No doubt about it, the 2013-14 season was a disaster for Ryane Clowe. There was some understandable concern that he’d be on the shelf heading into his second campaign with the New Jersey Devils, but the Bergen Record presents a pleasant surprise: he’s been medically cleared for training camp.
Naturally, that doesn’t guarantee that the power forward will avoid setbacks. Still, it’s unexpectedly good news for a winger who hasn’t experienced much optimism since signing with New Jersey.
“When I saw the doctor in Boston, he was really happy,” Clowe said. “I think he was a little bit surprised how good I looked or the conditioning I was in and he was really delighted to see the steps I made.”
Again, this doesn’t mean that the 31-year-old is ready to dive right into the thick of things following a disturbing run of three concussions in one year. Devils head coach Peter DeBoer definitely hinted at a gradual approach.
“We’ll have those discussions as we move forward,” DeBoer said. “The first step is he’s cleared and going to be at practice tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”
DeBoer referred to Clowe as a difference-maker when he did manage to get on the ice, and while that might be debatable, his possession stats have been surprisingly solid over the years. Naturally, the question is: can he be the same player after such serious head injuries?
If nothing else, it sounds like he’s made more progress than expected so far.