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Clackson Follows in Father's Footsteps

Tuesday, 10.21.2008 / 1:39 PM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Clackson Follows in Father\'s Footsteps
Matt Clackson is putting the lessons he learned from his dad, former NHLer Kim Clackson, to good use with the AHL\'s Philadelphia Phantoms.
Flyers prospect Matt Clackson skates in a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. (Jack Cassidy)

Matt Clackson has seen the videos, read the articles and digested the statistics. Actually, he had no choice as the son of Kim Clackson, one of the more physically imposing NHL players of the 1970s.

"I've seen the tapes and from what I remember, dad was a pretty intimidating guy," Clackson said.

The elder Clackson, who spent four seasons in the World Hockey Association with the Indianapolis Racers and Winnipeg Jets, would eventually total 370 penalty minutes in 106 games during two NHL seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1979-80) and Quebec Nordiques. In the first period of his first NHL game, in fact, Clackson tussled with Boston's Stan Jonathan and Al Secord in a prelude to future dust-ups.

What Kim Clackson lacked in stature at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, he certainly made up for in toughness and desire. Now, his eldest son, 23-year-old Matt, who was drafted in the seventh round (No. 215) by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2005, is hoping to follow in dad's footsteps.

"My dad probably had the biggest influence on me than anybody else," said Matt Clackson, now with the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms. "He was at every game and always is there to provide little tips afterwards. Just by the way he played and how hard he worked is something I'll always remember. He is a great role model for me."

After ranking seventh on his team with 25 points and first with 270 penalty minutes in 56 games with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League in 2004-05, Clackson attended Western Michigan University for three seasons. There, the 6-foot, 196-pound left wing learned discipline since fighting is banned on the collegiate level. He not only improved as a defensive forward, but became an effective penalty killer.
"It definitely was tough to play by those standards since the physical aspect is such a big part of my game," Clackson said. "I think college gave me the best chance to work on other areas of my game, and I feel that really helped me get to this point. After three years of college, I feel I'm ready and that's why I decided to leave after my junior season. I feel this would be the best place to improve and continue my hockey career. The college game is a lot different than pro with regard to defensive coverage, and you must be a lot more disciplined within your system or you're in trouble."

On March 19, Clackson signed a two-year contract with the Flyers and appeared in two games with the Phantoms, picking up 19 penalty minutes.

"Matt's a real tough kid," Flyers Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor said. "He's a hard-working player with a very strong work ethic. He's a character guy, and I don't think you can ever have enough of them in your system. When it comes to his chances as a pro, Matt's a guy who is going to have to be physical to succeed. That's his game, and we expect nothing less of him.

"We've seen him drop the gloves, and he can play that style — but he's also come a long way in other areas of his game."

Clackson's zest to showcase that physicality got the attention of Phantoms coach Craig Berube, now an assistant coach to John Stevens with the Flyers.

"I've seen him the last few years at the camps and during his time with the Phantoms and he is certainly determined," Berube said. "He's a big tough winger that goes out and plays physical. But he knows how to play it simple by hitting, forechecking and mixing it up when he has to."

"I want to continue (the physical aspect) of my game, but I don't want that to be my whole game," he said. "I think it's a good part to keep in my repertoire but I just don't want to dwell on being intimidating and able to fight. I also want to be able to, if needed, to make the hits, skate and do what I have to do to play and help my team."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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