Due to my preoccupation with the “Free Agent Frenzy” last week, I failed to mention that our very own Dan Cleary is headed to the Canadian Olympic camp. While I won’t be rooting for him to win gold, I do hope that he makes the team and has a good tournament personally. I feel the same way about the Wings’ other surefire Olympians. As much as I like them as players, my loyalty to good old Team USA supersedes Red Wing ties during the Olympics. Seriously though, I have a growing soft spot for Cleary, or Clear Bear as I like to call him for some inexplicable reason. He’s the kind of blue-collar guy Detroit fans have a long and storied history of falling for. People were criticizing Steve Yzerman (I know, I didn’t think that was allowed either. Frankly I’m surprised that those who dared disparage The Captain weren’t immediately smote by the Hockey Gods.) for inviting Cleary instead of some higher-scoring guys, but every team needs guys like him. Apparently Stevie Y’s critics never watched Miracle.
It’s also worth noting that Ozzie wasn’t invited to the camp. I didn’t really figure he’d make the team, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him on the invite list. While I’m sure it’d be nice for him to get to play for Team Canada at the Olympics next year, him staying home isn’t the worst thing in the world. He’s going to be starting a lot more games this season what with Jimmy Howard backing him up, so a little extra rest might pay dividends down the road. It would’ve been really nice to see him get that kind of recognition nationally, though. Oh well, there are younger guys out there, and while I don’t have a vested interest in the fate of Canada’s team, Steve Yzerman has never given me reason to doubt him before. If nothing else, Ozzie can file this away in that mental bank of snubs and disrespect that he seems to thrive off of in pressure situations. And as a Wings fan, nothing brings a smile to my face better than the though of a riled-up Chris Osgood dead set on proving his critics wrong.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure everyone else on the Wings roster is going to be in Vancouver for the Olympics. A lot of people seem to be saying that that’s a bad thing for their Stanley Cup chances, but clearly those people don’t remember 2002. Granted, there weren’t quite as many Wings in that tournament (based on my assumptions for this year) but these guys are pros and they’ll do what they need to do to get ready for the playoffs. I hope.