Coaching Bulls teaches Clowe valuable lesson about himself

Coaching Bulls teaches Clowe valuable lesson about himself
November 24, 2012, 10:09 pm
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It takes just a few shifts to realize Sharks forward Ryane Clowe utilizes a similar approach to coaching, as he does to playing.

"Soon as you get behind the bench, the same emotions come out," said Clowe. "I'm on top of it, screaming, and I'll catch myself."

In his last three seasons with San Jose, the gritty and durable winger has gained a reputation for the versatility of an sport utility vehicle. Clowe's average of 55 points and 110 penalty minutes per year are proof that he can score the puck, while at the same time, accumulate fives for fighting. Now he's growing in a different phase of the game.

During the lockout, Clowe is one of several NHL players who have taken up coaching at lower levels. For the last four weeks, he has assisted the San Francisco Bulls and head coach Pat Curcio in the areas of special teams and defense.

"It's night and day having him around, I can't tell you how grateful I am," Curcio told me. "The biggest thing is being able to bounce some hockey stuff off someone other than our small staff."

In the ECHL, resources, technology and simple manpower are proportionately less than what's available to NHL coaching staffs. Having the additional eyes and ears of a current seven-year veteran of the world's top league has been a big boost for San Francisco's expansion franchise.

"I can't say this about a lot of players, but there are some that learn (how to teach) as they are being taught. And Clowe is one of those guys."

Bulls captain Justin Bowers can easily see the impact San Jose's alternate captain has made on the farm club.

"The way we're playing, our system, our X's and O's have improved a lot," Bowers told me. "When Ryane Clowe came here, he almost simplified how we were taught to play. He's got a way of teaching that comes from the higher level, and I think that's helped our team for sure."

But this isn't just a one-sided affair. The bench stint has also been a good experience for Clowe -- the coach.

"I've realized as a coach, when you get your point across, and you say something works, then they do it and it does work, I think that's the most rewarding thing," Clowe said.

But that's not the only rewarding thing.

"I feel like I win too, when we win," Clowe said. "When we lose, I'm pissed off too."

For now, Clowe will continue practicing with the team too keep his conditioning level up, while gaining valuable experience behind the bench. Teaching, he says, has given him a whole new respect for those who coach the game.

It has also made him realize something else.

"I really enjoy coaching," Clowe told me. "But there's one thing I've figured out ... I'm not ready to start yet."