Detroit Red Wings
Clear Bag Policy 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 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89