Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: more Cleary fun, AHL rule changes and prospect talk

Warning, warning, this entry includes a clearly-visible four-letter word!

The general manager, in the last year of his contract, made a "loyalty-based" re-signing so unpopular that it caused me to lose my pretend cool. The coach, who is in the last year of his contract, is losing both of his assistant coaches, albeit with the support of both the head coach and management.

Some folks are wondering who's minding the store, who's in charge here (Chris Ilitch and Tom Wilson; as for the management, it appears that Kris Draper and Ken Holland have filled Jim Nill's role[s]), and whether we're witnessing the end of the general manager or coach's regime, with the same speculatory vein wondering whether the organization's going to tread water until the new rink's completed in 2016(?).

I have no idea whether the personnel shuffles in the front office have anything to do with the unpopular moves made over the past two summers and autumns, and I frankly don't know if a potential ownership-in-flux situation is another one of those, "UFA-no-want-to-sign-here" bugaboos, but I do know that the Red Wings' decision to re-sign Daniel Cleary for loyalty's sake makes little to no sense in terms of furthering the careers of the productive players who "stole" his job.

And for what it's worth, it appears that Cleary was inked to a 1-way deal worth $1.5 million in salary and $1 million in deferred bonuses, but the good news is that he's 35 until December, so if he supposedly loses his roster spot and if he were to retire, his cap hit would go bye bye, though I believe that the Wings would get all of $575K in cap relief if he doesn't make the team and keeps playing, though Capgeek reports that Cleary's deal includes a no-trade clause.

Anyway, if you're not in the mood to read my reaction piece regarding #71's(? Hey, while we're at it, will he steal Alfredsson's #11 or Sheahan's #15?) re-signing, CBS Sports' Chris Peters provides a fantastic outside and emotionally detached perspective on the deal:

To be quite frank, it's a puzzling contract for a player that has tailed off dramatically since his career year in 2010-11. It seems tough to justify at this point considering that it's hard to see where Cleary fits as the litany of young players who have been developing in Grand Rapids in the AHL should be getting more opportunities.

The 35-year-old's best days are behind him, but the Red Wings will probably only need him in spot duty as younger players look to make a bigger impact next season. He'll be back for his 10th campaign after a rather dismal 2013-14 in which he appeared in just 52 games and registered only eight points. The former 13th overall pick has 385 points in 921 career NHL games.

Cleary, as you may recall, had a deal in place to leave the Red Wings last summer on a reported three-year, $7.75 million contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. He reportedly agreed to the deal, but just before the season had a change of heart and re-signed with the Red Wings.

Detroit has plenty of space under the salary cap, though do have important deals to get done with restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, while it's also likely that Daniel Alfredsson will return on another short-term deal with the club if he decides to keep playing. That will give them a bit less wiggle room as the season approaches.

The Red Wings sure do like staying loyal to their long-time players and there's something to be admired about that. However, with such promising young guys coming up and deserving more ice time led by the likes of Tatar, Tomas Jurco , Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan, it might be time to show loyalty to the future instead of the past.

With players like Landon Ferraro and Mitch Callahan out of waiver options, Jurco the only member of the above-listed quartet who needs no waivers to head to Grand Rapids, Anthony Mantha "knocking on the door," and Daniel Alfredsson having at least tied for the team lead in scoring, I read this from MLive's Ansar Khan and scratch my head:

The Red Wings now have 14 forwards, including Tomas Tatar, a restricted free agent who will be signed this summer. Tomas Jurco is the only one of the group who is exempt from waivers and can be assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Holland said they will start the season with 14 forwards. They will decide before training camp whether to re-sign Daniel Alfredsson. Both sides are waiting to see how the 41-year-old's troublesome back holds up later this summer.

Of course the certain journalist who was ahead of the curve on the oh-too-conveniently-timed, just-post-free-agency-strikeout "The Wings are doomed if they don't trade for Tyler Myers or Mike Green RIGHT NOW!" rumors (remember the 700 or so comments y'all made while the summer development camp was going on because it was more fun to play armchair GM? Good times...) posted these Tweets...

And added this...

Cleary told the Free Press, "I"m happy for the opportunity to come back and play. I'm putting in a lot of effort to get ready and have a bounce-back year."

