Paul Henderson sorry for criticizing Clarke slash

The hero has apologized to the villain.

Paul Henderson, whose memorable goal with 34 seconds left in Game 8 clinched the 1972 Summit Series for Team Canada over the Soviet Union, is sorry for criticizing Bob Clarke's infamous slash on superstar Valeri Kharlamov.

"I apologized to Bobby for causing him aggravation," Henderson told The Fan 590 on Thursday. "I don't think anybody needs that and that's not my style to trash somebody like this.

Henderson dubbed Clarke's slash, which broke Kharlamov's ankle, "the lowpoint of the series" during Monday's media conference kicking off 30th anniversary celebrations of the series.

"I think it's improper to criticize a teammate 30 years later," Clarke responded in the Globe and Mail. "If it was so offensive, why didn't he bother to say something after the game?

"I'm surprised at him because we were a true team. Thirty years ago, we put forth the ultimate team performance.

"It thought it was foolish for him to say that. It doesn't hurt me, but I don't understand why he would bring it up now."

Henderson didn't, actually.

Scrummed by reporters, he was simply asked for his thoughts on the slash, in retrospect.

"The context was in this thing, was it right or was it wrong?" Henderson explained. "Thirty years later, I think it was wrong in the sense of my grandchildren doing it.

"The last thing in the world I want is (to) trash Bobby Clarke. We've got a scrum and, people, they fire questions at you in a certain way that you're damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Henderson told Clarke as much via telephone on Thursday.

"At the same time, I said, 'You know, this is my opinion,'" Henderson continued. "I stand behind my opinion that, in terms of sportsmanship, I don't think there's any place for it then and I don't think there is any place for it there.

"In 1972, did I condemn him? No, I certainly didn't.

"I'm a lot different person today than I was back then."

with files from CP Online