Sutter, Clifford and Nolan on fighting, being physical

Fighting is down in the NHL about 20-25%, according to recent statements by Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Scoring for the LA Kings has been, well until recently, down significantly since last year too.

For Kyle Clifford, it’s been a bit of mixed bag in those two areas. True, his fighting majors are down – he had 18 last season and with only seven so far this year, he should come in significantly below that number.

Yet. on the offensive side of things, he’s actually not that far behind his pace of a year ago – which is rather shocking considering (a) the Kings offense as a whole is down and (b) he’s been used in a different role, especially since the hiring of Darryl Sutter.

With 10 points already in the books, and 16 games to go, he’ll likely come close to the 14 points he tallied last year.

Playing along side Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan of late may be freeing him to do concentrate on other things too, rather than just be a physical presence on the ice.

“Yeah, it definitely takes that kinda pressure off,” said Clifford. “We have guys that have done that all year though. You look at Greener, even Brownie – he stepped up and dropped the mitts (vs. Shane Doan, here). So, it’s always nice to have that extra piece here with Nolan, and Kinger can grab ’em too. I’ve seen him fight. He’s a pretty good fighter. It’s always nice having the extra physical bodies.”

Cam Jannsesn – then of the Blues, now with the Devils – came on MayorsManor last season and talked about using websites like HockeyFights.com to scout opponents, including Clifford and Kevin Westgarth.  However, not every player puts as much thought into things ahead of time.

“I try not to analyze it too much,” Nolan explained. “I don’t like to square up with guys or tap them on the shins and fight. I like to fight in the heat of the moment and the battle, when you’re into the game. Those are your best fights.”

Just last week, Nolan dropped the gloves for the first time in the NHL.

“I laid a check on him,” he said, when describing how things started with Marco Scandella of the Minnesota Wild.  “They were down 4-0 at that point, so maybe he was a little frustrated with the game. He looked at me, and it looked like he wanted to go – so, we just kinda went at it at center ice. I think it was good to get my first one under my belt and just kinda feel it out. It felt good.”

LA’s seventh round pick from the 2009 Draft also looked good too, switching hands and throwing some solid blows.

“I try to change it up every once and a while,” Nolan commented.  “I had a few fights down in Manchester this year [eight to be exact]. I’m pretty comfortable with it. But, you don’t want to be too confident. So, I’m just feeling things out right now.”

Truth be told, coach Sutter doesn’t see Nolan’s abilities as something that may make things easier on Clifford though.

“Those guys have identities and that’s part of Jordan’s identity. Whatever he did, that didn’t take pressure off of anybody else,” said the Kings’ bench boss. “In a way, Jordan and Cliffy, they’re competing for the same (spot) – it’s competition too.”

And as he’s been known to do over the last few months, Sutter later mixed in some praise for both young players.

“They’re kids and they’re fourth line players right now. They still have holes in their game. But they want to get better and they bring a lot of energy. They’re guys you want to go to the back alley with.”

Yeah, as long as they’re both on your side.

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

RELATED ARTICLES:

Five minute major with Cam Janssen – talking fighting philosophies and more

Interview with Ottawa’s Chris Neil – more than just a fighter

Are Clifford and Westgarth preparing to get (Biz) Nasty? – Kings players talk Coyotes’ Bissonnette

VIDEO: Kings rookie Jordan Nolan gets his first NHL fight

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

Recent Articles

Odds and Thoughts on Kopitar, Doughty, 2018 NHL Awards

Once the current Stanley Cup Playoffs wrap up, the league will quickly transition into awards season. Which, naturally, brings about a myriad of debates over who should win those other coveted trophies; and the point-counter points emerging are as strong as ever. Every season there are close calls when choosing a winner and 2017-18 will […]

Kings Prospect Tracker: Report For Week Ending April 30, 2018 – Last Man Standing Edition

As the post-season continues to chug along throughout various leagues of the collective hockey world, fewer and fewer Kings prospects are still alive and advancing. In fact, we are now down to one single prospect still playing – and he will face a win-or-go-home Game 7 tonight. For a look across the entire pool of […]

FREE REPLAY: Hoven Talks LA Kings Prospects on AHL Broadcast

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of a segment from Sunday night’s Ontario Reign playoff game, where John Hoven joined Cameron Close on the AHL broadcast to discuss where Gabe Vilardi, Paul LaDue, Matt Luff, Oscar Fantenberg, Kurtis MacDermid, Cal Peterson, and several other prospects fit into the LA Kings plans moving forward.
NOTE: To read the […]

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

Comments

  1. Jugglaren says:

Trackbacks

  1. […] the ice, he’s also been fortunate to have fellow rookie Jordan Nolan […]

  2. […] Sutter, Clifford, Nolan on fighting and being physical […]