Kings opening-night self-analysis from winger Kyle Clifford

Like several of his teammates, winger Kyle Clifford didn’t like the way the Kings started their season-opening game against the San Jose Sharks. He wasn’t crazy about the way they finished off a 4-0 loss, either. Here’s more from Clifford:

“We’ve got to do a better job. We’ve just got to come out better. We can’t use (the pregame Stanley Cup championship banner-raising ceremony) as an excuse as professional players. We should be ready when the puck drops. I think we just need a little more structure and a little better mindset. No bite to our game.”

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Kings questions and answers (part 4, expanded version)

Will the Kings be healthy enough to lead the playoff race?

Goalie Jonathan Quick and forward Kyle Clifford underwent wrist surgeries and Jarret Stoll had hip surgery during the offseason, signs of the toll a grueling regular season and an extended playoff run can exact on professional athletes. All three are sound and will begin the regular season on schedule. Injuries are always a concern, particularly for a team that relies on its physical play to win games. The Kings appear to have the depth to withstand various routine bumps and bruises in the season.

Luck plays a great role in a team’s success. Good teams avoid injuries, or at the very least they manage to use their depth to patch together a lineup that’s good enough to keep winning. There’s not a big drop-off. Bad teams get injured and there aren’t enough quality players to fill the void. The Kings appear to have plenty of depth, both on their roster in Los Angeles and at their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H. Any questions about the organization’s depth should have been answered by the likes of Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli during the playoffs last season.

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Kings active Kyle Clifford from injured reserve, place Trevor Lewis on IR

The Kings activated left wing Kyle Clifford from injured reserve before Saturday’s home game against the Colorado Avalanche. They placed forward Trevor Lewis on IR. Clifford was sidelined by a concussion since he was injured during the Kings’ victory Nov. 9 over the Vancouver Canucks. Lewis has an unspecified lower-body injury. Clifford had one goal in 16 games. Lewis was scoreless in 23 games. Forward Jeff Carter (broken foot), defenseman Matt Greene (upper body) and goalie Jonathan Quick (groin strain) remain on the IR.

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Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford rejoin teammates for the Kings’ practice

Injured forwards Jeff Carter (broken foot) and Kyle Clifford (concussion) rejoined their Kings teammates for their practice Friday at the team’s El Segundo practice facility. Carter hasn’t played since he was hurt Oct. 30 against the San Jose Sharks and Clifford has been sidelined since a Nov. 9 game against the Vancouver Canucks. They are considered day-to-day. Friday was a good day for them, but it’s not immediately clear whether they can play in Saturday’s home game against the Colorado Avalanche.

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Injury updates on injured Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford

Injured forwards Jeff Carter (broken foot) and Kyle Clifford skated Thursday after the majority of their teammates concluded their morning skate at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo. They were joined by backup goalie Martin Jones and the extra players on the roster, who also stayed late.

Carter has been sidelined since the Kings’ overtime victory Oct. 30 over the San Jose Sharks and has only recently resumed skating on his own. Clifford was injured during a win Nov. 9 over the Vancouver Canucks. Carter, Clifford, defenseman Matt Greene and goalie Jonathan Quick are on the injured-reserve list.

It’s uncertain when any of the four might return to the lineup.

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Kyle Clifford skates a bit, so that’s progress after he missed the Kings’ trip

Kings left wing Kyle Clifford joined backup goaltender Martin Jones and goalie coach Bill Ranford for an on-ice workout designed to keep the 23-year-old rookie netminder sharp. Everyone else got the day off after the team returned very early Monday morning from New York. Clifford missed the Kings’ trip because of a head injury suffered in a Nov. 9 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Clifford skated some and fired shots at Jones before heading off the ice. It’s unclear whether Clifford will be ready to play in Tuesday’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

 

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Greene and Clifford placed on IR, Jones and Pearson recalled from minors

The Kings placed defenseman Matt Greene and forward Kyle Clifford on the injured reserve list and recalled goaltender Martin Jones and forward Tanner Pearson from the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League. Greene and Clifford have unspecified upper-body injuries. It’s believed Greene’s injury is not related to the back surgery that sidelined him for almost all of last season. Clifford suffered a head injury during the Kings’ victory Saturday over Vancouver.

The Kings think quite highly of the 23-year-old Jones, who was 9-2-2 in 13 appearances for Manchester this season. He also has a 2.24 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and one shutout in his fourth season with the Monarchs. Pearson, 21, had 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 15 games in the minor leagues. He made his NHL debut during the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. He was scoreless in the Kings’ Game 3 loss.

 

 

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Kings wing Kyle Clifford fined by NHL for kneeing Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Kings forward Kyle Clifford was fined $2,756.41 for kneeing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers in the first period of Sunday’s game. Clifford was not penalized for the play, which happened at the 7-minute, 41-second mark of the Kings’ 2-1 shootout victory at Staples Center. Nugent-Hopkins needed assistance in returning to the Oilers’ bench, but returned to the game after a short stay in the dressing room. The fine is the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement and goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Kings coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t happy about Kyle Clifford’s poor attempt

Darryl Sutter made it clear he didn’t like Kyle Clifford’s approach to a second-period penalty shot during the Kings’ 6-0 victory Tuesday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. Clifford was hooked on a breakaway by Ducks defenseman Sami Vantanen, drawing a penalty shot less than two minutes into the middle period of what was then a tight game.

Clifford skated in on goaltender Viktor Fasth and shot quickly from a good distance away from the net. Fasth gloved the puck easily and the score remained 1-0 in favor the Kings. Later, the Kings’ coach expressed his displeasure with Clifford’s attempt.

“He shouldn’t shoot high glove,” Sutter said. “Might be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. One play.”

 

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Kings agree to terms with forward Kyle Clifford, the last of their own free agents

The Kings agreed to terms with the last of their own free agents Friday, when they announced a new two-season contract for forward Kyle Clifford. The 22-year-old Clifford had 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) and 51 penalty minutes in 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

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