General manager Ken Holland said the decision, "has more to do with last year. My program has been one of loyalty, and there's good things and bad things that go with that. Way more good, in my opinion. I reached out to a lot of people before signing Dan, and he's very popular in our organization and with our on-ice leaders."

On the surface, it seems incongruent for a team that, with Tomas Tatar and Daniel Alfredsson still to be signed, already had a dozen forwards under NHL contracts. Cleary, 35, had eight points in 52 games last season, and had become a healthy scratch by late January.

The answer lies in loyalty, and in untangling a web of agreements from last September. After rejecting contract offers from the Wings – his team since 2005 – in June of 2013, Cleary verbally agreed to a three-year, $8.25 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. A day before training camp, Cleary flew to Traverse City and met at the airport with Holland and head coach Mike Babcock.

Babcock pushed hard for Cleary's return, leading to a one-year deal at $1.75 million. Along with that came with a verbal agreement the Wings would take care of Cleary this summer.

"He had a tough year, but we're hoping he's going to bounce back," Holland said. "We've had luck with players with heart and determination."

Later in the evening, MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Cleary...

"Super-happy to be back," Cleary said Thursday. "Last year was a tough year. Overall disappointment. It's going to take hard work and dedication. That's my goal. I'm confident."

He is encouraged with how his knee responded this week when he began skating for the first time in three months.

My knee has been bad for three years, a lot of wear and tear," Cleary said. "Hard a rough start (last season), then had a reaction to the Synvisc (lubricant injection) and it got blown up and swollen and the season's over. It's a lot stronger, a lot better."

(Ah, yes, Synvisc, the partially-synthetic-sort-of-organic stuff they inject into the knees of people who have osteoarthritis and generally degenerative issues that might eventually require resurfacing of the knee joint or knee replacement. Totally not a big deal, ask Tomas Holmstrom)

Who suggests that he is not a guaranteed Wing...

"It's a competition," Cleary said. "I'm going to go in with an open mind, work hard on and off the ice and see where the chips fall. If I'm strong and healthy, things will work out."

Who had this to say about people like you and me:

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion," Cleary said. "You try not to let any of the negativity – or the positive comments – affect you. We live in the day of social media; anyone can say anything. You can't worry about what people think. You got to do what you do."

He's here. He's just as cocky as ever. We've got to get used to it, I suppose...

Let me share my feelings on your re-signing given my status as a stupid internet jerk!

Meanwhile, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness remembered the good times...

Cleary spurned a professional tryout from the Philadelphia Flyers and wound up signing a one-year deal to return to the Wings for $1.75 million on the eve of training camp.

He also shot down a report that he was offered a three-year deal worth $2.75 million a season to join the Flyers.

Signing Cleary put the Wings three players over the roster limit and just over $2 million over the salary cap and meant Gustav Nyquist would begin the season in Grand Rapids, which didn’t sit well with Wings fans.

Nyquist was the only forward that, at the time, didn’t have to clear waivers and be exposed for other teams to scoop up before being sent down to the minors.

Nyquist wound up with 48 points (28 goals, 20 assists) in just 57 games.

Tomas Jurco might want to brush up on this meme...

Meanwhile, two hours after the Cleary signing, Jurco Tweeted this...

About this...

And maybe the Griffins are just trolling us:

The video they link to is an auto-play one that can't be "turned off," so I can only provide you a link as I know that auto-play vidoes are not our friends.




While we're playing "let's crush some dreams!" except in the "good news" vein, Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty reports the following regarding the Boston Bruins' cap issues:

There have been some twitter murmuring of a Johnny Boychuk-for-Tomas Jurco swap between the Bruins and Red Wings, but there have been no indications that the divisional rivals would be willing to help each other out.




While we're talking about prospects possibly losing their jobs by default or playing for Grand Rapids, this gentleman will face the same waiver issues that Mitch Callahan or Landon Ferraro will probably face (and yeah, I guess Mantha making the team out of camp or Pulkkinen making the team out of camp are even that much less likely now, woot)...

But Tom McCollum earned his $100,000 AHL salary and any potential chunk of the $600,000 at-the-NHL-level bucks he might earn.





