When the 1997-98 Montreal Canadiens training camp opened in September, there was a debate to see which young defense prospect would make the jump from the American League’s Fredericton Canadiens to the big club in Montreal. Brad Brown was the early favourite, mainly due to his toughness, Miroslav Guren and Francois Groleau were also high on the list. Stage right: Enter Brett Clark, who played in the NCAA for the Maine Blackbears and Canada’s National Team. Clark was drafted by the Habs in the 1996 entry draft 154th overall (Only Andreas Dackell and Dainius Zubrus played in the NHL last season from the 1996 draft). Throughout camp Clark continued to impress the Canadiens new coaching tandem of Alain Vigneault and Dave King, and eventully earned himself a spot in an NHL preseason game. Not too bad for a guy who was just there to fill a practise jersey and considering it took Pierre Mondou the Canadiens chief scout, to beg management to sign Clark just three days before training camp opened. After his first exhibition game, he earned the right to play in another and then another and then..well you get the story. By this time Brad Brown and company had already been dispatched to Fredericton. Yes, Brett Clark had walked into Montreal and literally stole a full time position on the Canadiens blueline. Now tweleve games into the season Clark, has been one of the Canadiens most consistent defensemen. At 6’1 200lbs Clark had decent size, a great hockey sense and creates physical contact. His passes are always tape to tape, and a shot which is deadly accurate. As a rookie what is most impressive about Clark is his confidence, or should we say the confidence head coach Alain Vigneault has in him. Clark’s defense partner is second year rearguard Craig Rivet. A tandem which doesn’t look out of place, not bad for a tandem which still doesn’t shave! The debate in Montreal is now over. Clark belongs in the NHL and there is no sign of Brett Clark making an Exit any time soon. Pretty impressive for a guy taken 154th overall in 1996, and right now he is the most talked about Maine Blackbear in the NHL…until Karyia signs that is!