Injury to Clowe could cost Sharks a new leader

f the puck to the throat that caused left wing Ryane Clowe to leave Wednesday night’s game early turns out to be serious, the Sharks will be losing him at a time when his leadership skills are starting to be recognized.

For the first time in his career, Clowe has been wearing an “A” on his jersey since the injury to Joe Thornton, and coach Todd McLellan said that reflects the Newfoundland native’s work both on and off the ice.

“He’s been very authoritative — locker room, practice, bench, during play,” McLellan said before the game. “It’s Ryane Clowe at his best. He’s skating better, he’s been confident.”

Before the game, Clowe said he didn’t know he would be an alternate captain until he picked up his jersey before Sunday’s game against Colorado. But he said he had been making an effort to be more of a locker room presence.

“I guess I still consider myself one of the young guys,” said Clowe, 27, “but it was something I think needed to happen this year. Everything before, leadership in the room kind of has been Patty and Joe. It was time for some of the other guys to step up and take a bigger role.”

Clowe wasn’t very productive early in the season with only one goal and one assist in his first 13 games. But he entered the Dallas contest on a five-game point streak that has helped him reach a career-high 53 points.

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