In Griffins-specific news, the AHL's Board of Governors held their meetings in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where Ryan Martin represented the Griffins, and while you might not be interested in the Griffins' award for "ticket sales and digital media excellence," the AHL's Board of Governors approved some intriguing rule tweaks:

Rule 85 (“Overtime”): During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.

Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.

Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.

If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

This couldn't possibly have anything to do with Ken Holland's desire to extend overtime, or 8 NHL teams watching the concept at work at last fall's prospect tournament, could it?

Regarding shootouts, the AHL previously employed 5-player shootouts, which strikes me as slightly more equitable if you're going to decide games by skills competitions, but I guess they're going with a little streamlining to make up for the longer OT's.

Rule 20.4 (“Major Penalties): An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.

The major penalty issue involves the fact that many AHL teams tend to employ a dedicated enforcer. Or two.

This rule definitely seems experimental, and it mirrors the IIHF's rule regarding players playing without helmets:

Rule 9.6 (“Helmets”): A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.

The Canadian Press asked AHL commissioner David Andrews to clarify the overtime rule change:

The American Hockey League will experiment next season with seven-minute overtime in the regular season, with 3-on-3 beginning at the first whistle beyond three minutes, the league announced Thursday. That means there could be as many as four minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.

AHL president and CEO David Andrews said his league had roughly 16 per cent of its games go to overtime, and the hope was that these rule changes would reduce that. At the same time, it's a preview for NHL front offices.

"Clearly the hockey folks on our board and our competition committee, which is made up of NHL assistant general managers and AHL general managers, thought that this would be a way to make the overtime even more compelling and hopefully reduce the number of shootouts," Andrews said in a phone interview. "They felt that they'd like to see it in the American League."

If successful in reducing shootouts, the rule could make its way to the NHL. The league is implementing two smaller changes next season, with teams switching ends and the ice getting a dry scrape before OT. The AHL will also do the dry scrape and long line change for regular-season overtimes.

"I think our coaches and players and general managers still feel that they would rather see the game settled in something other than a shootout," Andrews said. "I think this overtime rule that we're bringing in this year attempts to do that. I think our hockey people believe, and I certainly agree with them, that going to a 3-on-3 is going to become a very entertaining way to try to finish the game for our fans and should lead to a lot of excitement."

Actually, if there are points on the line, it can turn into a ridiculous case of trap-trap-trap, dump-and-not-chase hockey, except that it looks like kids are playing it when it's 3-on-3, but nobody mentions that part.




Regarding players who took part in the Wings' summer development camp who will probably play for the Griffins or Toledo Walleye this upcoming season, the Red Wings posted a video which accompanies Bill Roose's "Red Wings firsts" article about Ryan Sproul by profiling...Ryan Sproul...in the words of Holland, Martin, Jiri Fischer and Sproul himself...

MLive's Brendan Savage discussed his summer development camp observations with Fox Sports Detroit's Art Renger, who filled in for WDFN's Matt Sheppard, on Thursday morning...

Hooked on Hockey Magazine's Kevin Sporka spoke with Jared Coreau...

HOHM: “Last development camp, obviously you weren’t able to take part in all the drills. This time, you’re healthy and taking part in everything. Just kind of describe what it’s like to be a part of the camp.”

Coreau: “Just participating in everything, that’s awesome. But also, just being around the guys more, because last year, I’d see them in the dressing room, and then I’d go out and do the goalie skate. Then when practice would start, I would come in, get undressed by myself…So it’s the comradery too. I get to see everyone more and be around the guys more. So that’s the big thing.”

HOHM: “What do you hope to take away from the weekend?”

Coreau: “Well, this weekend here, just listening to the coaches, goalie coaches specifically. Anything they can give me that they think I still need to improve on for next season, and just keep a mental note, keep it in the back of my head, and any time I get on the ice, work on those specific things, and just show them what I’ve improved on from the end of the season until now.”

And I can't embed it, but the CTV Northern Ontario profiled Tyler Bertuzzi in a video that reminds us that both Tyler Bertuzzi and Zach Nastasiuk will attend Team Canada's World Junior summer camp in Montreal from August 3rd to 8th (Dylan Larkin will take part in the U.S. World Junior Evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY from August 2nd to 7th, and Axel Holmstrom will represent Sweden as a visiting team member as Team USA will ice a pair of teams against WJC hopefuls from Finland and Sweden).




