Below are some exclusive comments from Richard Clune – talking quite a bit about possible linemates this season and his relationship with Kevin Westgarth.
MM: There is a real battle going on for the final few roster spots. You’ll be playing on the fourth line tonight with Lewis and Westgarth. How do you feel heading into your second Frozen Fury?
RC: I’m loose. my mind is clear. There is nothing you can do about competition, it’s good. It shows the organization is probably at a place where they want to be, as far as depth. It’s going to bring the best out in me. I have nothing to worry about. I did all I could do this summer. I’ve prepared well and I’ve had good practices in camp. I don’t have any pressure on me. I just have to go out and play loose, be myself on the ice. Whatever happens, happens.
Not taking anything away from the five or six guys that could possibly end up on the fourth line this year – but, in a perfect scenario, who do you think would be the best two guys for you to play with?
I think you’ll see a different combination of guys, especially early in the year. I love playing with Westie though. He’s a heart and soul guy. He’ll stick up for anybody. Especially with the way I play, sometimes I get heavyweights coming after me. I’ll fight those guys, but the outcome isn’t going to be very pretty. Brad Richardson is going to get a second line role right now. Brayden Schenn…Kyle Clifford – I love the way Kyle plays. It would be nice to play with him out there. We’re pretty like minded, get in there and cause some trouble. Trevor Lewis is a great player, really fast, skates well. Loktionov is about as skilled of a guy as we have here. I did everything I could this summer to elevate myself to their level. I don’t want to be left behind. I’m an energy player and I’ve got to be the most energized guy out there. I think I’ve set myself up for that.
Last year you played with Ivanans a bit. You mentioned how much you enjoy playing with Westgarth though. Will he bring a different energy level to the game tonight?
Raitis was an unbelievable guy. He was a great to me, we got along very well. When you watched him in practice, he has some skill. He can skate, he could shoot. Westie is…well, he’s Westie. He’s got a big heart. He’s enthusiastic about life and it shows in his game. He’s a loud, vocal guy. He’s had my back since I played with him in Manchester. He’s been a great friend to me and it’s fun playing with him. He has some good hands too – he’s put some points up in the minors. He can make a play. He’s a hockey player and then a fighter. We bump heads sometimes, push each other’s buttons. But, we always have fun.
More comments coming soon (from Jack Johnson, etc.).
In the meantime, check out the photos and notes I posted on twitter.
Have you taken the Frozen Fury Trivia Challenge yet?