San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton skates for first time since injury - Ryane Clowe likely to play;
- San Jose Sharks' Ryane Clowe likely to play; Joe Thornton skates for first time since injury
By David Pollak
Posted: 04/01/2010 09:24:11 PM PDT
Updated: 04/02/2010 09:14:16 AM PDT
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San Jose Sharks Ryan Clowe and Vancouver Canucks' Sami Salo fall down while... ( George Nikitin )
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ryane Clowe could breathe easily Thursday.
That wasn't the case the previous night after he was hit in the throat by a puck fired off the stick of Dallas Stars forward Brad Richards, a frightening moment that led to Clowe being taken to a downtown Dallas hospital for testing after he continued to have difficulty breathing.
Scans showed no fractures, however, and he was back on the ice at Thursday's afternoon practice and should be in the lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
"It was a little scary," Clowe said. "I never had that happen before, and when it happened, it was so quick. You just try to get your breath back."
Clowe's availability was one of two positive signs on the injury front for the Sharks as Joe Thornton skated for the first time since crashing awkwardly into the boards in Saturday's game against the Vancouver Canucks. Thornton, however, isn't likely to return to action just yet.
Richards was trying to clear the puck out of his own zone when it struck Clowe just to the right of his Adam's apple.
"I was expecting to try to pick off his pass, but I was so close to him, I didn't think it was going to be that high," Clowe said. "He got it off quick, and I didn't have a chance to do anything."
Clowe's initial reaction was to pursue the puck, thinking he might be in position for a shot on the Dallas goal.
"But I couldn't catch my breath, and then I had trouble breathing
when I was getting off," he said. The problem continued on the bench "because I was coughing and puked a little bit."
When Clowe's throat started to swell in the locker room, the decision was made to send him to Baylor University Medical Center for further evaluation.
"It was more a precautionary thing last night than anything," said coach Todd McLellan, who has praised Clowe's effort in recent games and made him an alternate captain in Thornton's absence.
Clowe left the hospital and went directly to the airport where the team's chartered jet was ready to take off for Minnesota.
His voice showed no after-effects Thursday, but he said some soreness remained — "just like having a sore throat after the flu."
Thornton also talked of soreness in the area of his lower-body injury after skating for about 45 minutes, but quickly added that's probably normal for someone in his situation.
The Sharks center, who has been out of the lineup for the first time since coming to San Jose, took it easy his first time back on the ice. Though he took part in a couple of low-key drills, he mostly skated on his own, taking long strides, shifting his weight from one leg to the other.
"We weren't cracking the whip behind him or anything like that," McLellan said. "He needs to be comfortable before we do that."
Thornton did push himself more the longer he was on the ice.
"I started to warm up a little bit, so I guess that's why I went a little bit harder," he said. "At the start it was stiff."
Thornton did acknowledge that missing a few games at this point "might have been a good break for me, though, a good rest. Rest the legs a little bit, rest the body and mind and be charged for the stretch drive."
Asked if he was ready to play, Thornton said, "I have no idea," but his coach left things open.
"The fact that he's on the ice and skating, and skating better than I thought he would, those are all positive signs," McLellan said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow and then make some decisions."
For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Contact him at 408-920-5940.
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