Ryane Clowe and Jody Shelley in contention for HockeyFights.com 2009-10 year-end awards

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

San Jose Sharks Ryane Clowe year end HockeyFights.com awards

HockeyFights.com editor David Singer, along with contributors Jon Porus and Merlin401, released the latest nominees for the 2009-10 HockeyFights.com year-end awards. One current Shark and one former Shark were each nominated for multiple categories. Newfoundland’s own Ryane Clowe was nominated for the Cam Neely Most Skilled Fighter and Most Improved Fighter categories, and 6-foot-3, 230-pound former Shark, former Ranger, and current Philadelphia Flyer enforcer Jody Shelley was nominated for multiple categories.

Ryane Clowe was the odds on favorite for the 2009-10 Cam Neely Most Skilled Fighter Award. “Ryane Clowe had the best combination of skill and fighting ability this year,” said author Merlin401. Clowe struggled with only 4 points in 14 games during October, but he produced at a sustained pace for the rest of the season. Clowe registered career bests with 38 assists, 57 points, 131PIMs and 11 fighting majors. His play in the last quarter of the regular season deserves note for several monster puck possession shifts, manhandling defenseman while still being able to turn the corner and score a goal or set up a linemate.

The award entry for Clowe:

Ryane Clowe – San Jose Sharks: Clowe had a special year, putting up career highs in points, fights, and penalty minutes. Clowe set a career high by netting 57 points, including 19 goals. Meanwhile, he fought 11 times and didn’t record a clear loss while stepping up to even take on some heavyweights including George Parros. He was able to also record victories against Tim Jackman, Sheldon Brookbank, and a bloody smashing of Michael Blunden. Clowe also was something of an iron man, suiting up for all 82 games of the Sharks season.

The last sentence deserves bolding. Clowe has missed significant ice time with a pair of lower leg injuries. He rebounded by registering 71 and 82 starts in his last 2 seasons, ending any questions about his durability. Clowe was also nominated for the Most Improved Fighter category. The rugged left wing is one of a pair of teammates who serve dual duty on the Sharks. 6-foot-3, 240-pound defenseman Douglas Murray, widely regarded as one of the heaviest hitters in the game, also will drop the gloves to regulate when appropriate. Past-winners of the Cam Neely Award are Jarome Iginla in 2007-08, and Milan Lucic in 2008-09.

A month and a half after suffering a brutal KO loss to then-San Jose Shark Jody Shelley (video above), Toronto’s Colton Orr dropped all pretense of a regular shift and stalked Shelley around the ice April 7th after he was traded to the New York Rangers. Orr landed a number of right hands, but it was not enough to exact revenge for Shelley’s enormous overhand right that knocked him flat February 8th at Toronto. The first Shelley-Orr fight was nominated for KO of the year, but it trails Evander Kane’s devestating KO of Matt Cooke by a wide margin.

The Manitoba native is also an option for the 2009-10 People’s Choice award for fighter of the year, and is in the lead for 2009-10 Best Mid-Season Tough Guy Pickup. Shelley was traded from San Jose to the New York Rangers on February 12th for a conditional 6th round draft pick.

At the start of free agency July 1st, Jody Shelley signed a 3-year, $3.3M contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers finished the regular season as the second most penalized team in the NHL with 1,350 PIMs. 187th on the all-time register with 1,347 PIMs, Shelley needs one minor penalty to catch former Shark Gary Suter (185th), and one major penalty to catch former Shark Ron Sutter (184th).

After the trade of Shelley to New York, and Brad Staubitz this offseason to Minnesota, the role of enforcer on San Jose could be open in training camp. 6-foot-4, 235-pound left wing Frazer McLaren or 6-foot-3, 225-pound left wing Brandon Mashinter could be options, and McLaren has contributed on the penalty kill at the AHL level. San Jose head coach Todd McLellan and his coaching staff could also go with an all-agitator fourth line. Scott Nichol could split between AHL “Crazed Rat” line member Andrew Desjardins and April college free agent signee Cam MacIntyre. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound MacIntyre was a point a game player his sophomore season at Princeton, but struggled with injuries as a junior and senior. A prospect in the power forward mould, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said this summer that he would be surprised if MacIntyre did not make the 2010-11 NHL roster. There were reportedly 20 NHL teams vying for MacIntyre’s services before he chose San Jose.

[Update] Video: Honoring the best in 2009-10 hockey pugilism – Sean Leahy for Yahoo’s Puck Daddy.

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