"This year I stuck around here and played a lot of golf. Obviously my groin was torn in two places so I couldn't really do anything training-wise for five weeks, so it was a good time to play golf. I wouldn't have even skated until Monday, which is two days from now, but I had to get skating earlier because of Team Canada camp."
Double-groin pull...ouch. But wait, it gets worse:
"It almost got torn off the bone. It's awful. We couldn't shoot it up with any needles because it would have just made my groin even worse, so what we did is I just got some treatment and played on it."
You're a heartless cad if reading that first sentence didn't make you cringe. Just goes to show how tough this guy really is and how badly he wanted to win.
"I waited five weeks and it healed up pretty good. I skated in Calgary and felt great. I feel strong. I had a huge advantage in training camp, I know that, because I knew all the drills. I was fielding a lot of questions, let's put it that way -- his (Babcock's) style, how he wants things. My roommate was Vinny Lecavalier, he was always asking me, so I was just trying to tell him how he likes to have his players play and it's hard. It's hard work playing his system."
Like Dany Heatley saying "Dude, can I copy your homework?" at Wisconsin, Vinny was looking for an inside track with his roomate...can't say I blame him.
"He looked very good out there, he certainly didn't look out of place. The one thing that makes Danny very valuable is the versatility. He can play any of the three forward positions and he can do a lot of the grunt work, stand in front of the net on the power play, kill penalties, he'll take a faceoff if needed, so he's a valuable player. Obviously, he's not a high-profile guy like a lot of the players that are going to be on that team, but he's a very versatile player and that's why we brought him to camp, and we're going to decide in December who's on that team."
Does Cleary deserve to be on Team Canada? Absolutely. But don't count on it. Unless Yzerman wants controversy before the torch is even lit, he'll play the political game and leave Cleary at home come Olympic time...which is a shame.
Cleary also took some time to address Detroit's recent additions/departures...
"We lost Hossa but we won the Stanley Cup without Hossa. I think a full season with Darren Helm and Johnny Ericsson's going to be a huge addition for us. I like our additions. I think Patrick Eaves is going to be a great replacement and an upgrade on Kopecky. I think (Jason) Williams is an even trade for Samuelsson and I think (Todd) Bertuzzi's going to bring a different element. Big body that's going to be physical and fits well in the locker room. I just think we're a better team."
Did you hear that everyone...FITS WELL IN THE LOCKER ROOM. So everybody just shut up and let's see what Bert brings to the table. And Williams an even trade for Sammy? Jason must have learned how to backcheck. A better team without Hossa, eh? Maybe somebody was a bigger cancer in the room than the 'Tuzz...
I like the fact that he didn't pull any punches on the rats that jumped ship...you tell 'em, Dan!