Last year the Kings entered the playoffs with a core of players who had never been there before – including Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Jonathan Quick.
Although they all lacked post-season experience, at least each of them had played in the league for a number of years.
This year though, they’ve brought several true rookies along – guys playing their first pro seasons.
Recently, coach Terry Murray and captain Dustin Brown named Kyle Clifford the Kings’ Rookie of the Year.
Now, after the first two games of the series, what does Murray think of Clifford’s play vs. San Jose?
“The young guys that are playing their first games, I think they’ve settled in and have started to look more like veteran players than rookies,” Murray said. “There’s been no nervous play from Clifford at all. This kid’s unbelievable when it comes to that kind of an attitude, as far as, ‘I can do this. I’ve kind of been there before in my own mind, so there’s no change in my game,’ and it clearly shows. He’s going into the hard areas, making plays, doing the right stuff. Gritty, hard, fighting.”
Then, he went on to add some praise for the team’s rookie blueliner too – “And the same with (Alec) Martinez. I think after that middle part of the first game he really settled in to show us the kind of game that he’s been giving us all year long. He was really good in game two.”
I’ll have more on Clifford later today, including comments from linemates Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds.
Terry Murray and Dustin Brown select their 2011 Kings Rookie of the Year
Rob Scuderi on Expectations and Being Extra Special
Ryan Smyth for Looking For Help From Seventh Attacker in Game Three
Jarret Stoll Wants to See Some Push Back in Game Three