Coach Murray on Kyle Clifford’s Promotion

The Kings drafted Kyle Clifford in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft. A few months later after rookie camp in LA, then-assistant coach Mark Hardy called the young left wing his MVP of a two-game series with Phoenix – saying he played hard every shift, showed tons of grit and looked like a true power forward.

Even though he went on to impress others in the organization during the full training camp that followed, he was still just 18 years old at the time and not ready to make the jump up to the NHL. He was returned to his junior team in Barrie (OHL), where he put up 57 points in 58 games (28 g, 29 a) and totaled more than 110 penalty minutes for the second straight season.

In addition to his stats, other aspects of his game were being noticed around the junior league and in the annual OHL Coaches Poll last spring he was voted the best defensive forward in the Eastern Conference and second in the ‘Hardest Worker’ category.

Over the summer he was invited to Team Canada’s evaluation camp for the just completed World Junior Championships (something he reported on here).

Then, with all the attention focused on Brayden Schenn’s chances of making the Kings roster this past September, all Clifford did was go out and earn himself a spot in the NHL. Starting on the fourth line with limited minutes, he gradually moved to the third line and yesterday was promoted to the second line – along side Michal Handzus at center and Dustin Brown on the right side.

Given coach Terry Murray‘s frequent line changes over the past month or so, I asked him how long of a rope Clifford will get playing on that second line…

TM:  “A very long rope. I really like the way his game is developing. He’s been an incredible surprise for all of us from the day he got here in training camp. He’s growing each and every practice, each and every game. I’m seeing good things happen with confidence carrying the puck, making plays now and he’s bringing stuff that we talked about (earlier in the scrum) with Simmonds – that grit, that hard play. He’s establishing a presence in the game and certainly in our line-up. He will get a very long rope.”

Clifford – aka The Colonel – makes his official debut on the second line tomorrow night against St. Louis.

It will be Clifford’s 20th birthday too – and we’ll have more on that tomorrow.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/Mayor119
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

Warming Up for the World Juniors w/ Kyle Clifford

Clifford Explains His Nickname – The Colonel

LA-PHX Rookie Game Preview with Kyle Clifford

The Colonel Bobblehead

Coach Murray on Clifford – Nov 5, 2010

.
photo courtesy of Michael Zampelli

Recent Articles

NHL RADIO REPLAY: Hoven on LA Kings Trade Rumors, Next Coach, and Gabe Vilardi

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on NHL Network Radio, where he joined host Jonathan Davis to discuss several key topics surrounding the LA Kings, including – the latest trade rumors, who is likely to get moved first, the status of coach Willie Desjardins, who will be behind the bench next season, GM […]

MayorsManor Live: DB and The Mayor, Xmas Gifts for LA Kings

Follow @mayorNHL
In the spirit of the season, Dennis Bernstein and John Hoven return with 30-plus minutes of their omnipresent banter. This time around, they’re handing out Christmas gifts to every player on the LA Kings roster. The show really doesn’t need much more of an introduction. Everybody gets a gift – from Kopitar to Scherbak, […]

TSN RADIO REPLAY: Hoven on Quick, Carter, Kings Trade Rumors

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on TSN Radio, where he joined host Kevin Olszewski to look at several trade rumors surrounding the LA Kings — including what the future could hold for Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyler Toffoli, and Jake Muzzin — as well as what GM Rob Blake has […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2018 Mid-Season Top 10 Prospect Rankings: The Top Two

It all comes down to this. After an extensive journey through the LA Kings current prospect pool, we've finally arrived at the top two players in the rankings - including this year's highly coveted No. 1 spot. … [Read More...]

More Prospect News