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Ready to contribute

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings forward Luke Glendening works with young players during the youth camp at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT -- By the time Red Wings training camp arrives on Sept. 23, Luke Glendening expects to be ready to go.

Glendening suffered an ankle injury during the playoffs that forced him to withdraw from the world championships.

"It would have been fun," Glendening said after the morning session of the Wings' youth camp ended Wednesday. "It would have been a great opportunity for me personally but there’s bigger things in life and you just got to roll with the punches sometimes and that’s the way it goes."

Glendening recently was able to start skating.

"Yeah, been on the ice, so far so good, so hopefully it'll keep turning in the right direction," Glendening said. "We've had enough time off, it's an extra-long offseason this summer so I should be all set."

Glendening is hopeful that the entire team will come back and be ready to put on a better showing.

"I think we were all frustrated by the way things ended but it's the offseason, you have a lot of time to think about it," Glendening said. "Here we are and I think we're all ready to get back going. We still have another two months basically but we're going to be extra ready by the time it starts."

A little over two weeks ago, Glendening signed a four-year contract extension, set to begin following this season.

"It's obviously nice to have a little security but you can be out of this league as fast as you get in so you can't take anything for granted," Glendening said. "You have to continue pushing and get better every day."

Glendening, 27, had a career high 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) last season, following up a season in which he had 12 goals and 6 assists.

But Glendening's role has never been defined by offense.

"I just want to continue to contribute any way I can, be solid on the penalty kill and we'll see where it shakes out," he said.

From a team perspective, Glendening knows that things are going to be different, with the free-agent additions of Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott, plus the departure of Pavel Datysuk.

"Obviously that's a huge loss, both in the locker room and on the ice, but everyone's just got to step up a little bit," Glendening said. "It's not going to be one guy's job to carry the load that he carried. That's pretty impossible. But everyone's got to do their job and do their part."

In addition to making up for the loss of Datsyuk, the Wings will also look to relieve captain Henrik Zetterberg of some of his burden.

Zetterberg turns 36 right before the regular season starts.

"I think a lot of guys had a down season last year and weren't exactly where they wanted to be," Glendening said. "If everyone can take a step, it doesn't have to be a huge one, but a little one, we could be in a good spot."

In addition to Nielsen, Vanek and Ott, there are forwards from the Grand Rapids Griffins who will be pushing to make the team.

"I think it makes everyone play better and it brings a little excitement to camp," Glendening said. "There’s not a lot of guaranteed spots on the team so guys are going to have come in and battle for them. That’s all you can ask for."

In addition to some new players, the Wings also have two new assistant coaches, Doug Houda and John Torchetti, who both bring a lot of experience.

"It’s going to be different," Glendening said. "Sometimes change is good and you never know what they’ll  bring to the table but we’re excited to have them and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table."

Glendening said he and his roommates, Riley Sheahan and Dylan Larkin, have been keeping it fairly low-key this summer.

"We work out at 7 every morning," Glendening said. "After that, I wish I had something cool to tell you. Not much. We have three dogs at our house so that keeps us pretty busy. Nothing too crazy."

Like Sheahan, Glendening was busy with sports other than hockey in the summer but he enjoys helping kids work on their skills.

"It's always fun," Glendening said. "They're excited to be out here. I caught them on the last day so I think some of them are going a little haywire. But it's good to be out there, they're having fun."

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