On Monday, the San Jose Sharks fell to the steaming hot Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, in San Jose. Now most of us in the media found the game to be a highly competitive, and entertaining seesaw battle.
However, the following is what their fifth year winger and alternate captain Ryane Clowe had to say, in full, during the post-game media scrum.
For context purposes, the exact questions from the reporters are also included.
Cam Gore of Prohockeynews.com: “What are your thoughts on the game tonight, Ryane?”
“They (Vancouver) played back-to-back games and had 50 shots, I mean that’s enough said there. Trying to figure it out, we just you know, we just wanna cheat at times. That’s how it is, you know? They’re (Vancouver) not afraid to play a sound defensive game, and they’ll stick to it. And we got guys that wanna do it occasionally. Not all the time though, because that’s hard work. And when you work hard and you win, you feel it after the game and I guarantee you right now there are guys that don’t feel that tired after that game. It’s just terrible. First place team, back-to-back games tied going into the third. You know it was my fault on that last goal, he (Burrows) got underneath me, high-stick or not. It’s just things like that in the defensive zone, it’s unacceptable. And I guess we can say we’re gonna fix it but when are we gonna fix it?”
Comcast Sports Net’s Brodie Brazil: “Ryane, are you saying it’s more of an effort thing than a execution thing right now?”
“I don’t know, it’s probably a little bit of both. I think it’s just an individual thing, mentally. Do you want to score four goals or do you want to win a game? Are you happy losing with five goals, losing 6-5 maybe? Or would you rather like an LA, 1-0? Are guys happy then? I don’t know. Maybe they want to score goals and get points. We’ve got to figure it out though. It’s probably got to come from leadership but I don’t know. It’s frustrating. I’m pissed off. That’s for sure.”
Clowe, San Jose’s sixth round draft pick from 2001, made his NHL debut five years ago appearing in 18 games during the 2005-06 season. A devastating knee injury wiped out the majority of his second full season in ’07-’08, but over the last two-and-a-half seasons, the Newfoundland native has been a steady force on the Sharks’ top scoring lines.
This season, his performance alongside star rookie center Logan Couture has carried the bulk of the chances in the offensive zone for San Jose. Fellow forwards Joe Pavelski, Benn Ferriero and Devin Setoguchi have all filled out the third spot on the “second” line at times this season but the Clowe-Couture combination has been intact since mid-November and it doesn’t look to change any time soon.
And one of the main reasons the two work so well together is that shift in and shift out they put in the necessary work, or effort to be successful.
But going back to Clowe’s comments, it simply isn’t difficult to figure out which of his teammates he may have been targeting.
Of course, Clowe won’t directly name names, but let’s be real for a minute here. When Clowe says “I guarantee you right now there are guys that don’t feel that tired after that game,” then rhetorically asks “Do you wanna score four goals or do you wanna win a game?” and caps off his rant with “maybe they want to score goals and get points,” he’s not talking about Kent Huskins.
So just who are the ” guys” that Clowe feels aren’t tired enough? Just who are the “they” who maybe wanna score goals and get points?
Don’t tell me it’s Scottie Nichol.
It’s clearly not Jamie McGinn with his still unfortunate goose egg in the goal column despite continuing to be an effective checking line winger. Nor is it Douglas Murray, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Couture, or Setoguchi.
And it is certainly not Dan Boyle, by far the most consistent player on the Sharks’ roster game in and game out since his arrival in 2008.
Make no bones about it, Clowe’s comments are clearly intended at one of three players in particular, and possibly at all three of them. And he has every right to call them out without actually calling them out.
Clowe is on pace to shatter his career point totals this season. His 35 points in 40 games puts him on pace for 72 come the end of the regular season, which would best his 57 in 82 last season. But not only is Clowe on pace for a career high in actual totals but his current point per game rate this season of .87 is still significantly higher than his .73 mark from two seasons ago.
As both the numbers show off the ice and the effort seen on the ice, Clowe is the only non-rookie Sharks forward playing at or surpassing his best brand of hockey. Until that changes…until the rest of the Sharks’ forwards, (specifically the one or ones to whom Clowe was unofficially referencing) start playing their best brand of hockey, the Sharks won’t be able to find that consistency they have been looking for all season.