“I live, I die, I live again” is this a quote from ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ or is this an apt description of Dan Cleary’s time with the Red Wings? No matter the coach, no matter the period of time, it seems like Dan Cleary is more cockroach than hockey player, he always just seems to stick around. The man’s career will never die but should you even care?
It is known as folklore, how much Mike Babcock adored Dan Cleary. It may now be more of a joke then anything else but for a time he was a valuable piece to this team. Those years are long behind him, yet he is still apart of the organization. The long held notion that he is good in the locker room will be repeated by many beat reporters and fans. What does that actually mean? All I get from it, is a player occupying a spot that should be held for a prospect or a more skilled pro.
In his last season with the Red Wings, he had only two points on the year in seventeen games. While he was injured for part of it, it is still a paltry number given the money paid to him. In his time this year with the Griffins, he averaged less than half a point per game. The loyalty shown to him isn’t just silly at this point, it is almost unseen in the game today.
Are they setting a precedent for future players by doing this for Cleary? One would hope they aren’t, but as an observer, you can’t be too sure. Decisions have to be made with an iron fist and not with thoughts of yesteryear permeating throughout your organization. His time is up and he was given a swan song with the Griffins, what is left to give?
The organization is at a crossroads, the re-signing of Cleary should be far down the list of priorities. From outsiders to insiders, they all believe that his time with the Wings has become more of a farce than anything else. Move on, set a new precedent for the future, show that your loyalty only goes so far.
Business is business after all.