to be more than a one-trick pony.

"I don't even like calling myself a fighter. In this game and in this world, perception's reality," Clune said. "Look at my stats this year. I have no points, I've played about half the games and I'm leading our team in fights and penalty minutes, so perception's kind of reality. That's just the way it is. I've always been a guy, I've liked to mix points and goals and assists in with that. It's not happening right now and it's pissing me off, but I just got to push through and hopefully turn it around.

"I know I've got a lot of work to do to become the player that I want to be, and right now it's just a combination of being in a slump and, if you don't play every game and you're not playing a lot of minutes, it's going to take longer to get out of it than Claude Giroux, who plays five minutes a night on the power play.

"It's a tough time right now."

Still, Clune is nothing if not self-aware. And the fact is, being a fighter is part of who he is; it does not define him but it is part of his makeup now.

"You want to be known as a guy that can hit, skate, fight, make plays, disciplined, but at the same time, it's not by accident that I'm kind of a wild card. That's what separated me from a lot of guys for me to get here. But you don't want to be known as a one-dimensional guy," Clune said. "If I'm coaching a team, why would I want one of those guys on the team, what benefit is that?"

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