A consistent contributor in his rookie season with AHL Cleveland Barons, Ryane Clowe is cranking it up a notch as a sophomore this year. One of San Jose’s bigger forward prospects at 6’2, 215 pounds, Clowe is a tenacious forechecker, battles along the boards, and lays down big hits. Last season the 22-year-old winger had 11 goals and 29 assists in 72 games, and in 2004-05, he now has 6 goals and 11 assists in 25 games. This weekend he moved into the team scoring lead.
Hockey’s Future spoke with Clowe after the Barons’ 1-0 loss to the Mighty Ducks in Cincinnati on Saturday night.
HF: How do you feel that your personal season is going so far?
RC: It’s going pretty good, I mean we are kind of a younger team this year, but I think our line, me, (Patrick) Rissmiller and (Marcel) Goc have kind of clicked from the start. We played together a bit last year at the end of the season too. Personally it’s been pretty good, I got off to a pretty good start, and hopefully can continue.
HF: Can you describe what each guy does on the line and how you complement each other?
RC: I think me and Rissmiller work the corners a lot, we have kind of bigger bodies and Marcel Goc is a real good passer. He finds us open at the net a lot. That’s one thing we do well, we usually get the puck deep and work it well down low. That’s how we get a lot of our chances.
HF: In what way do you feel like you’ve improved since last year?
RC: I think when you first come into the league, the biggest thing you notice is the difference in speed, so I think playing with a full year under my belt has definitely taught me to be a little bit quicker and adjust for the level more. Also, you play against bigger and stronger guys, you get to know their technique. Playing against them you get a little bit tougher. Down in the corners I’m a little bit stronger and am able to hold guys off a little more.
HF: Did you come in at a higher weight this year?
RC: Yeah, I came in maybe 5 or 7 pounds heavier. You don’t want to lose your agility and get too heavy. It’s lower body strength in the legs, that’s the biggest thing. I’m a little stronger on my skates.
HF: What kind of training did you do over the summer?
RC: Just a lot of plyometrics, explosive stuff. That’s what a lot of sprinters do, first
couple strides. That’s what I try to work on, first couple steps, it’s the same thing on the ice.
HF: People have criticized you for your skating, and as you mention it’s something to work on, but it does seem like you get there.
RC: Yeah, I wish I heard that more often, actually, because that’s always what I think too. But it’s
something that every year is getting better. That’s all you can ask for, it’s not something you’re going to change overnight. It’s something with lower body strength, leg strength, your stride gets stronger and we always do a lot of speed drills in practice. It’s just something you have to work on gradually and get better 10 percent at a time.
HF: Some guys are never going to be pretty skaters, just as long as you get there.
RC: Exactly. A lot of guys just get in there and get it done. If you can make up for it with other parts of your game, that’s the key. I guess it’s more or less I’ve got to know when to skate and make sure I’m in good position and that’s the key.
HF: Do you think that’s your biggest weakness then?
RC: Yeah, I need to work on my first couple steps. Obviously I know if I keep
working it’s going to improve. It already has improved from a couple years ago in junior. So hopefully I can keep working on that and try to make the next step.
HF: Are you working with the same people on that?
RC: I have a trainer back home that I’ve had for five summers now and he usually sits down with me and we draw up some stuff that he thinks will help each year. We do that every summer.
HF: Is it just you and him or are there other guys too?
RC: We’ve got Harold Druken, Doug O’Brien, a couple other guys.
HF: What did San Jose tell you to work on, same thing?
RC: Same thing, it’s kind of what I hear a lot. It’s something that I heard in junior, but lately, here in the AHL, I’m competing well and I don’t hear it here so much. It would be different if I was struggling I guess. But obviously it’s something that I’ll just become a better player if I get better at it, so it’s good to work on.
HF: One thing to notice about you, and I think your coach mentioned it before too, is how consistent you are. How do you maintain that?
RC: I think it’s something that happens mentally. Get focused for the game. Sometimes we have three in three and four in five and you feel it, your legs get
tired. But I think if you stay focused, play 60 minutes, play hard, and then you get time to rest.
Sometimes I have my off games, you get a little sidetracked, but mentally, I think that’s the biggest thing as far as consistency goes.
HF: Do you feel that the play in the AHL has really improved this year?
RC: Yeah, last year it was a good league, and this year it has probably picked up a notch with a lot of guys who might have been in the NHL down. Yeah, it’s probably the best league right now with the NHL out. So definitely the excitement and the action has picked
HF: You mentioned the youth of your team, which rookie has really impressed you this year?
RC: I don’t know, we have a lot of good young rookies. We have Josh Prudden and Riley Armstrong, those guys have stepped in and taken on second line roles, third line roles and done a great job. We’ve got Josh Gorges on defense. It’s kind of similar to last year, we have a lot of rookies. The same thing with the turnover this year. But the thing with this organization, you’re a rookie, it
doesn’t matter, you’re going to get a chance, and I think that’s why they develop players well.
HF: Lastly, what’s your personal goal for the season?
RC: Well, if the NHL came back and I got called up, that would be good (laughing). But besides that, just be consistent. We do have such a young team this year, I don’t know if we have a veteran on our team. Just try to lead on the ice by example. I’m not a real old guy, but I’ve been here one year. Hopefully if I’m consistent, you never know what can happen. With the lockout, you never know what can happen, so just be ready if that comes back. More or less just be consistent, because that’s what gets you up there.
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