Last night Ryane Clowe updated Cory Sarich’s jerk card.
See, back in the day, the Calgary Flames defenseman earned himself a lifetime target-on-back membership with his infamous decapitation of Patrick Marleau during the 2008 playoffs.
That one is still hard to watch.
Now, just in case Sarich might have thought his felony had been forgotten, Ryane Clowe reminded him last night that taking runs against skill players is still somewhat frowned upon in these parts.
To Sarich’s credit, and in light of the crush of heightened scrutiny and suspensions around NHL head shots these days, his hit was 100% clean. Logan Couture had his head down a little, and Sarich came in and bowled him over. And luckily for Couture, he saw enough of Sarich to duck and avoid the full brunt, though probably sustaining enough of a thump to remind him not to admire his passes anytime soon.
So, don’t expect any investigations or suspensions of Cory Sarich, nor will we have to endure any tearful Bertuzzian press conference where Cory talks about how he wasn’t held enough as a kid.
And, because this isn’t Montreal, there also won’t be any rioting.
More importantly, what last night’s events showed is that there also won’t be another hit against a San Jose Sharks skill player like the one Marleau took back in 2008, so long as Ryane Clowe is around.
Clowe’s immediate response to Sarich’s hit last night wasn’t even meant for Sarich himself. I mean, who cares about him or the Flames? Calgary sucks outloud right now, and short of a miracle, they won’t even make the playoffs and more likely, this is the last time San Jose sees their mugs until next season.
No, the message served up by Ryane Clowe last night was meant for the audience of every team who actually will make the postseason, and more to the point, teams who the Sharks might be up against a couple weeks from now.
Quite simply, run our guys and get run.
Gone are the days of retribution only served up by unskilled San Jose Sharks goons. Lovable heavies who were more appropriate for a game in early December, but come playoff time rarely saw the light of day. Really, a couple years ago, that was all the Sharks had, and as soon as the playoffs started and the goons went on the shelf, the team was physically vulnerable.
Not anymore, and the beauty of a guy like Ryane Clowe, a pure NHL Power Forward, roaming the ice is that many nights he is the most skilled Sharks offensive player and every night he is watching over the Sharks like its’ collective older brother.
There wasn’t one questionable hit suffered by a Sharks player at the hands of an opponent this season that Ryane Clowe did not weigh in on.
Guess what? There won’t be one in this year’s playoffs either, and last night’s demonstration was notice to any Sharks playoff opponent that the Sheriff is watching.
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