Kyle Clifford and Minnesota forward Devin Setoguchi will take the same ice tonight for the first time since they were Ontario Reign teammates while maintaining their conditioning during the NHL lockout. Out of respect towards full-time players on Ontario, both players rarely played on the same night for the Reign.
Setoguchi, who had 13 points (4-9=13) in 10 games with Ontario, has 22 points (12-10=22) in 33 games with Minnesota. Clifford, who had seven points (4-3=7) in nine games with Ontario, has 10 points (4-6=10) in 33 games with Los Angeles.
On getting to know Devin Setoguchi with Ontario:
“I was down there, and he was down for probably two or three weeks. I got to know him a little bit. He’s a good guy. He plays a strong game, plays hard. So it’ll be nice to see him out there tonight.”
On rarely playing on the same night with Setoguchi:
“I think only one time we were both in the lineup. I think when I got there – and he had a lot of friends on the team too – we kind of sat down with the coaches and discussed playing time, and that we were hoping that it was going to be short term so we didn’t want to knock any guys out of any positions. So they just kind of switched it around a little bit. There was one game that we played together.”
On what he learned about the way Setoguchi plays:
“I was surprised with the amount of speed he has. He’s really quick with his first three steps. Obviously, he’s got a knack for scoring.”
On whether he still keeps tabs on Ontario’s progress:
“Absolutely. They’re doing pretty well. I think they’re second going into playoffs, and that’s starting pretty soon. I still keep in touch with a few guys, and [Colton] Yellow Horn’s up in the American League. Hux (Chris Huxley) is up there, and there’s a whole bunch of guys that are making the jump to the American League, so it’s good to see that.”
On not facing Minnesota for the first time until March 30:
“We knew it was going to be a different schedule coming into this season, se we’ve just got to adjust to it and just take it one game at a time, and tonight we’ve got Minnesota.”
On whether there’s relief that the most challenging portion of the schedule is almost done:
“Yeah. I think for the most part we’re just kind of trying to think ahead, and you go one game at a time and look at it that way. But it’s definitely nice to get the tough stretch out of the way.”