Detroit Red Wings
RedWingsSeasonTickets.com Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Turning injury into positive is Cleary's goal

Thursday, 02.28.2008 / 5:24 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Turning injury into positive is Cleary\'s goal
Dan Cleary scored two goals and took 20 stitches to close a gash over his right eye against Columbus earlier this season. He hopes to return from a broken jaw by the end of March.
DETROIT – The first week was the rough, Dan Cleary said.

First came the surgery to repair his fractured jaw that he suffered during the first period on Feb. 9 in Toronto. Then came the pain medication that made him constantly sleepy, followed by the rapid loss in body weight – a result of having his jaws wired shut.

“It was the toughest thing I’ve been through, mentally and physically,” said Cleary, who returned to the Red Wings’ locker room on Thursday for the first time since the injury. “The first week was really tough -- not being able to open your mouth, and being able to breath were definitely tough.”

Cleary’s injury has also been a hardship for Mikael Samuelsson. It was Samuelsson’s shot from inside the blue line that broke Cleary’s jaw.

“I would rather take a puck myself than to hit guys like that,” Samuelsson said. “It’s an awful feeling.”

Samuelsson, who is still somewhat shaken by the incident, spoke to Cleary on the team’s short flight from Toronto to Detroit. All Cleary could do was listen, though he did manage to scratch out a note that basically exonerated his teammate.
 
“He obviously couldn’t speak, or he didn’t want to speak,” Samuelsson said. “There’s nothing you can do about it, but hopefully he’s back soon.”
“I would rather take a puck myself than to hit guys like that. It’s an awful feeling.” - Mikael Samuelsson

Cleary said he hopes to return to the ice as early as Sunday’s morning skate in Buffalo. Conditioning is an obvious concern for him, he said, especially since he lost about 15-pounds with his jaws still wired shut.

“I did lose a lot of weight, it was real tough to keep it on,” said Cleary, who began the season at 210-pounds. “I’ve got about 4-5 weeks to get it back and I feel that I will be back better and stronger than before I was hurt. I didn’t even want to get on the scale -- I won’t lie to you. You want to play at 215-210 … I have a ways to go.”

For his Red Wings’ teammates, it was a relief to just have Cleary back at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday.

“This is the first day that I’ve seen him. He looks good,” Samuelsson said. “He looks healthy for sure.”

Before the injury, Cleary had been one of the hottest Wings. He had seven goals and six assists in January, and was named the team’s Hardest Working Player of the Month – an award he was supposed to receive during a pre-game ceremony on Feb. 10 at Joe Louis Arena.

But Cleary hasn’t sulked about the injury that derailed his successful season. Instead, he said, he subscribes to the “everything happens for a reason” theory.

“I took a lot of positives out of it,” he said. “I got to spend a lot of time with my little girl every morning, and my family. That was nice … and I’ll come back stronger for the playoffs.”

Ideally, Cleary said he would like to return before the playoffs, perhaps as early as the end of March.

“That’s my goal to get back and play the last 3-4 games to get my timing and game legs back,” he said. “But I’m real anxious to get back on the ice period.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59