Kyle Clifford had previously been skating with the call-ups from Manchester, colloquially known as the Black Aces. Though he had worn a red non-contact jersey in previous skates with that group, on Friday he took the ice in a white practice jersey, raising questions over whether he had been cleared for contact and whether he would travel with the team to San Jose.
“Cliffy is skating with the [Black Aces] now because he can’t have contact,” Darryl Sutter said on Friday.
On whether Clifford would travel to San Jose, Sutter didn’t tip his hand. “I don’t know,” he said.
Not much else was gained when Clifford sat down to his stall and spoke with a group of reporters that tiptoed around questions they understood would not likely elicit anything revealing during a tight-lipped time of the year.
Kyle Clifford, on whether he has been cleared for contact:
“You should ask Kinger.”
On Darryl Sutter saying he hasn’t been cleared for contact:
“There you go. There’s your answer.”
On whether he’s traveling to San Jose:
“It’s up in the air right now.”
On how it has felt getting on the ice with the Black Aces and now with his teammates:
“It was good just to get back out there. I’ve been skating for [a few] days now, so it definitely feels good.”
On whether he sees himself being able to come back in the playoff series:
“It’s up in the air right now. I think those are the best answers you guys are going to get.”
On rejoining his teammates at practice:
“I’ve been practicing with the Black Aces the last couple of days, too. It was probably [my] third time on the ice.”
On his reaction to the ending of Game 2:
“Hell of a job by our boys. Battle it out to the end, and they kept their composure. They did a great job. I thought we played well. We deserved that.”
On whether it was a type of game where he was “itching” to be on the ice:
“Yeah, absolutely. Any time you’re out of the lineup, it’s definitely tough. It’s just good to see we pulled out the win, and it was a great job by our team.”
On the frustration of missing time in the playoffs two years in a row:
“It’s definitely frustrating. We’ve still got lots of playoff time left, so it’s a good thing.”