Here’s a player that followed his heart instead of his bank account, forgoing the Philadelphia Flyers’ (much-ridiculed) three-year, $8.25-million contract to come back to the Red Wings on a one-year deal at just $1.75 million.
He wanted to be a Red Wing. The Red Wings wanted to be a Red Wing. Cue the romantic power ballad and the tear-filled hugging.
“We think we’re a better team with Clears,'' Holland said. “He’s a versatile on the wing, he’s good in the locker room. In the end, he flew up (Wednesday) to meet with (coach Mike Babcock) and I at the airport and his message was he wanted to be a Red Wing and he wanted to work with us.
“He hopes to play until he's 38, 39 years of age. He’s 34, let’s take a one-year deal and trust that things will work out based on the coach knowing him, based upon the people that he knows in the locker room and the history of the ownership in Detroit.''
Of course, he could have been a Red Wing back in July, when Detroit offered him a three-year contract. Which he turned down. Then they signed another No. 11, and suddenly Dan Cleary wasn’t in the cards.
Then the Flyers come along and decide to get in the Dan Cleary business, bringing him to camp and giving him a three-year deal for crazy money for a third-liner. Which he then turns down, running back to Detroit for one year of job security, and causing the Red Wings to have to make another move just to get him under the cap.
So congrats to Dan Cleary for ... something, I guess.
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