Clifford getting help from Stoll, starting to roll

Kyle Clifford of LA Kings (photo: M. Zampelli)

Hoping his blender worked more like a magic eight-ball, LA Kings coach Terry Murray decided to shake things up at practice today, seeking answers for the team’s lack of offense.

With perhaps the most wide-spread line changes he’s made over the last few years, Trent Hunter went to the top line, the cord was cut between Dustin Brown and Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll was moved to wing and Andrei Loktionov returned to his natural center position.

Assuming Murray sticks with the changes for tomorrow night’s game vs. San Jose, what does all of this mean for Kyle Clifford?  Well, he stayed right where he was, as LA’s third line left wing. However, he’ll now have Loktionov as his center and Justin Williams on the far side.

It will be interesting to see how Clifford’s game responds. While his three points in 23 games doesn’t seem to be too far off his pace of 14 points in 76 games a year ago, he hasn’t had the same overall impact.

Clifford posted three goals in the final 15 games and added three more goals in six playoff games.

MM: With the many different line combinations and partners for you so far this season, do you feel as comfortable in the line-up as you did last year?

KFC: I think I got off to a slow start. But, I think my game is starting to come around. Playing with Stollie (for the last few weeks), as a veteran guy, he’s been taking me under his wing and trying to help me out during the games. I’m comfortable playing with whoever though. From a personal standpoint, yes, it was a slow start to the season and now things are starting to roll again.

MM: What type of advice has Stoll been giving you?

KFC: The little things - the ins and outs of the game, little plays here and there, better ways of reading off of each other, communication. Those type of little things that make a big difference.

MM: What did you say to Westgarth after he scored the goal in Dallas?

KFC: What a goal! (he laughs, a rare break in character for the usually serious Clifford) That was a nice one. Good for him. He definitely deserves it. He’s had his chances over the last year and a half. So, it’s definitely good for him to finally get that monkey off his back. Now he’s going to put up 30.

Coming up tomorrow – an exclusive, one-on-one interview with Westgarth. Don’t miss out on him recalling many of his ‘firsts’ – it should be a pretty good piece.

The Mayor
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