As mentioned in other player reviews, no one on the B’s had themselves an outstanding postseason (Taylor Hall was pretty good).
But while a few guys had pretty dramatic reversals of fortune once the postseason began, not many saw things go worse than Connor Clifton.
First, the good: Clifton’s regular season was pretty strong, with The Artist Formerly Known As Cliffy Hockey posting career bests in a number of areas. He more than doubled his previous career highs in goals, assists, and points. He had the most shots on goal and attempted shots of his career.
He continued to be physically chaotic, landing the most hits of his career, 52 more than his previous best. Perhaps most importantly, he played the most games of his career: all but four of the B’s 82 regular season games.
(That higher GP number might prompt some to wave off his career highs, but the per-game metrics were still career highs regardless.)
Overall, Clifton was the Clifton we’ve come to enjoy over the past few seasons: good for some offensive highlights, willing to throw his body around, sometimes a little loose with the puck, but generally fun to watch.
Then they playoffs game, and...yeah. You all remember the rest.
Clifton played in Games 1 and 2, and after some trouble in that second game, he sat until Game 6. That Game 6 was probably the most calamitous of them all, with Clifton posting a minus-3, taking a bad penalty, and committing that horrific cross-ice turnover that led directly to a goal.
(I don’t have to post the GIF, I know it is burned into your brains.)
Again, few Bruins had GOOD playoffs, and it should be noted that Clifton’s play is absolutely not the reason the B’s got bounced. But unfortunately, Clifton seemed to be one of the guys who stood out for all the wrong reasons.
As the postseason began, Clifton found himself expendable on a crowded Bruins blue line.
He left for greener pastures in Buffalo, signing a three-year, $9.99 million (what a weird number) contract.
I enjoyed watching him as a Bruin.
And while your entertainment factor may decrease slightly with him gone, your blood pressure will decrease too.
That’s the magic of The Artist Formerly Known As Cliffy Hockey.