– If Danny Cleary
could do one thing over again, it would be to play in the third period of last Thursday’s Game 7 of the Western Conference semfinals against the San Jose Sharks.
“It would obviously been nice to play that last period and given it one last chance,” said Cleary, who was relegated to the Red Wings’ locker room following a hellacious second-period collision with teammate Jiri Hudler
Neither Cleary, nor forward Todd Bertuzzi
were around for the final outcome of the Wings’ 3-2 loss to the Sharks at HP Pavilion. Both forwards suffered concussions.
Bertuzzi was injured when he was hit in the face by Dany Heatley’s helmet in the first period.
Cleary was injured when both he and Hudler were going after a loose puck in the defensive zone when they accidentally collided.
“It was a little scary there for a little bit,” Cleary said. “I didn’t remember anything, really. So it took a few hours to get back.”
Cleary needed to be helped off the ice by teammates, and appeared to be very shaken up from the hit. He was immediately tested for a concussion, and said he will have a follow-up exam this week.
“I have to go do that again on Tuesday,” Cleary said. “I have to take the neuropsych test. I don’t think I would have been cleared for the beginning of the (next) series.”
With the injury, the Wings were left with 10 forwards for the third period of Game 7, which created some unfamiliar line combinations, like Drew Miller
skating with Henrik Zetterberg
and Pavel Datsyuk
Cleary ended the postseason with two goals and four assists in 11 games. In the regular-season, the Newfoundland native recorded 26 goals, only two behind Johan Franzen
for the team lead.
“We had a good season,” Cleary said. “Obviously, it was a good series. It was close, but you don’t want to put yourselves in that hole. So, we’ll look to next year and we’ll be a better team next year.”DetroitRedWings.com Managing Editor Bill Roose contributed to this report.Follow Michael Caples on Twitter: @MichaelCaples