Clune making the team?

What seemed somewhat unlikely not so long ago now seems to be on the verge of reality: Rich Clune, fourth-line winger. It would be a good move. Clune is basically Sean Avery without the Sean Avery attitude. He protects his teammates, he works hard every shift and he’s young and motivated to make an impact in the NHL. There’s probably not much offensive potential there, but as we’ve said before, if you’re looking for offense from your fourth line, you’re in trouble anyway. What we can’t predict, as Terry Murray mentions below, is how Clune will react against real NHL players in real NHL games. Here’s what Murray said about Clune’s camp to date…

MURRAY: “I think Clune is making a lot of noise for himself. He has really battled and competed hard. He’s been jumping in there. In the last game he played, he got involved a couple times, and that’s who he is. He’s a gritty guy. He’s in your face, he’s a middleweight guy that probably is a pretty prevelant player around the league today. The big guys, the heavyweight guys, they feel like, `I can’t do that to this guy on the other team, because it looks like I’m beating up on a smaller player.’

“So to have a middleweight, I think it’s a nice thing to have. A guy like Clune, in particular, if he is to be on the team he has to be able to contribute in other areas, in terms of playing the game. He has to play special teams, he has to become a penalty killer. There’s just an urgency that anyone in that job description has to do other things, and not just competing against other players that are similar on the other team.”

There’s another part, however, to being that fourth-line agitator. Avery, for all his faults, was a valuable player when he could stay out of the penalty box himself but also draw opponents into taking bad penalties through his feisty play. That’s a delicate balance, particularly for a young player such as Clune without any NHL experience. I asked Murray whether playing with that discipline had been a topic of discussion with Clune.

MURRAY: “You know, it hasn’t been, because I don’t want to take anything away from him. I want to keep the emotion and keep the energy, and maybe (have him be) a little bit reckless at times. I want to see what it is he does bring on his own, and then we can fine-tune it if necessary from there. The one thing with him, unfortunately from last year, he just hasn’t got a lot of pro games under his belt. So, staying in the game and playing a structured system, that’s important for us, as coaches, to be able to evaluate him from that side of it. But overall he has had a good camp.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • tantrum4

    Another brillant trade for Lombardi. I can’t beleive we got this guy for Tukonen.

    anthonny? WWAMD? Where are you guys??

  • wavesinair

    You’d have to say it was a great move by DL. Tukonen is in Finland and Clune is a King. But if you asked me if Clune would make the team, I would say it would be “highly unlikely” he’d make the 4th line.

    Here’s another guy I’m surprised the staff (and some of you) are so high on. It’s not that I dislike Clune, it’s just that he seems like 5 other guys on Manchester with less experience and the same skill level. I really can’t believe he outlasted a bunch of those guys, but kudos to him. I’m guessing the Left Winger aspect really helped him, along with intangibles that perhaps impressed DL and TM.

    Nevertheless, he will be the smallest guy on the entire team. I’d put him in the lightweight category more than middleweight.

  • darko25o

    Theres no doubt in my mind that Clune is making this team. I really appreciated the effort, and energy, Avery brought to a lackluster Kings team…and he did it every night. If Clune can play an Avery type of game, while being a good teammate and not a PIM liability, this guy is going to be a gem. My concern for the fourth line is the fact that Lewis hasn’t stepped up and grabbed it. With Schenn in the wings,and Lokti, and Moller, Lewis needs to “grab his destiny” as the 4th line Center. He doesn’t project to be better than any of the aforementioned, especially when you consider their age. I wonder if DL and Murray are giving him an extra look at the 4th C, just because its the only box he can fit into with the Kings right now.

  • Anon

    I loved Clune from the time we traded for him. We need more guys like him on the team/in the system and was excited last year when he was on the verge of making the team before the unfortunate injury. I’m excited now as well and wish Richard the very best this year. Maybe his passion and intensity can rub off on other players.

  • Paul from Oxnard

    I’ve always like Ivanans, but if it’s between him and Clune I say go with Clune. While Ivanans may be a little more offensively, I think Clune is a better all around player who brings more energy to the team. Regarding Tukonen, he was a 1st round pick, so while Clune is good I don’t know if he’s 1st round good.

  • tantrum4

    Paul –

    Obviously Tukonen wasn’t first round good either…

  • Crownme87

    I hope Clune makes the 4th line. It will be nice to have a sort of agitator out there the way Avery was but to a lesser extent (PIM). With him and Ivanans on the fourth line it should make some teams a little hesistant to taking runs at our guys.

  • Big A

    O/T here… but at intermission of the Leafs-Wings game just now the usual hacks (Ron MaClean, Mike Milbury, Glen Healy and Pierre LeBrun) were discussing aspects of the Phil Kessel transaction. LeBrun mentioned that at the last minute the Kings made a significant offer to the Bruins. According to him, it drew Boston’s interest but the Kings had no intention of paying Kessel enough to match the Leafs.

    I have mixed feelings about Kessel but I am curious about what might have been offered, and whether that means that DL is still in a deal-making mood.

  • jet

    All good points, but I think TM may have the key to clune. It sounds like he is small enough that he can go after anyone on the ice and the other team can’t complain we are sending out goons to clean house on the the little guys. It also sounds like he may be able to go out with any line and not be a d- liability.

  • wavesinair

    Uh oh! Clune isn’t on the bench for the second.