SAN JOSE - Is Ryane Clowe hockeys most offensively gifted fighter? According to a recent post by NBC Sports Pro Hockey Talk, that just may be the case.
James OBrien recently put together a list of players that accumulated 10 or more fights in each of the last two seasons, but also managed to appear on the scoresheet for reasons other than penalty minutes.
Here is his list and analysis, with a familiar name at the top.
Ryane Clowe: 12 fights and 62 points in 2010-11; 11 fights and 57 points in 2009-10.
Steve Ott: 10 fights and 32 points in 10-11; 11 fights and 36 points in 09-10.
Brandon Prust: 18 fights and 29 points in 10-11; 25 fights and 14 points in 09-10.
Chris Neil: 12 fights and 16 points in 10-11; 13 fights and 22 points in 09-10
When you look at that list, it seems like most of the players can be labeled as pests who fight a bit more than usual or enforcers who get a light amount of points. Clowe stands out in that group, though. He fought the likes of Paul Bissonnette and Jared Boll last season, but also showed how much of an impact he could make while playing focused hockey by scoring 15 points in 17 playoff contests in 2011.
I showed Clowe the clip this morning, and asked him about his general philosophy on fighting and the role that he sometimes serves as an enforcer-type.
I dont think any of my fights are premeditated or predetermined, he said. It depends on the game, the situation. A lot of my fights are protecting or sticking up for teammates."
Clowe played most of last season with Logan Couture, helping the rookie to a phenomenal year that nearly ended with the Calder Trophy. This season hell likely be skating with Couture, as he did on Saturday, and Martin Havlat (when Havlat gets healthy from a shoulder injury). Clowe hopes his presence prevents other teams from taking runs at his linemates.
I think if guys on the other team know that they are going to take a run at a certain player and think Im going to have to deal with this guy, it makes them think twice, he said. It gives the guys a little bit more room on the ice. Obviously, I think fighting is a big part of the game in that sense.
As far as other players in the league who bring offensive skill combined with punching prowess, Clowe compared himself to a guy not on OBriens list.
When I look around the league, the guy who I compare myself to in that category is Milan Lucic, he said, referencing the big man from Boston. I like to think him and I are two players who are unique players because we can do that, and bring a little bit of everything.