In terms of the try-outs, Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski profiled David Johnstone, who didn't stand out, but maybe he was a little intimidated...

The Grand Ledge native skated in last weekend’s Detroit Red Wings development camp, hosted by Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.

“They’re my favorite team, so it’s an honor,” he said.

The Michigan Tech soon-to-be senior forward was invited to camp by the club as a free agent. He said the moment was a “lifelong dream.”

“I feel good. There are a lot of great players here, just trying to get the rust off because some of us haven’t really skated in a while.”

Johnstone came into development camp after enjoying another fine offensive season with the Huskies.

“Throughout the season you get better and better and here we’re only with each other for a week so we haven’t hit our best stride yet,” the 5-foot-11 forward said. “You try to get some chemistry going as quick as you can because you want to make an impact right away.”




On Twitter...




And finally, Red Wings TV posted a video in which the first fans in line for training camp tickets, Perry and Jeanette Rusnell, explain why they do what they do every year--and why Centre Ice Arena still holds in-person and fax ticket sales instead of placing tickets on Ticketmaster (see: they value their "repeat customers"). The Hockey Writers' Zachary Landers and some compulsive typist make cameos in the video:

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Last time I checked, Cleary is a 6 letter word.  None the less, thanks for your exemplary and tireless work, George.  I can’t imagine many people putting the same time and effort into anything in their lives that you put into following the Wings.  We’re lucky to have you here at KK.

To point though,

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 07/11/14 at 03:04 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

I reached out to a lot of people before signing Dan

Oh, I’d like to hear the names. I envision him on the golf course thinking more about his golf game instead of wheeling and dealing.

These Myers and Green rumors gotta stop. Both those clowns are horrible in their own end. Combine their brains and you got a slightly clever possum trying to cross a busy road.


Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 07/11/14 at 04:32 AM ET


I dunno about Jurco for Boychuk (my inclination is that it’s a bad idea, but I haven’t thought hard about it), but I wonder if Holland knows that one or more of the depth forwards has some currency—like maybe Vancouver’s offered a lower pick for Drew Miller or something—and so he’s confident he can resolve any roadblocks/roster dilemmas.

Of course this is pure speculation that would be easier to believe in if we hadn’t been in this exact same situation last summer.  And there was no rush to sign Cleary if t that was the case.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/11/14 at 06:59 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I’m going to attempt to be positive about this Cleary thing.
I’m hoping this is nothing but a nice golden-parachute contract.
If Cleary makes the starting roster out of camp, then it’s on Babcock and Holland.
But I have a feeling that while he may be on the 23-man roster, he’ll be benched a lot of the time.

I simply don’t see him beating out guys like Glendenning, Callahan or Ferraro as a 4th line player.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/11/14 at 07:18 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Kenny, when we said trade, we didn’t mean Cleary for Jurco (you dick)

I reached out to a lot of people before signing Dan

...and Dan arou… er out to me, too.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/11/14 at 07:34 AM ET


I simply don’t see him beating out guys like Glendenning, Callahan or Ferraro as a 4th line player.

That is the positive way of looking at it, although I don’t think he earned his contract, so why would he have to earn a roster spot?

Either way, we are certainly overbuilding for bottom six forwards again.  I looked back and was surprised to see 6 “minimal offense, but good checking/penalty killing” guys who played a fair amount in the 2008 playoffs—Draper, McCarty, Maltby, Helm, Cleary, and Drake. 

That’s a more talented group than our current set—Abdelkader, Helm, Cleary, Andersson, Glendening—but similar in number.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/11/14 at 07:37 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Last time I checked, Cleary is a 6 letter word.

Its a 4 letter word in my book

I reached out to a lot of people before signing Dan, and he’s very popular in our organization and with our on-ice leaders.”

Great.  I’m glad Holland is running the team like a high school gym class instead of a competent professional sports team.


Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/11/14 at 08:26 AM ET


Either way, we are certainly overbuilding for bottom six forwards again.

Of course they are.  Everyone knows the best case scenario is to have too many bottom six forwards and not enough top six forwards.

That’s how Chicago and LA have found success recently, but having so many mediocre bottom six forwards who can push their way into the top six and on the power play by barely having the skills to score on an empty net while standing in the crease.

