|Will Simmonds fight Clifford? (photo: C. Ikiri)|
There’s no denying Wayne Simmonds was a fan favorite in Los Angeles.
Almost from the moment he made the Kings as an 20-year old forward out of the Ontario Hockey League, people loved his hustle.
Simmonds went on to play 240 games and score 39 goals with the team. Then, as has been heavily documented, he was traded this past June to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In the weeks that followed, several Kings stopped by MayorsManor to share thoughts on their departed friend and teammate…
Jarret Stoll – “He’s going to be a very good player, he is a very good player…I wish him all the best in Philly. He’s a great guy, he was roommate on the road. We had some good times together and some good talks. He’s a good kid. He’ll figure it out in Philly and he’s going to be a well liked player there, for sure.”
Matt Greene – “Simmer was a big part of our team. He’s a great player and he’s only going to get better. So, it was tough to lose a friend and a good player like that.
Alec Martinez – “As a younger guy (on the team), I hung out with him a lot. So, I was disappointed to see him go. He’s a good kid and he’s one of our buddies…Wayne’s a good kid, good buddy and obviously a really good player.”
In a recent interview here, Kyle Clifford referred to Simmonds as “a great guy” also and somebody who helped him quite a bit last year, saying he “took me under his wing.”
Yet, they’ll be on opposite sides of the ice tonight. And both players know their role well and what’s expected of them during the game.
Usually, they’re one of the first guys to stick their fists in another player’s face. But, what about tonight?
Earlier today, former King Ian Laperriere shared some thoughts on the possibility of a Clifford-Simmonds scrap.
But, what about Clifford – what does he make of all this?
“Who knows. You never know what will happen on any given night,” he said, when asked. “If it happens, it happens. We’re both good guys about it. We’re not the type of guys who are going to go post things on twitter to stir up anything. We’re friends off the ice. But, obviously, during the game it’s a little different. We both do our jobs out there and when it’s done, it’s done.”
[for the record, Clifford isn’t on twitter, and says he never will be]
Additional comments about tonight’s game vs. the Flyers:
Rob Scuderi – “Philly always seems to bring it, no matter who they have. It always seems to be an intense place to play. It’s usually a physical game and a fun game to play as the road team.”
Anze Kopitar – “I’m sure there will be a little more media attention surrounding the game because of the trade. But, we just have to stay focused on our game and what we should do to win the game.”
Willie Mitchell – “Obviously, we’re thinking about Richie and his first trip back there. So, it’s a big game for him. And, always, when you have a guy on your team who is going back to play against his former team, you really want to win that one for him. So, we’ll be really focused, for sure.”
Oh Willie, always looking out for your new love.