Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The curious case of Mr. Clowe

Last night, Ryane Clowe was struck in the head by a slapshot, which he said was the last straw in a game that caused him great deal of agitation:

“I was boiling up to here before the puck in the head,” Clowe said, holding his hand even with his forehead, “and it probably tipped me over. More than anything, I just didn’t want to have to leave the game. That’s what I was ticked off about.” -Mercury News

That seems like a reasonable explanation for an otherwise inappropriate outburst.  I have another, more scientific explanation.  Observe where the subject was struck by the flying puck.  You can see the mark on his head near the end of this sequence gif’ed by @mymclife:

Clearly, Brent Burns’s shot struck Ryane Clowe right in the Agreeableness.  Also nearby are Time and Memory, which would explain his confusion about when exactly he decided to murder his stick.  I suppose the team could learn from this, not only to be more careful about where they shoot high slapshots.  They might also think of ways to “tap into” desirable emotional responses in the players, as with a small rubber mallet.  They do talk a lot about how important emotion is to the game, this might be the answer.

Silliness aside, it is very alarming, and I don’t mean the smashing of objects on the bench.  Clearly Clowe was not completely deranged, since Havlat had no trouble settling him down.

Did it immediately cross my paranoid mind that by pitching that fit, Clowe released adrenaline that could mask symptoms of injury?  Of course.  Who hasn’t smashed some inanimate object to bits or shouted obscenities as a response to sustaining an injury?  It works, doesn’t it? 

Clowe said he did not leave the game for quiet room time but to “cool off.”  Well that doesn’t make any sense.  You don’t get to leave the game to have a tantrum.  Maybe he thought that was why he left but I hope someone was observing him appropriately.  He had been, after all, shot in the head.

This morning at practice, Clowe did not skate but neither did a number of others.  It’s something.  Why does it seem to me that veteran players get more leeway with determining how to deal with injuries or suspected injuries?  Young players get hauled away pronto for observation and treatment, but throw Danny Briere headfirst into the boards and he is allowed to say “nah, I’m fine, I dragged myself to my feet, didn’t I?”  I can understand playing through injuries to the extremities but when it’s your head your judgment must necessarily be suspect.

How is the other patient doing? Our little nest of playoff hopes?  The Sharks looked a little scrambly last night, not as orderly as against the Bruins.  Maybe that was the Coyotes doing what they do, causing a commotion.

Hm.  “Commotion” is the French word for “concussion.”  I guess those are on my brain again.

Anyway, the Sharks fought through it.  Illness, whether temporary or terminal, is not pretty:

“You’ve heard us in the past talk about how we play the game and we’re evaluating on that, but right now it’s flat out about wins and losses,” McLellan said after today’s practice. “I didn’t think we were particularly sharp last night against Phoenix. But we won the game and that’s very very important…”-Working the Corners

We hear good things like the team is trying to stay loose, they’re not dwelling on the full magnitude of their position in the standings.  They’re taking it one game at a time, one shift at a time, etc.  Good, good, one day at a time.

Funny how this season the team was supposed to avoid those last-minute scrambles at the end of regular season, so they could stay fresh for the playoffs.  It reminds me of how just thinking about a diet or an exercise program can make you hungry and tired and fatter within hours.  I wonder which part of the head controls “backfire” impulses?

I remember one old horse who was suffering from colic.  After 40-some hours of checking him every two hours to dose him with pain meds, I stood listening to the vet say “he looks like he’ll pull through.”  My response, no doubt inspired by fatigue, was “but he’s so old, how much longer can he last anyway?”  The vet was surprised, acknowledged that it is true, we’re all going to die, but that’s no reason to hurry the process along.  Then he told me to get some sleep. (The answer to my question was, actually, 15 years.  You just never know.)

I don’t know how many fans share my skepticism at this point, the “we’re all gonna die anyway” lack of hopefulness.  It will go away if they make it to the playoffs, right?

The next obstacle will be a team close to the Sharks in the standings but miles away from them in situation.  I think the Colorado Avalanche are one of the teams McLellan was talking about when he said some teams are glad to be in this last minute race to a playoff spot:

“There’s other teams that are very, very excited about being in this battle because of maybe where they should have been. The demeanor around those types of teams is different than the demeanor around ours and we have to address the mental aspect of that, too….” -Working the Corners

The Sharks seem to be finding a little of that excitement.  When they face the Avs on Monday they will also be facing Colorado’s fancy new high-scoring winger, the one I call a baby dragon, Couture’s bff, Jamie McGinn.  I can’t imagine a more traumatic spectacle than seeing Ginner play against the Sharks.  I wonder if Murray will try to throw him back onto the Sharks’ bench the way he did with Seto?  In his position I would, but gently, very gently.

Optimism, faith, philosophy, all that good stuff is tested now.  If you believe it, you can do it.  If fans believe it at least we aren’t sending bad vibes in the direction of the team.  Believing, believing, believing.

Going for a walk before night falls.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: jamie+mcginn, optimism, phrenology, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan



Can you say Anger Management Problem?

Posted by tourney on 03/25/12 at 09:28 PM ET

petshark's avatar

What problem? Smash stick, feel better, no problem.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 03/25/12 at 10:53 PM ET


Great article! I lol’ed.

Posted by Mike from Vancouver on 03/25/12 at 11:48 PM ET

petshark's avatar


Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 03/26/12 at 12:52 AM ET

Chet's avatar

at least somebody in the pacific knows how to keep it real…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/26/12 at 01:03 AM ET


Gotta love Havlat"s calming pat. Beauty and the Beast?? LOL

Posted by tourney on 03/26/12 at 02:15 PM ET


He’ll have plenty of time to cool off around April 8th or so.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 03/26/12 at 06:58 PM ET

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net

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