His separated shoulder was so painful and his movement so restricted, his teammates said he needed help just getting his jersey on. But don’t look for San Jose Sharks’ forward Ryane Clowe to make any excuses.
“Yeah it was pretty sore,” the Fermeuse native told the Telegram Thursday, the day after the Sharks were eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL Western Conference final.
“But once you get the adrenaline and the blood going at the start of the game, you don’t think about it much.”
Clowe said the injury he picked up in the second-round series with Detroit was especially frustrating against Vancouver.
“My game is about protecting the puck and holding on to it and I didn’t think I could do it the way I wanted,” said Clowe.
“The first few games of the (Vancouver) series were pretty tough. But at that stage in the playoffs, you just play through it.”
Clowe’s frustration was manifest after Kevin Bieksa’s strange-play goal midway in the second overtime period of Wednesday's game in Vancouver (see story, page C2). The marker gave the Canucks a 3-2 win and the best-of-seven series 4-1.
“You can’t help but say ‘why not us?’ Why didn’t we get that sort of bounce? But we didn’t play good enough in the first two games anyway,” said Clowe.
“We felt we were the better team in the last three games. We felt we were getting stronger as the series went on and if we could have gotten it to Game 6 … but that’s how it goes, I guess.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing and it’s going to sting for awhile. You prepare yourself mentally to be in the final. We expected a long run and now, it’s over.”
Clowe who chose not to meet with reporters after Wednesday’s game.
“I’m always available and they (media) know that,” said Clowe. “It was just one of those things. We had a couple of bad breaks in that game (including Bieksa’s goal). Everyone was frustrated. I was frustrated. I just wanted to calm down and keep my cool. Sometimes, it’s better to say nothing at all.”
Clowe said it was disappointing getting so close the Stanley Cup final only to come up short again.
“Our team was built to win the Stanley Cup and that’s our goal every year,” he said. “It’s not just to make the playoffs or get past the second round. We wanted to make it all the way.”
Clowe realizes there will be talk about blowing up Sharks and starting over, but he says not so fast.
“Yeah it was pretty sore. But once you get the adrenaline and the blood going at the start of the game, you don’t think about it much.” - Ryane Clowe
“I still think we’re going in the right direction and we don’t want to take a step back now,” he said. “The toughest thing is how tight the league is. Next year, you can expect teams like Calgary, Chicago and St. Louis to be better and we need to make sure we’re going to grow as well.”
“I’m sure the (Sharks’ general manager) Doug Wilson and (coach) Todd McLellan will evaluate things and make adjustments.
“But I liked our team this year. I think it’s the best one we’ve had since I’ve been here.
“We got to the final four the past few years, so there’s no reason to blow it up. We haven’t won the Cup, but we’re knocking on the door. We’ve still got guys in the prime of their careers. But,” he conceded, “there will be some new faces. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
Clowe finished as San Jose’s second-leading scorer in the playoffs with six goals and 15 points, two less then Sharks’ captain Joe Thornton, who also played with a separated shoulder.
Clowe had been listed as having an upper-body injury, but the Sharks managed to keep the exact nature of the injury a secret, so much so that Canucks’ forward Ryan Kesler kept asking Clowe how his concussion was doing.
The San Jose Mercury News said Clowe was scheduled to meet with the team’s medical staff today to find out if surgery will be required. The newspaper said Clowe might have three to four months of rehab ahead of him.
But that’s not what’s on his mind today.
“You think of how much all the guys are banged up and how much they have sacrificed and there’s nothing to show for it,” he said.
Clowe will watch the rest of the playoffs, especially fellow Newfoundlanders Teddy Purcell with Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins’ Michael Ryder.
“I wish them well and I’ll be rooting for whoever makes it to the final.”
In the meantime, he’s going to take four to six weeks off and not do a thing.
“I’ve got to recover from a few bumps and bruises and it’s good mentally to step away from the game and relax. That’s always nice.”
Clowe said the weather in San Jose is “pretty nice now” and later he’ll take a vacation “somewhere” before heading back to Newfoundland “when the weather starts to warm up back home.”