God, why does the organization have to be loyal to the no-talents and the injured guys?

I think they need to realize that “heart” doesn’t simply mean “look how hard he tried despite having a completely broken down body or having no discernible skills at the game of hockey”.

I reached out to a lot of people before signing Dan

I’m sure you did, and I’m sure those 29 guys you called—who all happen to be rival GMs—were very supportive of you actively trying to make the team worse.

Posted by Garth on 07/11/14 at 09:34 AM ET

DocF's avatar

Like I said before, some sort of management job would be a more reasonable way of reflecting loyalty to a player who literally gave every second of good hockey that he had to the Red Wings.  The Cleary contract just makes less than no sense to me.

At this remove, I hope both the general manager and the coach are not offered a contract extension.  Get rid of both of them as they are tainted by too many bad personnel decisions. 

Unlike some here, I would be willing to trade Jurco for Boychuk.  At times over the last two seasons, he has been the Bruins best blue liner. 


Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 07/11/14 at 09:46 AM ET


I reached out to a lot of people before signing Dan

And Danny’s wife, parents and friends had only good things to say about him. He is a really nice guy, he reads to his kids before they go to sleep, he never forgets his wife’s birthday and their marriage anniversary. Last Christmas he bought a very nice sofa for his parents.
I have a question though, does KH make a verbal commitment to Cleary beyond this year too?

In all seriousness, we are killing the last couple of years of Dats and Z by accepting this mediocrity as norm. Miller, Q, Abby on the first line, LFG, Cleary, Lashoff, the list goes on. Go with the kids, they are better already and will only gain experience. Or you are so against the idea if giving ice time to the players you draft and develop until they are out of options, sign veterans who can help now (Heatley, Penner, etc), guys who can be had for 1 year and cheaper than Cleary. Sign any dman like Volchenkov (too late) or any of others still available who will do the same thing as Q, but for 1 year at 4 times less money.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 10:05 AM ET

DrD's avatar

I agree with Hank1974.

This looks like they’re keeping a monetary promise only. There’s no way Cleray’s taking a permanent roster spot on this team and the only way Jurco does not make the team is if he is beat out by another Griffin (Mantha?), or he gets traded for some much-needed defensive help. I’m actually more ticked off at Babs in this case.

Sure Holland could have told Babcock to get lost when Babs asked to have Cleary back, but with Babcock heading into the last couple years of his contract, it’s very tough to piss off the “great” coach all these other teams are coveting…so he threw him a bone and gave him Cleary and had to at least monetarily compensate Cleary for not signing with those other teams - because it’s the right thing to do. He doesn’t owe him a roster spot, but the financial compensation is fair, given the situation.

So agree or disagree regarding monetary compensation, at least Holland is around to take the criticism - where the hell is Babcock in all this? Shooting endangered wildlife with that Facebook chick?

Posted by DrD on 07/11/14 at 10:14 AM ET

DrD's avatar

Hey George, on a separate note, what’s the chance you can switch this over to Disqus? or at least provide Disqus/FB/Google login options? It would be nice to be able to correct typos for comments. Thanks.

Posted by DrD on 07/11/14 at 10:17 AM ET


There’s no way Cleray’s taking a permanent roster spot on this team and the only way Jurco does not make the team is if he is beat out by another Griffin

The same thing was said last summer about Cleary not taking Nyquist spot. It’s naïve imo to think that Jurco will not be sent to GR now no matter what he does in preseason.
Last summer I (and many others) said Nyquist is going to GR the minute Cleary was signed and a lot of fans were like “no way it will happen”. We better get used to the way KH operates lately or we will be deeply upset again.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 10:21 AM ET


Loyalty has done nothing to help them land anyone in free agency and has done nothing to help their current roster.  This management team is such a joke, what’s the plan?  They’re not better than last year jso how do they explain this to the fan who knows they’re not a legitimate Cup contender and want the kids to play and want the transition to the future to start now.  They insult their fan base by these ridiculous signings after striking out in free agency.

Posted by bababooey on 07/11/14 at 10:23 AM ET

DrD's avatar

I know what you are saying, but I think it’s equally naive to think that no matter how crappy Cleary plays that Holland and Babcock will choose him over a young/promising player that beat him out in camp/preseason - especially after what happened last season.

