Let’s not over-hype the situation. We’re not going to call Rich Clune playing at Staples Center last night his ‘triumphant return’ or label it anything more than it was. The gritty forward, loved by fans and teammates in Manchester, was claimed by Nashville a few weeks ago and has been given another shot at the NHL. And he’s working hard to stay there, just look at his stat line vs. the Kings on Thursday – with only 5:48 of ice time he managed five hits, tops on the Predators.
After the game, we caught up for a quick chat. Here’s what Clune had to say…
– On being back at Staples Center, where he made his NHL debut: “It was cool. It’s definitely different being on the other side of things. It was fun though. The first two periods were pretty painful with all the penalties. Obviously I’m not a special teams guy, so I did a lot of watching there. But the third period was better for both teams. It got going and got into a bit of a rhythm. So, it was nice to get out there and obviously we needed a big win, it was huge. The boys stepped up and scored in the shootout and Pekks shut the door.”
– On any pre-game nerves: “I wasn’t real nervous. I don’t have anything to prove to the Kings. There’s no bad blood there. Things with the Kings didn’t work out and I got picked up on waivers. So, it was good.”
– On if he saw former teammate Jake Muzzin on the ice: “I think so, yeah. I think I tried to hit him and I missed him in the first period. But, he was good and he had a lot of power play time.”
– On yapping with Colin Fraser around the goal crease during a stoppage in play: “I think that was my only shift in the second period. Maybe I was just trying to get my brain going and get into it a bit.”
Before the game we posted some additional thoughts with Clune, where he gave a heartfelt thanks to the Kings for their support during his career. Check it out here.
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