But tonight, Glendening will play in his 500th career NHL game, which is no small accomplishment.
"I definitely never thought I would get here," Glendening said after the morning skate. "I didn't even know if I'd ever play one. I feel truly blessed to be able to say that I've played that many games for one organization. It's been a huge blessing to me for sure."
Glendening wasn't recruited at Michigan yet ended up as the Wolverines' captain for two years.
Glendening never was drafted by an NHL team.
He had a tryout with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League in April of 2012 and two months later signed a contract with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
Now Glendening is one of Detroit's alternate captains and someone that coach Jeff Blashill uses as an example of what one can achieve when talking to people.
"Whenever I talk to really any group but specifically younger people, I talk about the two biggest qualities I think are the biggest impact on individual success in anything in life -- sports, anything you do in life -- that's inner drive and perseverance," Blashill said. "Luke probably manifests those attributes better than anybody else. His inner drive is off the charts. He gets up every day and he wants to be better than the next person every single day. He doesn't need a coach to tell him to work, he doesn't need a coach to tell him to get better at this or better at that, he just works at it, works at it, works at it.
"Because of that, and because he's a good athlete, he's gotten so much better at so many things over the years, whether it be a long time ago with face-offs, or whether it be his puck skills, he works at it all summer long. He's just got that elite, elite inner drive. Everybody in the NHL works hard. To separate yourself, you have to be elite and he's elite in his inner drive.
"Then perseverance, he's been kicked a lot. I think success isn't about how many times you get knocked down, it's do you keep getting back up, do you keep getting back up, do you keep getting back up. That's all he did. His road to the NHL was not easy and a lot of people would have complained and whined and said, 'woe is me' and he never did that once. All he did was just keep working and the fact he got to 500 games is awesome."
Once one of the young guys on the team, Glendening is now a veteran who helps the younger players.
Among them is one of the other alternate captains, and fellow former Michigan player, Dylan Larkin.
"It's been a lot for me," Larkin said. "I'd say every guy has someone very influential on their career, a parent, coach, agent. Teammates are probably the most influential. Luke's been that for me. He's been that guy. We've been together my whole career. He literally took me under his wing to start. We lived together, he taught me the ropes, and made me feel comfortable on the team. A lot of, not only who I am as a hockey player but as a person and a man, is because of him. He's one of the greatest role models I've had in my life.
"I'm very proud of him. He's someone that is deserving of everything he's worked for. It's a special night and I think a player like him, he might not say it but I think he's got another 500-plus more. He's a team guy and a warrior, someone you definitely want on your side."
BIEGA IS BACK: The Wings announced Monday that they had re-signed veteran defenseman Alex Biega to a one-year extension.
"Really excited," Biega said. "My family and I, once we got traded here, we kind of fell in love with the city of Detroit, just the area and how well we're treated here from top down. It's been great. Really looking forward to another year."
Biega came to Detroit on Oct. 6 in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks for forward David Pope.
After playing in just 10 of the first 25 games upon arrival, Biega has now played in 27 straight games.
"I talked to some of his past coaches before we ended up acquiring him and they said that's kind of his nature. He finds a way to win you over," Blashill said. "What you do a lot of times, and we're not different than fans or media, you get tantalized by guys with potential and he doesn't have that sexy skill set, he's small, not super-fast or super-elite talent but he just finds ways to win you over. Over time he just outplays other guys. We sat him a lot, he didn't play much, he played a limited role and then he just outplayed other guys and the next thing you know … sometimes we're not super-smart, it takes us too long, but next thing you know he's played more than guys with potential. He helps you win the hockey game."
There was something that executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman saw in Biega that led to the extension.
"When a legend like that re-signs you and trades for you and gives you an opportunity to play, as a player and as a person that means the world to you," Biega said. "It was a great opportunity for me coming in this year. I'm just very grateful for the opportunity that they've given me and continue to give me. Hopefully I can keep improving and keep showcasing myself and showing them what I can do."
In recent weeks, the 5-foot-10, 199-pound Biega has been paired with 6-foot-3, 228-pound Patrik Nemeth.
