A Tale Of Two Clarksons

David Clarkson, brother of newest Titans forward Doug Clarkson, was excited to see his sibling traded closer to him (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

David Clarkson, brother of newest Titans forward Doug Clarkson, was excited to see his sibling traded closer to him (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

Yesterday couldn’t have gone much better for New Jersey Devils star forward David Clarkson.  Not only did he score two goals to help his team beat the hated New York Rangers in their first meeting since last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, he also found out that morning that his younger brother, Doug, had been traded to the nearby Trenton Titans.

“We play a lot different,” David Clarkson told The Trentonian last night.

“He’s a big kid, but he’s got good hands.  He likes to get in ‘those’ areas, but he’s like 6-6, 240.  So he’s a big boy.  I think he’s excited to come down there and get a chance.  In Toledo, I think they’re shared by two NHL teams.  So he was getting in there and doing well, but when a guy got sent down, they would have to take him out.  So I think he’s excited for this chance.”

And Trenton is certainly excited to have Doug Clarkson, a raw talent who tallied four goals and four assists in his first 25 games with the Walleye before getting shipped to Trenton yesterday.  After a drive to Detroit through snow, a flight to Philadelphia, trip to Newark and then a 1 AM arrival in Trenton, he’s finally arrived and is expected to make his team debut later tonight.

“Coming into the weekend, we kind of talked about (a trade) in Toledo, and they said it could be a possibility,” Doug Clarkson said.

“Coach wanted to give me a heads up that it might happen if I wanted it to.  After talking to some guys that have played here and guys that are here now, I thought it would be a good fit.  I asked the coaching staff, and they thought it would be a good fit as well to come into this kind of place, try to get some games in and try to help this team get some more wins.  They’re not that far out of a playoff spot.  I was excited right away to hear about it.  Toledo’s first-class and professional and everything, but I’m with Trenton now, and it should be fun.”

The younger Clarkson will likely just be excited to get an opportunity to play anywhere, as he struggled to secure an everyday spot with Toledo.

“It was hard, because you go there and it’s a business,” he said.  “You think you have a good game and maybe a point or two, but you know, the next night you’re not a line practicing with guys.  It makes you feel bad because you don’t know what you did wrong.  You don’t know if you actually did play well, you kind of start second-guessing yourself.  But Coach Nick (Vitucci) has always been good to me over there and always told me straight up what I need to work on, and the situation with guys getting sent down or going up.”

Trenton bench boss Vince Williams first saw Doug Clarkson at a New Jersey Devils developmental camp, and the first thing that stood out to him was his big body.

“We need some size, there’s no question,” Williams admitted.

“He’s going to be a bit of a project too, but if we didn’t bring him in, we’d have nine forwards.  You never know, you look at this weekend, and who knows what could happen between call-ups and injuries.  But he’s a guy that’s got some upside, he just hasn’t had an opportunity.  With the lockout, he was kind of pushed to the back of the line…in order to get experience and polish to some of his skill set, you’ve got to play.  But we like his size a lot.”

Clarkson has been making an effort to use that size to his advantage.

“I like to play down low, I like to have the puck along the boards and hold it,” he said.

“I’m more of a passer than a guy who can skate it in and dangle around everybody.  But I like to work hard, and forecheck and get the puck and get a way to the net, or pass it to somebody out front.  It’s worked well for me in the past in juniors and in college.”

To be sure, Doug Clarkson plays quite a bit different style than his brother, David, who had a breakout 30-goal year in 2011-12 and is on pace for 38 in a shortened 48-game season this year.  But he’s just hopeful that his work ethic can match that of his NHL standout sibling.

“I’m a lot bigger than he is, I think he’s only about six feet,” Doug Clarkson said with a laugh.

“But we both work really hard; he’s the hardest working guy on the ice and off the ice in the summer.  He works just as hard in the gym as he does on the ice during the season, so I’ve always tried to compare myself to him. Nobody says I should, but even when I was a kid, I wanted to play in the OHL like he did.  I want to work as hard as he does during the season.  I like to play in the offensive zone more, and I like to have the puck on my stick a lot.  But I like to forecheck just like him, people say we look alike out there when we’re skating and hitting.  The only thing is, if I can work as hard as he does, I should be OK.”

David Clarkson is excited to get an opportunity to see if his little brother can match his work ethic, if perhaps not his point production.

“I’ve never been able to see him play pro hockey before, this is his first year pro,” David Clarkson said.  “So I’m definitely going to try to make down there to a game with the family and watch him for sure.”

NOTES: Blake Kessel was not at the Titans morning skate after having been sent down from Adirondack yesterday.  Williams wasn’t sure if it was an official transaction yet, and was unsure of his playing status for tonight…Marvin Degon would be available to the Titans on Saturday at the earliest…Stephen Schultz suffered an “upper-body injury” during the Florida trip, one which sounded quite similar to the one Andy Bohmbach endured against Cincinnati.  Bohmbach himself tweeted that he passed a concussion test, so draw your own conclusions.  While Bohmbach skated and will play, Schultz is unlikely to be available this weekend…Scott Wedgewood will start between the pipes.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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