With the Sharks on the heels of one of the worst regulation losing streaks since 1997, Ryane Clowe has managed to establish himself as a one of the few bright spots San Jose has to offer.
Which isn't saying much. But at this point, we'll take what we can get.
Labeled by this author as a prime trade target for a San Jose Sharks deadline deal that never occurred, Ryane Clowe has managed to establish himself as one of the better players over the course of this post-Olympic drought that the Sharks have managed to slip into. And although the jury is still out on whether or not he can continue to produce at a sufficient level throughout the final days of the regular season considering his history of being a notoriously streaky player, he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.
A defining moment came in the second period against Vancouver, when Clowe took a Joe Pavelski outlet pass and blew past former-Shark Christian Ehrhoff "as if it was a pick up game somewhere in Frankfurt" according to Fear The Fin author Ivan Makarov. It was a power move that the fanbase hadn't seen since the glory days of future Hall of Famer Steve Bernier*, and one that they had been waiting for Clowe to exhibit during the better part of this year.
Clowe has been excellent on the low cycle lately, and admittedly has been for awhile now, using his 6'2 225 pound frame to protect the puck and generate a consistent flow to the Sharks offensive zone control. It has helped to stop the bleeding of a team that has had an issue with turnovers, while also lending a hand to generating some scoring opportunities as the main well has dried up.
Clowe has also outproduced his pre-Olympic pace in these last ten games. Here is how the top seven forwards (in terms of historic ice time amongst the top six) have performed in relation to their previous output:
Top Seven Scoring Statistics (post-Olympics vs. pre-Olympics)
|Post-Oly||PRE-OLY||POST VS. PRE
Along with improving on his pre-Olympic totals, Clowe has managed to notch a point in seven out of ten games since the Olympics, tied for first with Joe Thornton amongst these forwards.
Now is this the case of mining a small data sample pretty extensively to prove a mostly qualitative point?
But for all the mud that has been flung towards Clowe this season, and I'm just as guilty as anybody, I think a little credit is in order. He's been one of the most consistent Sharks on a team plagued with inconsistency these last few games, and has shown a return to the form he exhibited against the Calgary Flames during the 2008 playoffs.
San Jose needs all hands on deck going into this crucial ten game stretch run to take back the division title. Clowe has tried to prove there still may be a little gas left in the tank. All it takes is getting those big engines going again.
And like I said, at this point, we might as well take any bright spots we can get.