Denial, Despair and Danny Fucking Cleary

 
On September 4th, 2015, a day which will live in infamy – the Detroit Red Wings made the astronomically ridiculous decision to sign a near 37 year old man with one functioning leg to a $950,000 one-way contract. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland did this willfully, maliciously and with full knowledge of the disastrous psychological consequences this action would have for the faithful fans of Hockeytown. In an effort to mitigate the mental and emotional trauma caused by this event, IcePuckChic has collaborated with renowned Hockey Psychologist Haken Getspaidalotson to bring you “The Five Stages of Grieving: Dan Cleary Edition.” Based loosely on the Kubler-Ross model, this information is intended to provide Wings fans with a way to process the feelings of anger, betrayal and gobsmacked bewilderment the Cleary signing has created. It is important to remember that every person processes traumatic experiences differently and that these stages are simply a guideline. If you’d prefer to skip the stages of grief to progress directly to mailing Ken Holland dead rodents and your Heroes of Hockeytown Suite renewal agreement – no one except the United States Postal Service can stop you.

 

Stage 1: Shock and Denial

ClearyShockedDo you remember where you were the exact moment you heard that the Wings had re-signed Dan Cleary? No – that’s okay, that’s probably just the malt liquor you’ve been drinking for four days working its magic. When you finally do sober up, you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful franchise.” And you may ask yourself, “my God, what has Ken done?” Wait, where was I? Right denial; upon learning of the Cleary signing it is completely normal to react with stunned disbelief. After all, it makes absolutely no sense for the Wings to sign Cleary and there’s a very good chance you’ve already been working hard to forget the past four years of the Dan Cleary era. Finally, you may even find yourself refusing to accept that Cleary is still on the team; preferring to remember him as the scrappy third-line winger who brought Stanley back to Hockeytown and not as the greedy has-been who’s going to be directly responsible for stalling Teemu Pulkkinen’s career. This is not only normal; it’s actually our suggested method of explaining Red Wings history to future generations.

 

Stage 2: Anger and Pain

Cleary Pain SmallOkay, you’ve been released from the drunk tank, picked up your mother’s car from the impound yard and now you realize that you’re so angry you want to lay a massive Cleveland steamer on Ken Holland’s front porch. What next? First and foremost you’ll need some way to transport the feces to the GM’s doorstep as it’s surprisingly difficult to pinch off a humungous shit outside in suburban Detroit. Wait, I’m being told to drop this topic immediately by our legal department because everything I’m about to say is apparently “illegal.” Some free country, right folks? Anyways, as I was saying – it is completely normal to want to repeatedly punch a baby seal in the nude when you hear about the Dan Cleary resigning. It is however not rational because none of this is the baby seal’s fault and it’s actually extremely difficult to break into the Arctic Circle of Life exhibit at the Detroit Zoo. It would be better instead to direct your anger where it belongs and punch Dan Cleary. Wait, apparently that is illegal too. Fuck it; let’s move on to the next section.

 

Stage 3: Pleading and Bargaining

Clearly PrayingLook, let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment here folks – the Dan Clearly signing has already happened and despite all of our prayers, pleadings and blood sacrifice offerings, God has pretty much abandoned us. That’s why I’ve been focusing on black magic and rebuilding a Delorean into a time machine. We are not going to take this fucking Dan Cleary thing lying down and if I have to steal plutonium from terrorists or offer up an innocent soul to the Hosts of Chronos to get this contract off the books, well by Sawchuck, I’ll do it! This reminds me, none of you reading this would happen to be in the market for a Daniel Alfredsson Winter Classic jersey and possessed of an innocent soul would you? No reason for asking really, just curious. Hey, forget I mentioned it and let’s just move on to the next section shall we?

 

Stage 4: Depression and Guilt

ClearyGuiltySo you’ve run out of alcohol, you can’t punch your garage door anymore because the wife is sick of the neighbors calling the police about the noise and the plutonium you purchased turned out to be complete schwag. You’d like to take the matter up with the men who sold you the fissionable material but they have really big guns and will definitely fucking kill you. At this point, you’re probably starting to feel like a powerless cog in some mad billionaire’s sick scheme to hold an entire city hostage until it gives him an overpriced hockey arena. This feeling is both completely normal and an accurate representation of your position in Red Wings nation. Sit down, shut up and have another stale, overpriced beer while the team teaches you to say “fuck no, I don’t need lube” in god-being Nick Lidstrom’s native Swedish tongue. The Red Wings would also like to remind fans that if they are going to commit suicide this season, they should arrange for a family member to renew their season tickets for the 2016-17 campaign. This is extremely important so that people with the last name of Ilitch can continue to shit on Larry Aurie’s legacy in perpetuity.

Stage 5: Acquiescence and Acceptance

ClearyCelebratesYourPainOh fucking Christ on a crutch folks, he’s coming back. Sweet merciful God why? Why would Holland sign a guy who is both clearly no longer a useful hockey player and only still on the team because Mike Babcock values old dudes who fall down in the crease and take stupid penalties? This is the same Mike Babcock who just took the money and ran to a fucking division rival so he wouldn’t have to coach aging burnouts like – Dan Cleary! Does Cleary have pictures of Ken Holland fucking a live pig? A dead one? Regardless of whether he plays in Grand Rapids or Detroit, wouldn’t Cleary’s playing time be better spent on developing players like Jurco, Pulkkinen, Mantha or Larkin? How the fuck is it legal for Ken Holland to promise Dan Cleary three separate one year contracts under the current CBA? Doesn’t Cleary realize he’s actively hurting the organization by signing this contract? Does he have no shame? You know what – fuck this. Fuck Ken Holland and Dan Cleary and Mike Ilitch and the Detroit Red Wings and Mike Babcock and fuck the Detroit Zoo for calling the cops on me when all I wanted to do was punch a juvenile phoca vitulina to forget about my troubles for one goddamn minute! Excuse me while I go cry into a gas rag – you people can deal with this shit on your own.

  • Nina Illingworth