Like I said, monetary compensation is one thing, unearned roster spot for Cleary?

No. That is not going to happen. Let’s meet back here after training camp and see who is correct on this.

Cleary’s on the shortest of short leashes. In fact, I would say money aside, he is done as a player for Detroit or anywhere else…but that doesn’t mean that Holland didn’t owe him the money that he left on the table - that is two different arguments.

Posted by DrD on 07/11/14 at 10:30 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

An interesting question to ponder; When Babcock gets tired of KH shenanigans and leaves, what other coach will want the job?

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/11/14 at 10:31 AM ET


George, do you expect anybody in Detroit media who has direct access to interview KH to make him accountable and ask tough questions after these last 2 signings?

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 10:44 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Good to see McCollum earned his way back in.  With Coreau struggling, I think McCollum became necessary to have.

So right now the goalie pipeline is :


And that’s nothing to sneeze at.  McCollum could still be a late bloomer, Mrazek seems a legit NHL starter in the making, and there are decent hopes for Paterson as well.

So imagine one of Howie or Monster get hurt and Mrazek’s up… that leaves a capable McCollum in Grand Rapids.  I’m assuming Paterson is going pro this year, and that gives both he and Coreau time to figure things out and see what happens.

Posted by Primis on 07/11/14 at 10:46 AM ET


I know what you are saying, but I think it’s equally naive to think that no matter how crappy Cleary plays that Holland and Babcock will choose him over a young/promising player that beat him out in camp/preseason

It’s not naïve because it already happened last year. There is a history to support my thinking and there is no history to suggest otherwise. Cleary and Sammy did nothing last season in camp to play ahead of Tatar and Nyquist.

Let’s meet back here after training camp and see who is correct on this.

Yes, we will revisit this and I hope you are right.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 10:48 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Wings sign Cleary.
Personnel begin Jumping ship.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 07/10/14 at 11:56 PM ET

That should be the first entry in your 2014-15 Wings Diary Bill.

Posted by calquake on 07/11/14 at 12:48 AM ET

My Red Wings Diary 2014-2015
Stardate 11July2014

Wings sign Cleary.
Personnel jump ship.

Posted by RWBill on 07/11/14 at 10:57 AM ET


I’m not sure what the basis is to believe that Kenny won’t demote Jurco (other than hope).

This is a direct quote from Ansar Khan’s article last evening:

“Cleary, who can earn up to $1 million in bonuses, will have a roster spot. But after finishing with just eight points (four goals, four assists) in 52 games, he must earn a spot in the lineup. The Red Wings will carry 14 forwards.”


Right now, I guess Jurco is 13/14 with Cleary. But if Alfredsson is re-signed, goodbye Jurco. Demoting the younger player who is waiver exempt, because he can, is Kenny’s MO. Tie goes to the veteran and all that. Apparently Babcock’s quote about how the younger players are on the team now, that they had taken other guys’ jobs, only pertained to last season.

And Holland never resolves roster logjams. He can’t pull off a decent trade to save his life. He likes to let them “battle it out” in camp. And everyone knows he has no leverage. Which means, if there is an extra player with any value, they’re gone on waivers.

Does Cleary eventually play/not-play himself off the roster (like last season) because he is so unable to contribute or even keep up with the play—or so badly injured—not even Babcock and Holland can ignore it? Maybe. That’s what happened last season. But it took half the season.

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/11/14 at 11:07 AM ET


The Cleary signing is not going to make or break this season…. and I still believe he could end up being bought out or assigned to GR. It would be a nice financial send-off for him either way, as he would earn more than if he simply took a job with the organization elsewhere. I would not be surprised to see him in an organizational role next season.

Having to send Jurco down would be a concern….but, if it happens, it will simply be a temporary measure and Jurco is still only 20 years old, I believe. He played well at times last season but there were times when he could have benefited from a little more seasoning. I fully expect him to be with the Wings for the bulk of the season.

A larger issue is whether we lose Callahan or Ferraro before they ever get a chance to prove their value. I feel that Callahan, especially, brings that intangible called character to the team and you can never have enough character guys on your team. Some, of course, with immense talent.

I understand the angst with the Cleary deal and was disappointed in that it was a one-way deal…but who knows what is going on behind the scene?

