Originally written on Nightmare on Helm Street  |  Last updated 3/12/12

DALLAS - MAY 14: Dan Cleary #11 of the Detroit Red Wings skates for the puck against Sergei Zubov #56 of the Dallas Stars during game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 14, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dan Cleary had his knee drained for the fourth time yesterday.

The dude has issues.  I think someone recently noted how...not like himself Dan has been looking lately.  It's because he's basically been playing on one leg.  Where high profile guys like Lidstrom and Datsyuk are shelved due to injury - it's the depth guys that are asked to step up in the face of adversity.  And I doubt anyone is stepping up more through pain than our favorite Newfie, Danny Cleary.

"It's been sore. Is it getting better? I don't know. We'll see. It's been touch and go. It'll be fixed at the end of the year, let's put it that way." --Danny Cleary

Cleary has already taken a cortisone shot to the knee with little or no improvement.

Make the jump for more.

The balancing act of skipping practice to heal, yet maintaining the physical condition needed to play at an NHL level is nearly impossible.  But that is exactly the challenge that #11 has been facing as of late.  Off-season surgery seems inevitable...but Cleary is determined to fight through it for as long as it lasts.

"I'm trying to manage it the best I can here until we get to the playoffs, and then do what I can." --Danny Cleary

Coach Babcock is looking at Gustav Nyqvist as a possible replacement for Cleary as one of Detroit's "Black Aces" come play-off time.  Nyqvist leads the Grand Rapids Griffins with 20 goals and 55 points in 54 AHL games this season.



"He's been a dominant player as a rookie in the minors. Most teams would have that guy on their team already. We're going to go the other way. If he's ready, he'll show he's ready with his confidence in his puck play." --Mike Babcock

Nyqvist has been in seven games with the big club and has registered three assists.  Given the recent injury woes, it will be harder and harder for the Wings to hold him back much longer.  The seven games that he did play, he was with fellow young'ns on the fourth line.  I'd be interested to see what he could do with the third or even second line guys.

In the meantime, let's hope Danny Cleary keeps fighting the good fight and doesn't push himself to the point of permanent damage.  He may not be playing like the Dan Cleary of old - but you can't question his dedication to this team.
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