Originally written April 05, 2012 on Red Light District Hockey:
Ducks_vs_wild_ee93

NASHVILLE – This week I caught up with Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck to talk about the season that was in Minnesota, Mike Yeo’s first season behind the bench and more.

RLD: Let’s talk about the tale of two halves for you guys. What went right in the first half?
Cal Clutterbuck: We were playing a certain way in our system, playing hard. We had a full lineup for the most part. We went through a tough stretch in December, something any team goes through. It was six or seven games went things weren’t going well. We got out of that and looked to be on our way and then had a lot of guys go down to injury. That’s what we’ve been dealing with for the rest of the year.

So you’d say the second half been more about injuries than anything else?
Yeah, we’ve been missing some key players. We’ve been trying to fight through and find a way. Lately we’ve sort of been healthy and the trade deadline we made some moves. It’s been a disappointing season, really.

Is there anything you can take from this year going into next year?
I think when you go through a stretch like this and when things start going against you in the future, I think you’ll know how to deal with it. From an everyday basis to learning how to get out of it to learning how to get out of it while you’re in it. That’s one thing we’ll definitely have to take away from this season.

How has Mike Yeo been in his first year?
He’s been good. It’s been a tough situation for anybody. I think he’s been helping us and trying to handle it the right way. It’s been an extremely disappointing and tough year for us all. Next year it’s going to be really important for us to really make a push, and I think we’ll be able to.

Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi were viewed as two big additions in the off-season. What have they brought to the lineup this year?
‘Seto’ is a good, fast player that can shoot the puck. ‘Heater’ has obviously been around a long time and is a good guy to have around. He knows how to score goals, and he’s scored some big goals for us this year. It’s good to have those two around. Once we get together and healthy as a group and do the things we did at the start of the year, it will start to be fun for us again.

The last time you guys came in here, [Yeo] basically said Jared Spurgeon was the MVP of the defense. What makes him underrated or underappreciated?
He’s smart. He’s one of the smarter young players I’ve ever seen. He knows how to play the game, and you have to be able to know the game and play the game if you’re that small for a defenseman. He’s a big piece for us and we miss him right now quite a bit.

Third in the league in hits; you set the record a few years back. Is that something you take pride in at all?
It’s a big part of my game, but I’m not hung up much on the number or whether I’m leading the league or not.

Talk a little bit about your hometown of Welland, Ontario…
It’s town of about 40,000 people. I was born and raised there, played my Junior A and B hockey there. It’s just a steel-town, really. There are seven or eight NHL players from there, which is pretty good for a town of that size. They love their hockey there. I spend my summers there, so I get back there every year. My wife is from there, her family is from there and we have a lot of friends there.

What’s the story behind the ‘stache?
It started two years ago in November for Movember. I just liked it. I had a pretty good Movember two years in a row. It’s kind of a superstitious thing now and I do it for fun. It’s definitely not like a George Parros thing (with the fans). It’s just something I do for fun every once in a while.

Who’s your roommate on the road? Any bad habits?
My roommate is Darroll Powe. He’s a pretty quiet, pretty standard roommate. He’s good to have around, good to have conversations with. He’s not a weirdo or anything.

In this room, who is the least likely to pay for dinner on the road?
[Long pause] … I would probably say Niklas Backstrom. It’s going to piss him off if he hears about [this].

Best and worst trash talker in the league right now?
Scott Hartnell. He’s outside the box. Goofy. Silly. Says things you wouldn’t expect. Worst? There are a lot of bad ones. Too many to name.

Photo credit: Getty Images
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