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

Kings Of The Podcast: Ep. Q32 with Arthur Kaliyev

With the World Junior Championship set to officially kick off in just a few weeks, Kings Of The Podcast is back with another new episode to complete our Team USA preview. Joining us on this episode is LA Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev.
Among the topics discussed:
– Training in SoCal the past few months
– His love for […]

This Day in LA Kings History: December 3

Happy birthday to former @LAKings defenseman Tom Preissing, who was born on December 3, 1978.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/NlnofY98Ur
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) December 3, 2020

On December 3, 2013, Martin Jones made his NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks. Jones made 26 saves and stopped nine shootout attempts in a 3-2 win for the @LAKings.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/bmlLXTn9fk
— The […]

Two LA Kings Prospects Playing on TV – Tune in Today, Tomorrow, and Saturday

It’s looking more and more like the NHL is headed toward a late January / early February start for the 2020-21 season. And that’s just fine. As discussed on Kings of the Podcast recently, that allows hockey fans everywhere to focus their attention on the upcoming World Junior Championships. While the official tournament starts December […]

Major News Items

Anatomy of a Draft Pick – How the Kings Decided on Byfield

It seems that nearly every year there is a debate among two players either at or near the top of the NHL Draft board. This year was no exception, with Quinton Byfield vs. Tim Stuetzle being a common theme among … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.

Comments