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Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary is…on the road to recovery?

I've continued to update the practice post Paul started this morning with the usual practice day's worth of Red Wings news, but the strangest injury update didn't come in the form of anything regarding Stephen Weiss's status (proclaimed himself able to skate with the team on Friday, didn't skate with the team today), Jonathan Ericsson's status (recovering from a broken finger) or Henrik Zetterberg (on track to return late in some sort of first-round playoff scenario?), nor which players the Boston Bruins may sit tomorrow (instead, it's all about "message-sending").

The strangest news came in the form of one Daniel Cleary stating that he'd had reaction to an injection of synvisc, the same artifical knee lubricant that Tomas Holmstrom leaned upon during the latter years of his career, and that Cleary is now on the road to recovery, as Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji noted:

"There's like a one percent chance of getting a reaction out of it and I was that one percent," Cleary said. "Just swelled up real bad, took three weeks for the swelling to go away. I had to drain it numerous times. So now it's starting to feel better. It's been boring, it's been mentally trying. Looking to get back on the ice in the next few days."

Cleary said he's been skating before practice so as not to get in the way of the players trying to get their work done.

The only good thing for Cleary has been watching the young kids come into their own.

"It's great to see," Cleary said. "Good kids, too, that's the thing. I try to discipline them every other day if they get out of line. Certainly doing great. It's awesome. You're first-hand witnessing NHL players evolving in front of your eyes. It went a little touch-and-go there for a while but certainly last few games, guys dug in and got some key points."

With only eight games left in the regular season, Cleary knows he's running out of time to get his conditioning back.

"Obviously you train off the ice," Cleary said. "You're out a week or 10 days or a month or two months, whatever it is, there's nothing like game condition no matter what you do so you gotta get games, that type of setting. I don't know if I'm going to be able to get it so we'll see."

I wonder if Cleary will be back for a potential playoff run--or whether he'll have a spot in the lineup...

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MoreShoot's avatar

Quoting one of the Rocky movies: “Stay down, Rock, just stay down”

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/01/14 at 02:03 PM ET


Cleary said he’s been skating before practice so as not to get in the way of the players trying to get their work done.


That’s right, Danny. Stay clear of our boys gettin sh*t done!

Posted by godblender on 04/01/14 at 02:05 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

hopefully just a prank.. it’s April 1st

Posted by detroitredwings on 04/01/14 at 02:11 PM ET


Cleary is a joke! I’m sure he has been able to cash every check the Wings were foolish enough to give him. Stay hurt Daniel - the fans don’t want you on the ice this year or any future years as a Red Wing

Posted by Acim on 04/01/14 at 02:16 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If Dan Cleary’s value to this team is to help keep the kids focused, then bless him for doing it.

That’s a potential benefit to the signing that could get completely swept under the rug in the postmortem complaining about how he personally kept Nyquist in Grand Rapids for the first month of the season.

I hope he doesn’t get back in the lineup at this point, I really do. My personal depth chart has him at a place where we’d have to undergo a different set of injuries to make it happen and I’m just not going to root for that, but Babcock wanted Cleary back for his hard work and his attitude. If that’s having a positive effect on the kids, then great.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/01/14 at 02:20 PM ET


Forgot he was one the team.

Posted by lancer on 04/01/14 at 02:22 PM ET


We could all see his knees were shot last year. Cleary left a lot of cash on the table to return to the Wings. I don’t know if I can blame him for his loyalty but I blame Holland for his. There was also some talk about exposing Tatar to waivers if Cleary came back. Murzak left because there was no room. They really could have used him this year.

The guy had some good years and did a darn good job with bum knees in last years playoffs. You can’t argue with his effort. If you want someone to show the kids the thing about the crest on the front instead of the name on your back.

I don’t want him on the team either

Posted by leftwing on 04/01/14 at 03:53 PM ET


Cleary left a lot of cash on the table to return to the Wings

I’ve heard a lot of speculation that Cleary was offered 3 year deals at $2.5 mil per year from 3 different teams this summer, but was it ever confirmed. I know KH offered him a 3 year deal before July 1 that Cleary rejected (thank god!), but besides Flyers offering him a trial in camp, I never heard any official confirmation he was indeed offered real contracts.
In any case, Cleary is a perfect role model for the kids for his work ethic, for the desire to play on one leg, one knee, whatever it takes. I am sure he is very good in the lockeroom and just a good hard working person. But I really hope Babcock and KH moved on at this point. There is absolutely no way Cleary should replace anybody in the lineup at this point.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/01/14 at 04:25 PM ET

awould's avatar

Cleary is a battler and has been one of the hardest working players in the NHL the past few years, but I’m hoping he recovers in time to retire as a player and get a job with the Wings in player development.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 04:29 PM ET


Cleary was #2 on the team for playoff points last year… but yeah, let’s hope he doesn’t come back healthy so Jurco or Glendening (or even Andersson) has a spot instead..

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/01/14 at 05:05 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/01/14 at 05:05 PM ET

Considering you preferred a spot for Cleary over Nyquist 8 months ago, I’ll take whatever you’re betting against. And healthy is a relative term - for Cleary, healthy is still hobbled.

And looking at their stats, I’ll take Jurco over Cleary easily. In 29 games, he’s got more points than Cleary in 52, and given how things work, he’s likely to improve on those numbers while Cleary is likely to fall off more. I’d call his playoff performance last year inspired, and rare, and likely unrepeatable.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 05:27 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Cleary was #2 on the team for playoff points last year… but yeah, let’s hope he doesn’t come back healthy so Jurco or Glendening (or even Andersson) has a spot instead..

