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Glendening sends message to campers

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Getting set for his third season with the Red Wings, center Luke Glendening said he's ready for the competition that training camp will bring to many of the forwards seeking ice time this season. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Day 2 of the Red Wings annual youth hockey camp had a new face join the on-ice instructional staff on Tuesday.

Center Luke Glendening took time away from a busy summer workout regime at Barwis Methods Training Center in suburban Detroit to help counsel nearly 300 assembled campers from 14 States and three Canadian provinces.

Glendening is one of three current Wings helping out at this week’s three-day camp overseen by Red Wings pro scout and four-time Stanley Cup winner Kirk Maltby.

Center Riley Sheahan was on hand Monday, and defenseman Danny DeKeyser will work with the campers on Wednesday.

“It’s fun to be out there,” Glendening said. “It just reminds you of how much fun you have when you’re a kid and that hockey is supposed to be fun. You can get bogged down by the day-to-day (routine) during the season sometimes, but to see these kids kind of gives you a breath of fresh air and rejuvenates you a little bit.”

Sporting a bandage on the right hand, slashed open by a skate blade late in Game 4 of the opening-round Stanley Cup playoff series against Tamp Bay, Glendening said he’s fine and ready for the start of training camp.

“I got it taken care of in the beginning of the summer and it’s been good,” he said.

The 26-year-old Glendening, who went from scoring one goal in his rookie season to 12 goals last season, knows that the competition up front is deeper this season, especially with the addition of free-agent center Brad Richards, who is coming off a Stanley Cup celebration with the Chicago Blackhawks, and prospective sniper Teemu Pulkkinen, who is out of waiver options.

“Since I’ve been here – which hasn’t been long – I don’t know if there’s been this much competition to get into the lineup,” Glendening said. “Obviously, adding those guys is huge for us, and it’s going to make training camp really exciting.

“I think you have to play like you’re fighting for your job every day or you’re not going to make it. I need to take more steps to secure a spot, but I thought I took a step in the right direction (last season).”

Aside from his jump in offensive production, Glendening also saw a rise in his face-off circle efficiency, as well as a significant increase in penalty-kill minutes. He finished second on the team, only to Pavel Datsyuk, winning nearly 52 percent of his 962 draws in the regular season. Glendening also led the Wings’ PK in average ice time, logging 3:22 minutes per game.

Though he’s shown improvement in a short period of time, Glendening said he’s far from emptying the tank.

“I want to produce more than I did last year, get better in face-offs, help our penalty kill out,” he said. “You can’t stay stagnant in this league and stick around. You can’t become complacent; you’ve got to get better every year.”

Glendening (2) rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in East Grand Rapids' state football championship win at Detroit's Ford Field in 2006. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan High School Athletic Association)

It was just one of a couple different messages that Glendening said he shared with the kids at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

“The amount of people who make it to pro sports is very small and I think you should enjoy your experience, whether that’s being in plays or musicals or doing, I don’t know, whatever you’re interested in,” he said. “I think it’s important to be well rounded and have a plethora of things to do.”

While a lot of parents today have their children specializing in one sport year round, Glendening practiced what he preaches participating on a multitude of extracurricular activities as a kid, which included hockey, baseball, football, as well as the arts. He said he performed in school musicals as well as three dance recitals while at Hotchiss School, a prep institution in Lakeville, Conn., before heading to the University of Michigan.

A former football player at East Grand Rapids High School in western Michigan, he, along with his brother, helped lead the Pioneers to a Division 3 state championship at Ford Field in Detroit, in 2006.

“It was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in sports,” Glendening said. “I got to win a state championship in football with him and it’s something that we’ll share forever.”

It’s that diversity of activities that Glendening says guided his development in hockey.

“I just think it helps your athleticism,” he said. “I think I can still get better at hockey just because this is probably my sixth, seventh year of just playing hockey. I think that’s helped me a lot.”

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