"I just think I have earned the right to be here based on my play the last few years in the playoffs and the regular season. I think I'm good at both ends of the ice. I have played on top lines and I think I had a good playoff this year, a good run. I have good experience of being in critical situations. With our team in Detroit I play in every situation. I play in the last minute of the power play and penalty kill. I feel I deserve to be here."---Dan Cleary
I don't think anyone who watches the Red Wings with any consistency would argue with that. I think he still might be flying a little low on the radar for the rest of the league, including his home and native land.
Babcock had this to say:
"It's just that he's a good hockey player. Just look at the playoffs and the amount of scoring he does, the way he plays with and without the puck. He's just a real smart hockey player and he gets things done. He's a very usable guy whether it's on the power play in front of the net, in a checking role, physical on the forecheck, in his own zone or on the penalty kill. He's a good player."
Does he deserve to be on this team? Yes. Will people whine and make excuses if he gets selected? They've already started.
When asked about feeling pressure skating at the camp with Canada's best, Cleary had this to say:
"I have played against all these guys, went head-to-head with all these guys, checked them and had lots of battles with them. I feel comfortable. I don't feel any pressure. These other guys have way more pressure than me."
He's right, you know. What does he have to lose when many think he doesn't even have a right to be at camp? Just go and give it your all, Charlie Bucket. You have Hockeytown behind you.
"If it happens it happens, but you see, I know what I have to do to make the team. I'm going to focus on those areas and hopefully that's enough. If it's not, I will know I gave it all I can give."
We know, Danny. That's why we love you...a Wing for life.