Experience With DeBoer & Sharks
If 32-year-old former San Jose Sharks winger Ryane Clowe does indeed hang up his skates this offseason, new Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer should give him a call. Clowe played under DeBoer in New Jersey and played for years with the current core group of Sharks players. While perhaps unorthodox to give what would be a freshly retired player an assistant coaching job in the NHL, the Sharks could very much use some positive PR after last season.
The 2014-15 Sharks season was jam packed with drama. Among the issues were the dreaded “rebuild” talk, letting go beloved color commentator Drew Remenda, stripping Joe Thornton of the captaincy, bringing in “ice girls”, and signing John Scott. San Jose’s season clearly didn’t go according to plan with the Sharks missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Fans are not happy, the home sellout streak ended and the attendance numbers are likely to drop again this season.
Therefore, the Sharks and Deboer should consider an outside the box choice as one of their assistant coaches. Clowe would be the ideal choice assuming he retires due to concussion concerns and is interested in coaching. The rugged winger was a popular figure in the Sharks’ locker room and with the fans. Bringing him back to be the de facto power-play coach would be something for the fans to cheer about again. With Thornton continuing to lead a deadly top unit, the Sharks certainly don’t need a veteran power-play guru to be assistant coach. Plus it is not like Clowe was a stranger to the power-play. While being a gritty tough winger, Clowe could score goals too and did so on the man advantage. Thirty-two of Clowe’s 112 career goals came on the power-play, including 11 man-advantage markers during the 2008-09 President’s Trophy winning team.
Bridge Between Players & Management
Clearly there were issues between players and management last season. Clowe could be an ideal type of bridge between the two sides. Being a coach but also a former teammate of Thornton’s he can play that go between role that sees both sides. He can also be just a measure of make good from Doug Wilson to his treatment of Thornton last season. Clowe was an alternate captain while the two were teammates and a source close to Thornton’s camp says the two remain good friends.
Plus it’s not as if Clowe hasn’t had any coaching experience. During the 2012-13 lockout, Clowe was behind the bench for the short lived San Francisco Bulls ECHL team. Clowe kept in shape by practicing with the Bulls but suited up in formal attire for the games alongside head coach Pat Curcio. Of course it was an incredibly short coaching stint, but a coaching stint nonetheless. When asked during his time with the Bulls, Clowe definitely didn’t shut down the idea of coaching being a part of his future.
DeBoer bringing in veteran NHL coaches like Adam Oates or Dave Barr is far more likely but sometimes going off the grid pays off down the line. While Oates is known for being a power-play genius, do the Sharks really need his services? They were already a top unit power-play under Todd McLellan, Larry Robinson, Jim Johnson, and Jay Woodcroft as coaches last season. Having Clowe on board and behind the Sharks bench would be applauded by fans. Something Sharks fans didn’t do a whole lot of last season.