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Gillie was only involved in 71 fights during his NHL career, but was much regarded as the most feared fighter of his era. His reputation was established after his destruction of Dave Schultz on live TV during the 1975 Playoffs. Over the next few years, Gillies fought few opponents but beat them all with the exception of Danny Gare. Some of the other opponents he faced during that time included Tiger Williams, Terry O'Reilly, and Dave Hoyda. During the 1980 Playoffs, against the Boston Bruins, Gillies fought Terry O'Reilly four times and Al Secord once en route to the Islanders first of four Stanley Cups. The next year, Gillies was first embarrassed by Behn Wilson in a one sided loss and then beat Stan Jonathan easily. Over the next few years, Gillies was fairly quiet except for the KO of Ed Hospodar. During that time, he also won three more Stanley Cups. During the 198384 season, Gillies fought the fierce rookie Marty McSorley and avenged his loss to Wilson in a very debated fight as to who really one. There have been various viewpoints and interviews conducted and most signs point to Gillies, and even Wilson himself declared Gillies the winner according to Gillies. In 1985, on New Year's Eve, Gillies almost fought a young Bob Probert, but the linesman stepped in before anything could happen. In 1986 signed with the Buffalo Sabres where he finished his career. During his last two years, he fought Shane Churla, Lyndon Byers, and Terry Carkner.
Quotes on Gillies
Mel Bridgman: He was valuable as a player, but everybody knew he was as tough as there was and could hurt you BIG TIME.
Bob Nystrom: He had a reputation for a reason.
Larry Playfair: Gillies was just downright "scary looking". I have huge respect for Clark Gillies both as a player and as an accomplished fighter when he had to.
Dave Schultz: Gillies would be number two [after O’Reilly]. I only fought him twice, but he was big and strong. I was 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, a pretty fair sized guy and then Clark Gillies comes along. He was 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and he didn't fight a lot, but I fought him a couple times. All the guys that I did a fair amount of fighting with, I had a lot of respect for.
Al Secord: Gillies was a player who didn't have to fight too often, because he was simply one of the best and toughest ever. We were playing a playoff series against the Isles and O'Reilly had fought with Gillies a few times. I thought I'd give O'Reilly a break and fight Gillies myself. I engaged in the fight by punching Gillies with my glove. When he dropped his gloves and I saw his fists, I got nervous. His fists were so unbelievably big, and he was a big guy, too. All I saw were his hands. He punched me twice and I went down.
Stan Jonathan: The hardest punch I ever took was from Gillies.
Jimmy Mann: Never fought him but he was the most feared fighter the game had in his era. Scary, scary punching power. His destruction of Hospodar was well known and revered throughout the league. Nobody really wanted to test an enraged Gillies.
quotes courtesy of Eddie Shore from hockeyfights.com