Fri­day night fiz­zle

No re­peat cel­e­bra­tions in Har­bour Grace, but folks are still proud of Cleary

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY KENN OLIVER

As the sec­onds ticked down in Game 7 of this year’s Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal, the five dozen or so fans in­side the mul­ti­pur­pose room at S.W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace be­gan to re­al­ize their man Dan wouldn’t be bring­ing the cup home this sum­mer.

River­head, Har­bour Grace na­tive Dan Cleary and the Detroit Red Wings fell just short of cap­tur­ing their sec­ond cup in as many years with a rare Joe Louis Arena loss, 2-1, to the Pittsburgh Pen­guins Fri­day night, June 12.

Re­ac­tion from the Cleary and Wings sup­port­ers on hand was mixed.

“ I’m dis­ap­pointed, I thought they could win it,” said Har­bour Grace mayor Don Coombs. “I didn’t be­lieve Pittsburgh had a team to win.”

Don Reg­u­lar was bummed about the re­sult, but found sil­ver lin­ing in the home­town hero’s play­off per­for­mance.

“ We’re very pleased and de­lighted to see he did as well as he did all through it. His plus/ mi­nus was won­der­ful, his goals and as­sists were too,” he said.

“ Danny played well per­son­ally and that’s what the peo­ple of this area were looking for. We’re proud of him.”

Not every­one on hand was lo­cal, St. John’s res­i­dent Rick Ma­her and his wife Linda, who sheep­ishly ad­mit­ted to be­ing a Pittsburgh fan, were on their fourth trip to the Har­bour Grace sta­dium to take in a game on the 12-foot pro­jec­tion screen. Ma­her, a life­long Red Wings fan who idol­ized Gordie Howe in his street hockey hey­day, watched the 2008 Game 5 triple over­time thriller - “ we shared a great night with the premier and Min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy,” he re­counted - and the cup clinch­ing Game 6.

He was back in Har­bour Grace for this year’s Game 6 and made the trip Fri­day evening in full Red Wings re­galia.

“ Danny Cleary is a New­found­lan­der, a hard worker and one of the key player’s in Detroit’s suc­cess in the play­offs. If he keeps work­ing hard, he’ll make a break or two.”

Mary Shute, who has fol­lowed Danny Cleary from his mi­nor hockey days all the way to his NHL ca­reer, wasn’t dis­ap­pointed as she had “ men­tally pre­pared for this.”

“ I re­ally wanted Cleary to win, but it’s like Danny said ear­lier last week, when you shut down a team, you shut down some­one’s dream,” she said.“ Tonight, Crosby and the Pittsburgh Pen­guins had their dream ful­filled, just as we did last year.

“ We’re still proud as pea­cocks of Cleary and the Wings.”

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