Clifford Looks to Next Season, Talks Likely Linemates

It’s over.

What felt like the longest Kings season on record – perhaps for both players and fans alike – has finally reached a painful conclusion.

Mired in a sea of uncertainty in the months ahead, there is at least one question that already seems to have found its answer. From all indications, it appears the fourth line next season will most likely feature Kyle Clifford playing left wing to youngsters Michael Amadio and Austin Wagner.

During Saturday night’s season finale in Los Angeles, Clifford picked up his 10th assist of the season. In an otherwise dreadful year for the franchise, Clifford went out and collected new career-highs in goals, assists and points. After the game we caught up with him for a few minutes…

Clifford on what he attributes his successful year to:

“There are a couple things. I think it started last year with the coaching change [to John Stevens]; just allowing more freedom to make plays. My season was kind of disrupted then by a dislocated elbow. With Darryl [Sutter] we had to play a certain style. It worked, it was successful. We had a heavy bottom six and if you played a certain way, you played. If you didn’t, you didn’t play. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It worked and it was successful. Then, last year, we had a little more opportunity to get out and make plays; be more dimensional.”

On if the idea of potentially knowing his linemates for next season brings him any comfort heading into a summer that should bring a plethora of changes around him:

“Anything is possible. But, with Ammo, we spent some time together and I really like his game. I think he’s really hard on the puck and has some really good vision. I think he just needs to round it out a little bit more. With somebody like him, though, you know he’s going to work on it this summer. It was really encouraging to see him come in this year and do an outstanding job. It was awesome to play with him, and then you look at a guy like Austin Wagner – he came in and surprised everybody… [ed. note: Wagner, who was in the stall next door, leaned in with a huge smile] I can’t talk now because I don’t want his head to get too big!”

More postgame quotes from the Kings locker room…

Anze Kopitar on the season’s end:

“It’s certainly not the season that we wanted, expected, all of the above. Yeah, some sort of relief. It was nice to end it on a good note, but we can’t forget obviously. We’ve got to make sure that we really think about this one and get ready for next year.”

Dustin Brown on the season’s end:

“It’s always hard when you’re not in the playoffs and you don’t have a chance to play, especially knowing what we’re missing out on. The flip side of that is the guys, both the young guys and the veteran guys that have been here, it’s a huge opportunity to make sure that we’re really prepared. We’ve got lots of time.”

And from interim coach Willie Dejardins’ post-game scrum…

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Comments

  1. Dario Witer says:

    First of all, Desjardins needs to be fired immediately and have both Kopitar and dumped from the team; I pleaded during last year’s off-season that the Kings needed to get rid of both Kopitar and Quick because both have not played to their potential for sometime, especially Kopitar, who never became a 40-50 goal-a-season as many hockey people and fans have expected from him for over a decade. The Kings need three 40-50 goal-a-season players who can dominate their opponents and win with emphasis. Plus, the team needs a coach who whip this team into shape and get them to win 60 games a season, and, a person who can discipline the team when they get into losing streaks. If not, the Kings will resemble the teams that they had at the beginning if their existence.