had one heck of a rookie campaign. After starting the 2008-09 season with Houston in the American Hockey League, he ended the year as a fan favorite and integral member of the Wild – with a NHL record firmly in hand. As he faces the challenge of matching that success in his upcoming sophomore season, Clutterbuck prepares the same way he did a year ago, reasoning that his summer training was one of the main reasons he had such a remarkable year.
“I’ve just tried to mimic what I did last summer and add some things that I’ve learned along the way.” He continued on the importance of preparing with the same training, adding, “I felt really good going into camp last year and obviously felt pretty good throughout the whole year, so I want to make sure I’m in the same shape, if not better, and just go from there.”
That preparation consists of training for a few hours each morning, Monday through Friday, which includes anything from running sprints, to lifting weights, to jumping on boxes. In addition, Clutterbuck admits distaste for staying indoors when the weather’s nice and often goes for a bike ride or plays a round of golf to get out in the sun.
While much of his offseason training program has remained the same, Clutterbuck now prepares for training camp as a full-time member of the Wild, something he couldn’t have said last summer. He is now more accustomed to Minnesota and showcased it this summer by buying and furnishing a condo in Minneapolis.
The Wild left winger has become so comfortable in Minnesota that he’s spent part of his offseason here. He’s enjoyed many opportunities that come along with the status of a local celebrity – opportunities that any Minnesotan would be jealous of. As part of a TV appearance, he went fishing for the first time in his life this summer and his fishing partner was none other than Minnesota Twins great and avid outdoorsman Kent Hrbek.
Clutterbucks’s enjoyed going to a handful of Twins games this summer, most recently taking his parents to the Metrodome when they came to town. He even found his way down to the field for an experience any baseball fan would be envious of.
“I’ve gotten to know Justin Morneau a little bit and we actually managed to get out there and take batting practice at the Metrodome one day. Myself, [Head Equipment Manager] Tony DaCosta, Josh Harding
and Mark Parrish went down there and took batting practice with those guys. That was a lot of fun.”
Clutterbuck’s time away from Minnesota this summer has been just as eventful as his moments in the State of Hockey. In between visiting friends and family in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, he went to Las Vegas at the end of June for the NHL Players Association’s meetings. Additionally, he appeared on TSN’s “Off the Record” to discuss hockey-related topics with other players and people in the industry.
“It was a show I always watched growing up. There are a lot of pretty cool people that have been on it so it was a highlight for me to get the chance to go on the show.”
On the show, Clutterbuck was congratulated for setting the NHL record for most hits in a season and now admits that he “didn’t even know there was a record for that kind of thing until about 30 games left in the year.” He’s had the summer to consider the accomplishment of leveling 356 hits in 2008-09, a feat that broke the previous mark of 311 set by Dustin Brown of the L.A. Kings in 2007-08, and he still can’t grasp the accomplishment.
“It’s pretty exciting. It’s still kind of odd to me to have a NHL record...It’s pretty funny that I was able to do it. I never would’ve expected it.”
Now that Clutterbuck has the NHL record under his belt, he’s not planning on relinquishing it anytime soon. Regardless, he doesn’t want to get caught up in the record and instead plans to focus on the aggressive style of play that garnered the accolade in the first place.
“I didn’t really think about the record and I didn’t really try to get there. I think if I stick with the same mentality and same game plan then, eventually, with the amount of games that I’ll hopefully be able to play, then I’ll get to or near that mark again, just because it’s part of what I do.”
The chance to solidify his reputation as a physical player leaves Clutterbuck eager to start the 2009-10 campaign. Plus, he knows he and his teammates are ready to get back on the ice together after months apart.
“I think we’re all ready to get the ball rolling…we’re definitely all ready to get back at it.”