"First off Patrik's a great player," Biega said. "I think we complement each other well. I like using my skating ability and to play quick. I'm not a point guy, I'm not a guy that's gonna produce offense. I take pride in shutting top lines down and guys down and making it a frustrating night for those guys. Just the new era of the NHL -- skating, moving the puck and getting up and down the ice all night long. I think we've complemented each other well and done a good a job of 5-on-5 and the penalty kill."
With the Canucks, Biega went through a similar rebuilding situation so he understands that and can help some of the other players with that perspective.
"The bigger value is in great pros, that's what he is," Blashill said. "A guy who comes to work every day, doesn't let frustration get the best of him, never makes excuses, a guy that doesn't walk around and say 'woe is me.' You need those types of people around our program right now, like Sam Gagner. He's been that way, too, been through tough times in Edmonton in the past. Just having guys that understand that and understand how to manage the game and be good pros is important."
For Biega, he had always admired the Wings from afar but now he has a whole new appreciation for them as part of the franchise.
"I'm very fortunate to be back here with the Red Wings. I grew up in Montreal and I grew up watching the Red Wings, an Original Six team," Biega said. "Some of the greatest players to ever play the game have sat in that locker room. Every time that I put on that Red Wing jersey, it goes beyond just playing in the NHL. It goes to the point that some of the greatest players in the world put on this jersey. You see it with the fan base here.
"Despite our losing season, we have passionate fans that sell out every given night and that just means a lot. It shows you that it really is Hockeytown. You're playing more than just for yourself. You're playing for the people that once put on this jersey, and being a part of this organization, you're playing for the fans. It's a matter of establishing that every night you put on that jersey. You're gonna work as hard as you can and give them something to root for. I think presenting yourself in that fashion in terms of work ethic and how hard you compete and work, those are controllables that we can control as players. That's the mentality that we have to have closing out the season."
CORONAVIRUS PRECAUTIONS/ABDELKADER OUT: On Monday night, the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS all announced that in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they are temporarily limiting locker room access to players and essential staff.
So Glendening, Larkin, Biega and Blashill all came into the interview room after the morning skate.
"We're taking the normal precautions that have been advised to everybody in terms of washing your hands, doing a real good job of being vigilant with that," Blashill said. "Justin Abdelkader is out tonight, he's sick, we just had him stay at home. He was on the fence whether he'd be able to play or not and we just had him stay at home. So a little extra precaution there, covering our mouths when he cough, but beyond that, there's not much else we can do."
Blashill emphasized they weren't thinking Abdelkader has the coronavirus or anything like that, but are just following the extra precautions for now.
"You're always cautious, washing your hands during the flu season a little extra anyways," Glendening said. "I think to Dylan's point, sports don't exist in a vacuum. We feel the stuff the real world does as well. Our thoughts and prayers are to those people who've been affected by it. You just gotta try and stay as safe as you can."
Santa Clara County, where the San Jose Sharks play, has implemented a three-week ban on events with more than 1,000 attendees.
There have been sporting events in Italy and Japan with no fans at all.
"That would be weird," Larkin acknowledged. "With the news about San Jose and the uncertainty about what's gonna happen there, I've thought about it. I thought about it as soon as I saw it. We talked about it a little bit between the guys this morning. It would be really weird if it was a full NHL production. I'm sure stats people would be here and media as well but with no fans it would be a completely different game, especially with playoffs coming around. I doubt it would change the way we play or how hard we play. Black seats, and pucks hitting the boards, all the sounds, extra stuff that you don't think about that fans, the extra noise takes out of it, it would be a little different."
ZADINA DOES NOT SKATE WITH TEAM: Filip Zadina, out since Feb. 2 with a broken ankle, did not participate in the morning skate after practicing with the team Friday and Saturday.
"Zadina skated before practice, not available today," Blashill said. "He had a separate little issue, mid-body issue from the other day so we'll see where he's at. But he's not available today. I don't know if he'll be available for Thursday. I'll know more tomorrow."
Blashill wasn't sure if Zadina would make the trip to Washington, D.C. and Tampa.
"I don't know that answer," Blashill said. "As I was walking on the ice, I was told he couldn't practice with us today. So that wasn't great. I thought he was going to practice with us today and he wasn't available."