Holland wants Cleary to be a “role model” in Grand Rapids

Detroit Red Wings left wing Daniel Cleary (11) trips Boston Bruins center Alex Khokhlachev (76) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Detroit Red Wings left wing Daniel Cleary (11) trips Boston Bruins center Alex Khokhlachev (76) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

DETROIT >> Daniel Cleary has rethought things and has decided to report to Grand Rapids.

He’ll be there for practice on Tuesday.

“I just needed some time to think it through,” Cleary said. “I’m going to go down and be a good pro.

“Anytime something new gets thrown at you, you need some time to think about it,” Cleary added. “It’s a challenge. We’ve got a lot of good, young players down there. I’ll be a good pro, a good mentor for the young guys. I got a good relationship with the people down there.”

Cleary being a good pro is exactly what Wings general manager Ken Holland is hoping for out of his veteran forward.

“I thought he had a good training camp so obviously I’m happy he’s going to report,” Holland said. “I think it does two things for us. I told him certainly from a depth standpoint there’s certainly a chance down the road he could be back. Secondly, I’m hoping he goes down with the right attitude. I think he’s going to be a tremendous role model and a veteran. We have a lot of young players, a lot of future down there and I think he could have a real positive impact on the future of the Red Wings.”

Cleary was placed on waivers by the Wings on Oct. 8, a move that was done to clear a roster spot for Jakub Kindl, who had been sidelined with an eye infection.

Cleary, 35, signed a one-year deal last month worth $950,000. His salary won’t count against the cap while he’s with the Griffins.

“Dan Cleary has a passion for hockey,” Holland said. “He’s been involved with the union on the perimeter of past CBA’s so he has some interest in the business of the game. He’s been here for 10 years. Even last year I had people down there in the locker room telling me the positive impact he brought to the team every day, in the gym, supporting and pushing his teammates. Given the adversity he faced he was a real pro. I think that’s important for young players to see.

“I’m hoping he goes down with that attitude into Grand Rapids because I think he can have a real positive impact on the future of our team because we have a lot of young players in Grand Rapids that we think one day will play in Detroit,” Holland added. “If they can watch a pro every day, a guy that competes, goes to the gym, chips it in, chips it out, makes all the right decisions on the ice to a degree he’s a bit of a coach.”

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