Kyle Clifford is loved for a variety of reasons not related to his offensive or defensive prowess. It is his overriding confidence, fearless and somewhat reckless fighting style and general hostility he shows for players in opposing sweaters. There isn’t much “compromise” to his game and uncompromising men are loved in life and lore.

When you break down Clifford’s game, what you see is (a) speed (b) size (c) conditioning and (d) a skill set long on potential. But we knew that when we drafted him. He is now 3 seasons into his NHL career and, as much as we still love him with the same fervor as before, we are starting to ask questions about his fit and future.

Enter identity crisis.

What is Kyle Clifford?

A top 6 forward? No.

A bottom 6 forward? Yes, but by virtue of the fact he hasn’t earned a top 6 role yet.

Does he show a special knack for a 2 way game? Not really, not yet.

Is he a goal scorer? No.

Playmaker? Er…not really.

A goon? No. He is too talented to be a goon.

What are we left with?


And here is where I will grab you by the balls (and substitute as necessary for the ladies) and tell you what I want for Kyle Clifford’s future.

If you managed to suffer through that video, I don’t have to write another word.

Kyle Clifford’s (use your best Darth Vader voice) destiny is that of an intrepid and heedless front of the net presence, where he will take punishment and dish it out, where nearly ever shot on goal that involves his line includes his ass in the opposing goalie’s face and a chance at a deflection, re-direction or rebound.

Clifford has the size (he is taller and heavier than Holmström), he has the attitude, he has the big, hairy brass and he has the very real potential to pot 20 + goals each season playing that kind of game, which not only will make him a bigger fan favorite but an indispensable part of the L.A. Kings present and future.

Kyle Clifford must do what Dustin Penner would not, what Dustin Brown occasionally does, what Mike Richards does well but is not big or strong enough to do more and what we lacked last season and in the playoffs.

For goodness sake, if a pussy Red Wing Swede with an umlaut can make a career out of camping in front of the net, you are telling me a big, bruising and skilled Ayr, Ontario boy cannot do better?

The big red dog must bring a special brand of bite to his bark.

Kyle Clifford’s identity crisis is an opportunity for his greatness.