Last year, Dan Cleary had two serviceable knees and his most-persistent linemates in the playoffs were Filppula, Zetterberg, and Franzen.

Glendening isn’t in competition with Cleary for a spot in the lineup unless Dan Cleary wants to magically start playing center.

Jurco has more points than Cleary this season in 14 fewer games.

Even Joakim “stonehands” Andersson is scoring at roughly twice the pace of Cleary.

- - -

It’s not even necessarily hoping against Cleary returning healthy. Heck, I’d like it if Cleary returned to the lineup three years younger. My faith in the ability of that to truly happen isn’t high enough to want to worry about the gamble.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/01/14 at 05:37 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I’m with you guys in the sense that I don’t think Cleary should play over any of those guys at this point in time, especially the way they’re playing. And I agree he’s basically done physically and we sadly won’t be resigning him. But I think he was more than just a point producer last playoff. He was our grittiest and most dominant player in the Chicago series all badly inured (broken ribs I believe on top of the knee problems).  If we make the playoffs on the backs of these kids, I would still rather he be on our depth chart that our opponent’s. Having a proven playoff warrior waiting in the wings, IF he’s moderately healthy, is definitely not a bad thing. There are a lot of situations in the playoffs where he could be extremely helpful. Playoff time is a different kind of game, one that tends to favor guys like Cleary over guys like Tatar. The whistles get swallowed. I don’t know, while I kind of hope he doesn’t crack the lineup at this point, I’d definitely rather have him over Totoo as a playoff option.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/01/14 at 06:05 PM ET


The kids are great. But Tatar still has a tendency to give the puck away and make bad plays here and there, and other than Nyquist, the other kids still are prone to make bad decisions here and there as well. Something you can’t really afford to do in the playoffs. And while having speedy young guys on the team is a good thing, speed alone does not win cups. It’s also good to have veterans with the minds of veterans who can get the job done while playing on one knee or two bad knees or whatever the case may be (a la Steve Yzerman in 2002). That doesn’t mean I think Cleary should be in the line up instead of Tatar, but I’m not going to sit here and bash him like everyone else on here as if we are suddenly the same kind of fans that follow the Toronto Maple Leaf. Get over it boys. Cleary is a proven playoff performer and that’s really why the Wings signed him. If he gets back in the lineup for the playoffs and plays his game I will be glad to see him in the lineup.

Posted by Howdy Gordie on 04/01/14 at 07:05 PM ET


Breaking news - Samuelsson cleared to play, Nyquist sent back to GR.

Posted by maltby18 on 04/01/14 at 07:12 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Cleary is a proven playoff performer and that’s really why the Wings signed him. If he gets back in the lineup for the playoffs and plays his game I will be glad to see him in the lineup.

For that reason alone, it’s possible Cleary may play during the playoffs. Of course assuming the Red Wings make the playoffs.

Posted by bigfrog on 04/01/14 at 07:27 PM ET

awould's avatar

I’m not going to sit here and bash him like everyone else on here

Not sure who is bashing him. Most comments, including my own, are just recognizing that Cleary’s career is likely at an end due to injuries and basic banged-up-edness. He’s a wreck, and mostly because he was always a tough competitor.

For the playoffs? I’d rather give the younger guys the chance to gain that experience because I don’t believe the contribution Cleary may make is worth sacrificing the experience for the young guys. The mistakes they make aren’t going to get fixed in Grand Rapids.

Posted by awould on 04/01/14 at 07:35 PM ET


I can’t believe there’s anyone out there still clamoring for Cleary after all we’ve seen from the young kids this year. assuming pav and Z are back for the playoffs, the only possible spot for Cleary is Jurco. who would you rather see?

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/01/14 at 07:54 PM ET

perfection's avatar

in the playoffs, you just usually don’t get all that much of a choice. the further you get, the more bodies you run out of. just about every year, a big reason we get knocked out is the loss of one integral player or another to injury (losing DeKeyser of all people was the guy everyone was saying was the difference maker against the Hawks last year, though Helmer and Filps hurt pretty bad too).

You just can’t have enough depth. It’s a lesson we’ve learned over and over. That’s why I think the way Holland managed his roster this season was really savvy and NOT inept the way some of you think. I said it at the beginning of the year that, as the coach was saying at the time, by the end of the season the best players would be playing and that will obviously include Gus. But the more NHL ready guys you can keep on the roster - whether by using LTIR, strategically waiving people, whatever - the more depth the team has, the better. The fact that our “black aces” this year will include grizzled vets like Bert, Cleary, and Tootoo (and a regular vet like Emmerton) is a GOOD thing. and while it’s easy to say “I hope it doesn’t come to putting them in”, that’s kind of like saying “I hope we get knocked out in the first round”. the fact is, the farther we get, the more guys we will need. Cleary might still very well be an asset this year.

I mean, you can talk “experience” all you want, but if we’re mired in a game 7 vs. the Penguins in round one and we’ve laid our hearts and souls on the line and are all emotionally invested as fans, if someone goes down would you really rather Ferraro come in than Cleary? Seriously?! “Experience” be damned at that point. Whatever it takes to win. Kamikaze Cleary could make a difference. The main experience Ferraro would get is how to properly shit your pants while sitting on the bench for the entire third period and the likely overtime.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/01/14 at 07:59 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.