Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/04/05 at 08:35 AM ET
They were longshots to hang around this long, but Dan Cleary and Brett Lebda bucked the odds. They played well enough during the preseason to earn their place on the Detroit Red Wings' season-opening roster. Cleary, 26, beat out three other forwards invited to camp on a tryout -- Rem Murray, Dan LaCouture and Blake Sloan, who were released. Lebda, 23, outplayed veteran defenseman Andy Delmore, who will be assigned to AHL affiliate Grand Rapids, if he clears waivers. Wings coach Mike Babcock said Lebda's skating and decision-making earned him a spot. He's ahead of veteran Jamie Rivers on the depth chart and could be paired with Chris Chelios on opening night. "He didn't turn the puck over; he was confident," Babcock said. "In today's NHL, if you can move the puck, you got a chance. Can he keep it going? I'm going to watch."
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