Ryane Clowe missed every game from October 13 to Friday night. The New Jersey Devils went two months without their high priced new-coming forward, and now fans know what they were missing.
Clowe returned against the Columbus Blue Jackets and provided a spark of energy to the fourth line. He seemed like the only player excited to be on the ice in the first period. He was all over the ice fighting for pucks across the boards, backchecking and forechecking and stealing the puck from the other team. He made sure that he was making himself known. He did not register on the score sheet, but he did everything else you want out of a forward. He did all the things that get no recognition.
There is some cause for concern that his rough play could cause another injury, but he cannot think about that now. He only needs to focus on his level of play and how he can help this team win.
If he can continue to play on this level, Clowe will bring a level of intensity that this team needs. He is the kind of player that will make all the dirty plays, and he scores goals in an unconventional way. At this point, the Devils will take goals in any way they can get them. He is going to cause teams to game plan differently for him on offense. It seems like he isn’t as tight as he was when he first played with the team, and he has more confidence now that all he was focused on was playing instead of performing.
Where Clowe fits on this team is still up in the air, but the fact that he has a place is no longer questioned. Although it is only one game, and it was a loss, he showed plenty in his 10:38 of ice time. What the long-term impact of this contract has on this team will be judged five years from now, but for now be happy that the Devils have Clowe suiting up.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.