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A Different Kind of Leader

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
Ryane Clowe has long been an established leader inside the Sharks locker room. But it may not have been until he was awarded the alternate captain’s “A” for road games that the knowledge was brought to the attention of the casual fan.

Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle and Patrick Marleau (a home alternate captain) bring an invaluable level of talent and experience to the leadership table and are widely known for helping Canada win Olympic gold last winter. Clowe may not have their international and All-Star credentials, but there’s a reason his talents on-and-off the ice deserve him a letter on his sweater.

Clowe is a strong member of San Jose’s top producing offensive forwards, putting him on the ice enough to handle the alternate captain’s duties during a game. But it may be Clowe’s work that separates him from the other three.

“He’s probably a little more vocal,” Boyle said. “Patty and I are a little quieter and even Jumbo to a certain extent.”

“He’s not afraid to challenge his teammates and in turn when they challenge him, he accepts the challenge and responds to him,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “I’m sure that’s why his teammates wanted him as one of the leaders. Of that leadership group, he has some credibility. He’s not afraid to speak his mind with the dominant players in our leadership group and tell them what he thinks.”

Calling Clowe is vocal doesn’t mean he’s a big talker, just that he can get the necessary point across.

“It’s directness,” McLellan said. “Clowe doesn’t fool around with pep and fluff. He calls it as he sees it and that’s why he’s effective.”

“Probably the reason I have an ‘A’ is because I’m more vocal,” Clowe said. “I don’t speak to just speak. I like to think there’s something behind it and there’s timing. You don’t want it to sound like a broken record talking every game.”

Besides the verbal abilities, Clowe’s background also provides an alternative vantage point from Thornton, Boyle and Marleau.

“He plays a little bit of a different role,” Boyle said. “Jumbo, Patty and myself are more so-called play makers and he brings a harder edge to his game. He’s about playing physical. It’s a different view. He sees and plays the game differently.”

“When you look at his career and the road travelled, there are a lot of players than can relate to it,” McLellan said. “He wasn’t a high draft pick and he’s put a lot into his game. His game has evolved and he has something in common with (a lot of players). He plays offensive minutes, but he plays tough minutes as well. He has a lot in common with those type of players. That’s somewhat different from the others.”

And when a teammate needs some physical assistance, he can always go to Clowe.

“I can always go out and throw in a fight and give the guys a lift on the bench and also with Frazer (rookie forward McLaren) and some of the other guys,” Clowe said.

It’s not often when a club needs a player to go against a heavyweight that the player is so talented offensively or someone honored with wearing a letter on his sweater.

“Clowe is very much a team player,” McLellan said. “He takes care of his teammates and we’ve seen that a lot.”

While there isn’t a dramatic age gap, Clowe being just 28 years old, as opposed to someone in their 30s, can also be beneficial in assisting with the leadership.

“We’ve got so many different personalities and we’ve got 35-year-olds and 25-year-olds,” Clowe said. “There is a big gap between ages. As a leader, you try to balance it out. Sometimes you’ve got to talk to guys. Some guys, you’ve kind of got to yell or scream at them. I know sometimes I need that. Some guys you’ve got to take a tamer approach.”

Whatever the approach, McLellan gave an “A” on Clowe because he’ll do whatever it takes to help his team.

McLellan noted that while defenseman Derek Joslin is currently skating with the team, he won’t be returning soon. When Joslin is healthy, the Sharks may or may not have a roster move to make.

“We can have two extra forwards or two extra D,” McLellan said. “Traditionally, we’ve gone with two extra forwards, but we have the ability to do it with the D if we want. I think it’s important for young players to be getting playing time as well.”

Defenseman Douglas Murray was one of the many Sharks who attended Game Two of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers on Thursday night. For Murray, it ranked among one of the biggest sporting events he’s ever seen.

“I had seen a World Series game before at Yankee Stadium when I was in high school,” Murray said. “The Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight is up there. I’ve sat courtside and watched LeBron (Miami Heat star James). I’ve never been to the World Cup, but the European championships were big. This was right up there.”

Murray noted the Giants fans, much like Sharks fans, had a great perspective on cheering on their club.

“I love going to a game up there,” Murray said about going to AT&T Park. “It’s a great atmosphere. The fans are good people. If they saw a Texas Rangers fan, they may have joked around with him, but it was all good fun. It was the way it was supposed to be. The fans were there enjoying the sport and having a good time.”

There was some recognition of the Sharks players up there, but for the most part, they were like everyone else and joining in with the group high-fives when the Giants scored.

San Jose will play hosts to Anaheim Saturday night at HP Pavilion and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and

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