SAN FRANCISCO -- Sharks forward Ryane Clowe practiced Tuesday with the San Francisco Bulls, but for now is not ready to make the more serious commitment of playing with the ECHL team.
"That could happen," he said, "but I'm not saying I'll practice for a week or two and then I'm going to play."
Clowe said he contacted the team last week when the NHL canceled all games in November because of its ongoing lockout. Only a handful of his Sharks teammates have remained in San Jose, and he said he was looking for a more structured practice than the pick-up games they have been holding.
Clowe did note that he is in the final year of his current contract and that playing in the ECHL could be risky, presumably a reference to the chance of injury. Then he added that probably would less of a factor than the status of negotiations between the league and its players.
"At the end of the day, you still want to try and play," Clowe said.
Other NHL players have signed with ECHL teams. The Bulls lost a three-game series in Anchorage last weekend to an Aces team with Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Joey Crabb of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nate Thompson of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bulls are playing their inaugural season at the Cow Palace. The team, whose next home game is Nov. 8, is 2-4-0-2.
For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks.