Westgarth and Clifford talk aftermath of the Gordie trick

Sometimes you get lucky.

Back in November 2010, sitting in the locker room in El Segundo, after some otherwise meaningless weekday practice, Kevin Westgarth and I were chatting about his rookie season in the NHL. Down the aisle about five stalls away was the only other player there at the time – Kyle Clifford.

During one of Westgarth’s many stories, the usually quiet Clifford piped up and offered a challenge. The first one to get a Gordie Howe hat trick would owe the other dinner. Westgarth was more than willing to accept and suggested they would celebrate when their girlfriends were in town. No problem, both sides agreed and a deal was born.

After Clifford turned the trick last night – getting a goal, assist and fight in the same game – Westgarth laughed when reminded of the other little known detail from that original conversation.

Looking to extend the future double date to include some post-meal entertainment, Westgarth had suggested they make the reward dinner and a movie, to which Clifford replied with simply one word – ‘No.’

In the locker room last night, Westgarth laughed when reminded of the bet being dinner only. As for what took place on the ice vs. the Senators, “If anybody else had to do it (before me), he’d be my second choice,” said the Princeton grad. “It’s going to be a nice little dinner. I don’t feel too bad buying him that one at all. That was a hell of a game by Kyle Clifford right there, it’s great to see.”

Then, upon further reflection, Westgarth offered his theory on why Clifford may have turned down the added movie option – “He must have thought I have a better scoring touch than I do.”

Clifford, on the other hand, was already thinking ahead to the steak he’ll soon be eating, “I once did a 52-ounce (porterhouse). So, we’ll see if I can top that.”

Humble as always, he sort of sounded like the loser of a bet rather than the winner, when he added – “It’s almost like a sigh of relief because it’s been two years now. We’ve been struggling with it. Let’s get the monkey off our back and now we’re just going to keep moving forward.”

His night started off with a fight against the Senators’ Zenon Konopka less than three minutes into the game. It was a rematch of their scrap from last season, when Konopka was with the New York Islanders.

Then came the assist, about 12 minutes later, when he set up Willie Mitchell’s goal. And in typical Clifford fashion, he was quick to give praise to many of his teammates – “(Johnson and Doughty) do a great job back there. As far as Mitchie, Scuds, Greener, Slava, Whiskey and Marty, they do a great job as well. All eight of our D have chipped in at one time or another. So, it’s a good group back there.”

Finally, the crown jewel. Clifford picked up a rebound in the crease, just past the midway point of the second period, and it stood as the game winning goal – his only other one in the NHL came last year during the playoffs.

“We’ve had chances all year around the net,” he said of his line’s recent play. “Now, we’re getting that bounce and we’re really bearing down. Our will to score is really paying off.”

Clifford couldn’t recall if that was his first-ever Gordie Howe hat trick. He said he’d have to look up his OHL stats today.

We can report, upon further review, he did in fact have one Gordie while playing his junior hockey with the Barrie Colts. It came on March 4, 2010 vs. Belleville.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Kevin Westgarth’s New Year’s Resolutions

Kyle Clifford explains his nickname

What I’ve learned so far this season… by Kevin Westgarth

Watch Clifford’s Gordie…

Recent Articles

College FA Spencer Foo on the Process of Selecting His NHL Team

In an off-season of promised change, the LA Kings have already made several announcements supporting their claims. From a new General Manager to a new head coach, the organization is under a bit of a remodel at the moment. One thing remaining constant, though, is the team’s commitment to developing young players. For more than […]

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven Reacts to Kings Hiring Stevens and Future Plans

Follow @mayorNHL
//
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on NHL Network Radio, where he joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to discuss everything that went down at the LA Kings press conference for new head coach John Stevens. They break down what was learned and what’s next with the team, both on and off the […]

Rob Blake on How and Why John Stevens Was Promoted

Following today’s LA Kings press conference to announce John Stevens as the team’s new head coach, General Manager Rob Blake shared a plethora of additional insight into how and why the promotion occurred:
Blake on finding a head coach right away:
“Well, I think I’ve experienced it first hand, which goes a long way. Also, the experience […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2017 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: Top Two Players Revealed

The wait is over; it's time to reveal the top two players on our 2017 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings. Which player has earned the coveted No. 1 spot? As we finish off this multi-part series, we'll begin with a thank you … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

Comments

  1. Anonymous says: