From Rich Hammond in an interview with Matt Greene about Kyle Clifford, “one bad dude.”

GREENE: “It’s just a guy making the ultimate sacrifice. They’re trying to get the momentum going, and it’s the hardest job in hockey, for sure. He’s a guy who came in here, and both he and Westie [Kevin Westgarth] have done a great job for us this year. I think it’s lost on a lot of people, some of the guys he’s fighting. Thornton, I don’t even know how old he is, but he’s 12, 13 older than him, and there’s no fear. The way he goes about what he does, it’s amazing. It’s amazing to all of us, and you just want to let guys like that know that they’re appreciated and how valuable they are to a team.”

Answer: So that’s palpable on the bench, right? I see you guys banging your sticks on the boards, that sort of thing…

GREENE: “It’s huge. He’s got everybody’s respect in this room. At the same time, you can just tell from the way he approaches the game and the way he battles, that he will do anything for us. I know that I, and I’m sure everybody else in this room, would do the same thing for him, too. It’s amazing to watch him go out there and do it every night, him and Westie. It’s a tough job, and you just want them to know they’re appreciated.”

Kyle Clifford is developing into a very special player. Set aside the pugilistic skills for a moment. He’s 19. He is willing to hit anyone, be hit to keep the play alive, has no fear of going to the net, doesn’t hesitate to shoot when the puck is on his stick and he has a lane, is an excellent skater and, most importantly, has already gained the respect of his teammates. That is leadership in the making. That is a player who, down the road, may become the team’s heart and soul. Think Shane Doan, Brendan Morrow, our own former Adam Deadmarsh or, my favorite analogy to Kyle Clifford, a young Adam Graves.

Some question whether Kyle will be a 20 goal scorer and get to the top 6 forward spot. If his development continues at this pace, I am not sure you could reasonably argue to the contrary. Fortunately, there is no rush. Right now, I enjoy seeing Clifford on the ice. I do wish he would fight a bit less, especially the heavy weights. He’s no goon and I don’t want to see a freak injury set back his development. There is a nice skill set in that bad dude package and Greene is right, Kyle is one bad dude.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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3 replies

  1. The fact that he plays a heavey game is something you can’t teach. Too many times you see a big guy who can’t utilize his size well. He’s strong on his skates also, another trait you just can’t teach. Players work hard to improve these areas, but you either have it or you don’t. For instance Luc Robitaille spent his entire career working on his skating. I hope he doesn’t stop trying to get better, but he already naturally posesses an awsome skill set. At his age it’s easy to see what could potentially be there.

  2. Clifford has just had an amazing season so far, and you can see that he is only going to get better as he goes. I love the comparisson between him and Adam Graves, which I think is very apt. He has that skill set, and he should become a top 6 forward for us, and give the Kings that potent weapon that teams have to respect, both for his hockey skills, and his willingness to drop the mitts with anyone in the league. I don’t worry as much about his fighting because he is a very smart fighter who clearly scouts his opponents out and knows the style of fight that he needs to fight each night. I have yet to see him put himself in a position where he is so overmatched that he is likely to get hurt. He leaves the true heavies, like John Scott, to Westgarth, so I don’t see Clifford’s willingness to drop the mitts hurting him that much.

  3. This guy is a bright spot on the tea. I think his identity is still in evolution. I agree that he uses good judgment who to mix it up with. He is the type of player that cen help win games. That bout the other night I think helped charge up the team. If a guy shows no fear, that has to elevate everyone else’s play.

    I am looking forward to tonight’s game. The team desperately needs the points.


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