Friday night fizzle
No repeat celebrations in Harbour Grace, but folks are still proud of Cleary
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.”