May 12, 2011
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UPDATED 5:17 p.m.: Sharks winger Ryane Clowe, who missed Game 6 and was a game-time decision for Game 7, will skate for San Jose, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Clowe is San Jose's leading scorer in the postseason.
SAN JOSE -- Ryane Clowe and his upper body injury that seems mostly like a concussion remains a game-time decision, if you believe Todd McLellan.
We suspect otherwise -- that after Clowes 20-minute on-ice session with assistant coach Jay Woodcroft, McLellan learned everything there was to learn, from Clowe, Woodcroft and trainer Mike Aldrich, and has decided. Hes just choosing to keep that decision to himself for the moment.
He said hes feeling pretty good, McLellan said after Thursday morning skate (Clowe was not made available to the media). But his health will be the deciding the factor. What he and Mike tell me.
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Clowes workout included tight turns, one-timers on goalie Antero Niittymaki and general awareness. There didnt seem to be a lot of truly taxing work or skills that required quick head movements, but thats indicative of nearly nothing. If it helps at all, Clowe never evidenced a thumbs-up or a smile to indicate that he was symptom-free, or so symptom-light that he knew hed be good to go.
He was also coy about whether he would revert to his normal line arrangement, with Joe Thornton between Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi, Logan Couture between Dany Heatley and Clowe (or Benn Ferriero), Joe Pavelski between Kyle Wellwood and Torrey Mitchell, and Scott Nichol between whomever and whomever else.
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He did, however, acknowledge that the normal lines were better in the third period of Game 6 when Couture was returned to center as opposed to playing on the left side of the Thornton line. In other words, his lineup decision may be as simple as Clowe or Ferriero to Coutures right.
Either way, this is the Sharks biggest game ever because of whats at stake, both on and off the ice. For the players, the franchise, and the customer base.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.