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Clifford absent from Kings' morning skate ... to fly a helicopter?

May 10, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • Kyle Clifford of the Kings checks Barret Jackman of the St. Louis Blues into the boards in Game 2.
Kyle Clifford of the Kings checks Barret Jackman of the St. Louis Blues into… (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty…)

Left wing Kyle Clifford was missing from the Kings’ morning skate in advance of their potential series-clincher against the St. Louis Blues Friday night at Staples Center.

His place on the fourth line was taken by Jordan Nolan, creating a trio of Nolan, Colin Fraser and Tyler Toffoli.

Teams are usually vague about regular-season injuries and even more close-mouthed during the playoffs, so Kings Coach Darryl Sutter offered no enlightenment about Clifford’s absence.

“He was out there. He gets here before you guys,” Sutter said. “Then he did a GEICO commercial. Then he was doing the weather for Channel 4 this morning up in the helicopter.”

If this coaching thing doesn't work out, Sutter could always polish his routines and do standup comedy at the El Cid lounge.

OK, then. Why wasn’t Clifford on the ice with his teammates?

For that, Sutter borrowed a phrase from Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock. “What does Hitch call it? A maintenance day,” Sutter said.

But later, in discussing the ruggedness of the hitting and challenges presented by the playoff travel, he hinted at wear and tear being a factor.

“You’re playing your sixth game in 10 days and you’re asking about what the lineup is and where is this guy, where is that guy. Well where do you think they are?” Sutter said. “It’s hard on them.”

The other lines, incidentally, were Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams; Dwight King-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter; and Dustin Penner-Jarret Stoll-Trevor Lewis. The defense pairs appeared the same as in Game 5: Robyn Regehr-Drew Doughty; Alec Martinez-Rob Scuderi; and Jake
Muzzin-Slava Voynov. Keaton Ellerby, who was scratched the last game, was paired with Matt Greene, and that duo is unlikely to play.

Check back later for more coverage.

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