Posted by NewfieWing on 07/11/14 at 11:10 AM ET

Paul's avatar

According to CapGeek, Cleary’s $!M bonus for games played is 10.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/11/14 at 11:39 AM ET


Jurco for Boychuk is a tough one. I’d really, really hate to see Jurco go, as his skill level, willingness to use his size, and chemistry with the other young forwards all stood out last season. He seems to have a good attitude, work ethic and very bright future.

It was pretty sad that a marginal player, like Comeau, could casually take him out of the lineup with a two-hander to the ribs, knowing there’d be absolutely no consequences.
But that’s become the Red Wings’ way.

Boychuk is big, will hit, can hammer the puck, is pretty solid in his zone and has good corsi numbers, if you’re into that. But he’s thirty.

Do the Wings want to contend while Pav and Z are still here/leading players? Would Boychuk be amenable to re-signing? (UFA in ‘15)  Would Holland make the move because he has an actual plan, or because he’s panicked that the Wings might barely miss the playoffs?

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/11/14 at 11:40 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 07/11/14 at 10:57 AM ET

Thanks Bill, can’t wait to see the next installment.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 07/11/14 at 11:43 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

The part I find funniest, since this seems to be developing into a Jurco vs. Cleary roster spot competition, is while Jurco is skating around juggling pucks and throwing his stick up in the air in that Twitter video, Cleary just started skating a week ago. 

The bright side of it though, is Cleary sounds to be working out and getting started on his skating a little early.  It’s not much, but hey - I’m looking for some optimism in this.  We’ll see what happens.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/11/14 at 11:44 AM ET

Chet's avatar

it’s a joke. unreal. and nobody’s yet commented on KH’s referral to “my program.” your program, bud? really? it’s hubris at this point. there’s no acceptable excuse left.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/11/14 at 11:44 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

According to CapGeek, Cleary’s $!M bonus for games played is 10.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/11/14 at 11:39 AM ET

I take it back - THAT’s the funniest part.  The sad part is: who knows whether or not he’ll get 10 games in!

Posted by TreKronor on 07/11/14 at 11:45 AM ET


I know what you are saying, but I think it’s equally naive to think that no matter how crappy Cleary plays that Holland and Babcock will choose him over a young/promising player that beat him out in camp/preseason - especially after what happened last season.

I’m not sure how naive it is because all we have to do is look back one single season and see how the likes of Cleary and Samuelsson displaced the likes of Tatar and Nyquist, even if it was only temporary.

The Cleary signing is not going to make or break this season…. and I still believe he could end up being bought out or assigned to GR.

It’s not going to make or break the season, you’re right, but it’s symptomatic of what’s happening in Detroit.

And Cleary won’t be bought out.  To the best of my knowledge, the buyout period has closed.

And yes, he can be sent down to GR but most of his contract will count against the cap, so it’s possible, once the roster is set, that sending him down wouldn’t free up enough space to call someone up.

He played well at times last season but there were times when he could have benefited from a little more seasoning.

Sure, but in almost twenty fewer games Jurco had nearly twice as many points as Cleary.

The main concern is that Jurco is a young player on his way up while Cleary is an old and broken player on a steep decline.

Posted by Garth on 07/11/14 at 11:47 AM ET

DrD's avatar

If I remember correctly, Sammy and Bert lost roster spots last season to the young guys. People are losing their minds over this Cleary signing. Big deal - he’ll blow out his knee and a kid will take his place. There is just as much or more evidence based on last season that the brass is willing to let kids keep their roster spots as there is that a veteran will beat out a kid.

Also, who really knows if Weiss will even be healthy? I seriously doubt that Jurco will be demoted to GR for any length of time and even if he did go down for a month, it’s not the end of the world.

Their biggest issues are on defence - getting guys that can get pucks to the forwards and quarterback the PP. I’m more concerned about Sproul and Marchenko getting their shot over Kindl/Lashoff.


Posted by DrD on 07/11/14 at 11:58 AM ET


Jurco is 21 and will be 22 by the end of December.

He’s already playing at almost 200 lbs and can not only skate well enough to forecheck but actually has the inclination and ability to hit people and take them out of the play. Oh, and he can not only get to the net, but also actually finish.

