Welcome to the second of our six Ryane Clowe injury updates today. We still likely won’t know the playing status of the Sharks forward who missed Game 6 against Detroit with a massive concussion upper-body injury until just prior to puck drop tonight. But that won’t stop us from telling you what he ate for lunch, and if he took a different route to the rink today.
But this update goes beyond the trivial, because Clowe actually put on skates and participated in San Jose’s optional skate this morning.
Clearly this is an encouraging sign, but if we operate under the assumption that Clowe has a head injury (which we are), then I seem to recall another reasonably well known hockey player who continually teased us with dangles around pylons at practice.
Clowe is no stranger to major injuries, but his penchant for press box sitting has decreased in recent years. In 2007-08 Clowe suffered the first major injury of his career, missing 67 games after tearing his ACL and MCL. In the previous season he also missed 21 games after going for the double kill with foot and groin injuries.
Thankfully for Sharks fans, our sample size to gauge how San Jose has played recently sans Clowey is small. He missed seven games this season due to an upper-body injury in April, and an ankle ailment back in January. Clowe may lead the Sharks in playoff scoring with 13 points, but the offensive depth runs deep for the boys in teal, and that showed when the 28-year-old missed time in the regular season.
With Clowe out the Sharks went 5-2-0, and they outscored the opposition 22-18. Most of the usual suspects that score goals for the Sharks, well, scored goals for the Sharks while Clowe watched gleefully with Tostitos and twizzlers from high above (he learned his press box conduct from teammate Kyle Wellwood). Dany Heatley scored four goals and so did Logan Couture, while Joe Thornton had three, and Joe Pavelski had two. Although Clowe scored 24 goals this season, he ranked fourth on a team that was sixth in scoring this year, and has eight 20-goal scorers. Everyone kept scoring merrily in his absence, and then gladly welcomed Clowe back to the offensive arsenal upon his return.
But Patrick Marleau, who’s one of those usual suspects, is still pointless against Detroit, and as Devin Setoguchi said in the Sharks’ dreary locker room prior to Game 6, the unquantifiable intangibles and leadership that Clowe brings are sorely missed when he isn’t in the lineup. For a team that’s been outscored 6-1 in the third period over the last two games and doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation for clutch playoff hockey, a premium has been placed on mental strength.