Red Wings’ Cleary expects lockout to last a while

DETROIT — Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary warned today that the lockout that is threatening the start of the NHL season might linger on and on.

“I think people don’t think it can go a year,” Cleary said after several Wings held an independent skate at Troy Sports Center. “As players, we think it can. Maybe longer.”

The NHL shuttered Sept. 16, when owners locked out players the day after the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the players’ association expired. The last time the league went into lockout mode, it wiped out the entire 2004-05 season. This time around, the trend among pundits has been predicting a 60-game season that will start around Thanksgiving. But that hope might be fading.

“Just trying to be realistic,” Cleary said. “I think the league is waiting for us to make the move, and we’re waiting for them to move. So someone has to move. And I don’t see it coming from our end. We’ve given them a couple of good options that they can work with, and they, obviously, feel it’s not good enough.

“We’re at a stalemate, I guess you can say. We’re stuck in the middle right now.”

The NHL already has canceled exhibition games through September and is likely to cancel October’s slate this week. The Wings are scheduled to start the 2012-13 season Oct. 16, but Cleary doesn’t see it happening.

“It’s not going to start on time,” he said. “No way.”

Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen were among the Wings who wore their regular team sweaters during the informal skate. Niklas Kronwall opted for a youth hockey sweater, while Drew Miller wore a Team USA sweater. So did Jonathan Ericsson, despite being Swedish. His sartorial choice prompted Franzen to yell out “traitor” at Ericsson, but Ericsson had good reason to choose a U.S. sweater. Seems he wasn’t allowed to take his Wings one with him when he left Joe Louis Arena on Sept. 14, though he was allowed to leave with his skates and sticks.

“We don’t have any jerseys,” Ericsson said. “They didn’t let us keep any jerseys.”

Ericsson joked that the guys who did have Wings jerseys on “must have stolen them. No, I’m just kidding. I don’t know how they got a hold of them, but I didn’t get one in my bag.

All of the veterans skating say they plan on doing so for the foreseeable future, as none is in a rush to go overseas to find a place to play. The only Wings to have done so at this point are Pavel Datsyuk, who went to Russia, and Valtteri Filppula, who went to Finland.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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