Clowe Finds His Way

Wednesday, 12.2.2009 / 4:33 PM PT / News
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Clowe Finds His Way
Good things come to those who wait, as long as they keep working hard. That was the case with Sharks forward Ryane Clowe during the early part of this season.

While not necessarily playing bad hockey by any means, Clowe was unable to produce consistently on offense. He went pointless in the season’s first seven games and had acquired just two points through 13 contests. Things looked rather bleak.

“I’ve never gone through anything like that before,” Clowe said. “Coming into the season, I was so ready and then I got behind the eight ball. It (the pressure) starts to build when you close in on 15 games.”

Partly because of his do-anything nature on the ice, Clowe’s teammates were very supportive of him as continued to work on his game.

“The team and the coaching staff kept supporting me and made me feel important,” Clowe said.

What makes the Newfoundland product such an important part of the Sharks is that he used his other talents to help the team even when the points weren’t coming.

Head Coach Todd McLellan was quick to point out that Clowe can be a bear by using his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame to shield the puck from defenders in the corners or to create turnovers by leaning on opponents who have the puck.

“He has a huge reach and protects the puck well,” linemate and center Joe Pavelski said. “He’s so strong in the corners.”

After that slow start, “Clowie” has a seven-game point scoring streak and has 18 points in his last 18 games.

“It was funny, to start the year when I thought I had a great game, I had no points,” Clowe said. “Now, if I’m not feeling great, the points are happening. I’m just trying to ride the hot streak.”

In the end, Clowe’s skill set and hard work have been a spark plug in the Sharks continued success.

“He plays a lot of tough minutes and he did have a slow start, but he was aware of it and did the right things to break (the trend),” Pavelski said.

The pairing of Pavelski and Clowe has been a staple for parts of three seasons now and has been a big part of the club’s first place ranking for much of that time.

“He’s a tremendous asset on our line and on our team,” Pavelski said.

“We’re a good combination and we talk to each other a lot to make sure we’re ready every shift,” Clowe said. “We played together all last year and some the year before that.”

One reason for Clowe’s offensive drought could be not having Pavelski on his line earlier this season. Pavelski missed 15 games with a lower body injury.

“I missed playing with him when he was injured,” Clowe said.

Fans marvel at the speed of Patrick Marleau, the hands of Joe Thornton and the shot of Dany Heatley, but Clowe has his own niche and is an increasing rare talent in the League. However, it’s not one specific thing, but his overall blend that makes him unique. There are fewer and fewer true power forwards who can skate on the top two lines with skill and still drop the gloves when necessary.

“It’s part of my game to stick up for my teammates,” Clowe said. “I can bring that element if needed, if someone is out there running a teammate.”

Clowe may not ever put up most valuable player-like numbers, but he aspires to an old school type of hockey and is really inspired by players whose talents allowed them to do whatever was necessary on the ice, whether it was playing defense, scoring, fighting or checking. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Clowe’s favorite player growing up was Eric Lindros, a throwback Hart Trophy winner who could play with skill or drop the gloves.

“Eric Lindros was unbelievable,” Clowe said. “When Lindros was in his prime, we (Clowe and his father) would fly to Montreal or Boston when Philadelphia was in town and usually go to two games.”

Clowe patterns his game that way, but it’s the people around the organization who truly appreciate it.

“He’s unique in that he not only produces offensively, but he can police things no matter who the opposition is,” McLellan said. “It’s a nice combination of assets.

“When he’s at his best, he reminds me of some old school players,” Television Color Analyst Drew Remenda said. “He uses his body to his advantage and plays the puck along the boards well. He crashes the front of the net and can stay there and he can shoot the puck.”

It sounds like NHL scouts should be spending more time in Newfoundland as the Sharks efforts there have been well rewarded.

A BREAK IN THE ACTION
Forward Jed Ortmeyer was absent from practice on Wednesday and will likely miss tomorrow’s game vs. St. Louis.

“Jed didn’t skate today and is doubtful for tomorrow,” said McLellan, noting there may need to be a Worcester callup.

NEXT GAME
The Sharks will face St. Louis Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 77 47 22 8 220 188 102
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 75 45 24 6 213 175 96
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 76 44 27 5 219 204 93
7 WPG 76 39 25 12 215 201 90
8 CGY 76 41 28 7 224 201 89
9 LAK 75 37 24 14 200 188 88
10 DAL 76 37 29 10 236 243 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 75 35 28 12 205 209 82
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 76 36 31 9 67
L. Couture 76 25 37 -4 62
J. Thornton 72 14 48 -5 62
B. Burns 76 16 40 -6 56
P. Marleau 76 17 36 -17 53
T. Wingels 69 15 20 -5 35
T. Hertl 76 12 17 -2 29
M. Nieto 66 8 16 -11 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
J. Braun 65 1 22 6 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 7 7 2 .905 2.55
A. Niemi 29 22 7 .914 2.62
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