Cal Clutterbuck’s on-ice and off-ice personalities couldn’t be more different. On the ice, he’s a wrecking ball, a physical force throwing his body at everything that moves, while agitating the opposition. But that aggressiveness is nowhere to be found when speaking to him off the ice. He is a soft-spoken family man and scratch golfer.
So when Clutterbuck went home to Welland, ON this summer to train, his motivation wasn’t revenge on the Washington Capitals. It’s bigger than that. His eyes are fixed on the prize and he’s motivated by the thought of winning the Stanley Cup with the Islanders.
“[The Game Seven loss] is not something I think about on a daily basis,” Clutterbuck said. “For me, I view it as a building block for the team. My excitement is geared towards trying to improve upon it next year. As a player, the ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup and this is a good group of guys to do it with.”
The 2014-15 season could be viewed as the foundation for the current Islanders squad. Many of the players brought in last year are inked to long-term deals, which will keep the same faces – and big pieces – in the locker room for years to come. Clutterbuck echoed Josh Bailey’s sentiment that keeping a relatively intact roster, especially one that netted 101 points, is a good thing, even as other Metropolitan Division teams shook things up.
“We’re more than capable as a hockey team,” Clutterbuck said. “You get this group and put them together, you have to be able to grow with the team and go through the experiences without jumping the gun and changing things or bringing in new people. Management has shown confidence in the group.”
He added that the group’s cohesiveness could give the Islanders an advantage in the early goings of the season, while other teams work to develop chemistry and find their identities.
It’ll also help as the Islanders make the transition to Barclays Center and a different gameday routine from years past. Clutterbuck, whose comb over, tattoo sleeve and moustache should fit in well in Brooklyn.
“I’m intrigued and excited,” he said of playing on Atlantic Ave.
Clutterbuck also touched on a league-wide change, as the NHL introduces 3-on-3 overtime for next season. He’s into what the change represents.
“Three-on-three is a step towards trying to separate teams a little bit more, end games quicker and have the team that carries the play win the game,” Clutterbuck said. “We’ll see if that works out that way, but I think that was the idea behind it. I’m all for the games ending in regular time and playing hockey.”
And for a player with Clutterbuck’s speed, more open ice has to be enticing.
As for his training, Clutterbuck started skating “with a purpose” a little earlier than usual this offseason. It’s a slight change on his usual routine, as he usually ramps up the on-ice sessions in August. By his accounts, training is going well. His body is fit and his mind is clear. He’s motivated by the ultimate prize – and Islanders fans know what that drive is going to look like on the ice next season.