Because I’ll be in transit for virtually the entire afternoon, there will be intermittent coverage over the remainder of the day. I’m hoping to check in and get a quick practice update (the team is scheduled to practice at 2:00 at Toyota Sports Center), but most of today’s reporting will come in the form of quotes, and should Darryl Sutter meet with the media, a Sutter transcript once I arrive back in Los Angeles.
With that in mind, here are several quick notes to share while I was away on family leave:
-Kyle Clifford has been recalled by the Kings after a two-game conditioning stint with AHL-Ontario and will eligible to play Tuesday night against the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz. In two games – shutouts over the San Diego Gulls and Manitoba Moose – Clifford took six shots on goal and was whistled for a roughing minor in the win at San Diego on Friday. Though he jumped straight from the OHL to the NHL as a 19-year-old, Clifford now holds the distinction of being the first player to have played for the ECHL’s Reign, the AHL’s Reign and the Kings. Because he joined AHL-Manchester for the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs, he has represented all Los Angeles affiliates during that span. He has missed the last 23 Kings games since he suffered an upper-body injury when he was elbowed in the face by Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman on December 6.
-Former Kings assistant coach Dave Tippett will become the 24th coach in NHL history to coach 1,000 games when the Kings visit Glendale tomorrow night. He ranks eighth among active coaches in games coached and 20th on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list with 512. With 998 games coached heading into the post-All-Star Break slate, Toronto’s Mike Babcock is fresh on Tippett’s heels. Darryl Sutter will coach his 1,171st NHL game against Arizona on Tuesday.
-The Kings and the United States Hockey League will host the inaugural 2016 Pacific Region Showcase from March 24-27 at Toyota Sports Center. The camp features the region’s top 40 players in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 age groups, according to a press release. The camp will be “operated and coached” by NHL alumni and will feature an informational session as well. This wouldn’t have been a possibility 10-15 years ago, but the growing scope of hockey in Southern California has facilitated this arrangement. With no Division I programs in the state, there is heated competition for a growing talent pool between the USHL (which often acts as a feeder to college hockey programs) and the Western Hockey League.
-Sadly, Nick Nickson, the father of Kings radio broadcaster Nick Nickson, Jr., passed away at the age of 93 last week in Rochester, New York. A fixture on Rochester airwaves, a 2013 inductee into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame and a major influence on his son’s Hall of Fame career, the elder Nickson was memorialized with an obituary in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on January 28.
-Keep Bob Miller in your thoughts and prayers, Kings fans. He is scheduled to undergo heart bypass surgery tomorrow.