Kyle Clifford was taken by the Kings in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft. By the time then-assistant coach Mark Hardy told us he was the MVP of Rookie Camp a few months later, Clifford’s stock was already on the rise within the organization. Nearly everybody was impressed with what most people referred to as a ‘man trapped in a kids body.’
The following summer, Clifford did his first extended interview on MayorsManor, serving as one of our correspondents for Team Canada’s evaluation camp. However he never made it to the World Junior Championships – not because he wasn’t talented enough, but because he never went back to junior hockey after coming to LA for training camp the next month. As a 19-year old left wing, he went on to play 76 games during the regular season, was one of the most productive Kings in the playoffs vs. San Jose and became an instant fan favorite.
Coming into training camp this year, then-coach Terry Murray had to tell him to find a place to stay – as the second-year forward was living in a hotel, not wanting to take his roster spot for granted. This season he played all but one regular season game. A vicious hit along the boards by Byron Bitz in the opening game of this year’s post-season derailed any plans he may have had to show why some scouts labeled him as a ‘playoff-type player.’ Clifford sat out with a concussion until he made a surprise return for two games during the Western Conference Finals.
Now, ‘The Colonel‘ is a Stanley Cup Champion…
To read Jarret Stoll’s pre-season comments on Clifford, click here.
Or for more Stanley Cup related stories…yesterday we posted our on-ice interviews with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner, Simon Gagne and Dwight King (see the ‘Recent Posts’ section near the top right corner of this page for links), plus Bob Miller’s call of the Kings winning the Stanley Cup here…and an exclusive interview with Nick Nickson here…yet, we’re not done! There’s still a LOT more content from down on the ice that we’ll be publishing throughout the day today. So, stay tuned.