Cleary can’t skate well enough to catch opponents and only takes himself out of the play.
I take numbers like these as pieces of the puzzle, not the end-all-be-all, but, for what it’s worth, Jurco was even +/- as a rookie, while Cleary was -11; Jurco’s Corsi% was 56.5,
while Cleary’s was 47.3

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/11/14 at 12:00 PM ET


The funny part is the NTC.  Like that’s even needed with that contract, essentially that contract is a de-facto NTC, who would want him?  And for those trying to give management the benefit of the doubt, they don’t deserve any it has been their MO to favor the veterans at all costs, unless they are out of waiver options.  I have no doubt the Wings will do everything to make sure Cleary showcases himself to earn a spot, at the expense of someone like Ferraro or Callahan.

Posted by bababooey on 07/11/14 at 12:01 PM ET


According to CapGeek, Cleary’s $!M bonus for games played is 10.

That’s the only good news. Let him play his 10 games and go on LTIR. I was afraid it would be 50 games so Babcock has no choice, but to play him or Cleary goes crying to KH that he cannot get his $1m bonus.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 12:17 PM ET


Morrow signed by Tampa for 1 year, another guy who is ten times better than Cleary.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 12:19 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

According to CapGeek, Cleary’s $!M bonus for games played is 10.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/11/14 at 11:39 AM ET

The best part is I actually laughed when reading this tripe.

The main concern is that Jurco is a young player on his way up while Cleary is an old and broken player on a steep decline.

Posted by Garth on 07/11/14 at 11:47 AM ET

Decline? You mean he hasn’t hit the bottom yet?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/11/14 at 12:19 PM ET


The Cleary signing is not going to make or break this season…. and I still believe he could end up being bought out or assigned to GR.

There is NO WAY Cleary will be assigned to GR, otherwise all this loyalty BS goes out the window. And no, Cleary will not make or break this season,  but signings of Q and Cleary are symbolic in a sense that KH is ruining this team and has to be stopped before it is too late and he trades Nyquist, Jurco and Tatar for Green and then says “we really needed a right handed defenseman and they cost a lot”.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 12:23 PM ET


Yes, there are always injuries, sometimes many at once. Last year, the issue wasn’t that the Wings were scraping the bottom of their depth at forward; it was that too manyexperienced centers were hurt at the same time, late in the season.

But, even so, Cleary played 52 games last season and blocked Nyquist from the roster for the first two months.

And the Wings barely made the playoffs, in the last couple of games of the season. Even that, might have been dependent (of course we’ll never know) on Holland’s panic move for Legwand. If it was dependent on overpaying for that two-way veteran center, (soon to be fourth-line winger) then Holland deserves some credit for keeping the playoff fun alive.

But if you look at it another way, points count just as much early in the season. It’s just as plausible that the Wings might have won at least a couple more games earlier, if they hadn’t kept going with guys like Cleary at the expense of guys like Nyquist. That way they save the 2nd round pick and Jarnkrok, whom you can use to play or trade another day.

It’s poor asset management, but that’s the “program” Holland’s running.

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/11/14 at 12:40 PM ET


Even that, might have been dependent (of course we’ll never know) on Holland’s panic move for Legwand

And there will be more panic and idiotic moves unless this man will be stopped by the ownership.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/11/14 at 12:53 PM ET


To be honest, the only thing that could possibly happen is that KH will cut ties with Cleary after he makes his $2.5mm total, keeping the agreement they had, that is the only thing I can see here

Posted by bababooey on 07/11/14 at 01:45 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

According to CapGeek, Cleary’s $!M bonus for games played is 10.

Yesterday I joked that it was for two games, thinking it probably was for something like 40 games. But 10 fricking games? That alone guarantees that what he really got was a one-way deal for $2.5M – a $750 raise after scoring 4 goals in 52 games last year.

But bababooey (and others) may be on to something. Maybe the 10-game threshold is there so he can play the first 10 games, get his “loyalty payout” and then get sent to GR to “mentor” the kids there. If that’s the “grand plan” and it means Jurco will only have to wait out those 10 games in GR, then so be it.

But that whole idea may be to giving Holland & Co. too much credit. I’m not sure any more if they’re smart enough to come up with something like that.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/11/14 at 02:03 PM ET

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