Detroit’s Cleary says odds of work stoppage are “50-50”

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With just weeks until the expiration of the current CBA, Dan Cleary delivered a harsh reality on the possibility of a lockout.

“I would say it’s 50-50,” Cleary told the Detroit News. “We’ll see. I was optimistic when we gave them our offer, but the league didn’t respond to it [favorably].

“The game has never been better. The parity is obvious, there are probably 18 teams who have a chance to win [the Stanley Cup]. Revenues are growing. Everyone would like to see the season started on time.”

Cleary, 33, isn’t on the NHLPA’s Negotiating Committee — Henrik Zetterberg is Detroit’s rep — but he has been active in meetings and labor talks thus far.

“It’s important to have veteran presence there, and to represent Detroit,” he told USA Today. “It’s not too far to go, either; the meetings are usually either in New York or Toronto.”

If anybody knows the harsh realities of what a lockout can cause, it’s Cleary. The 13th overall pick in 1997, Cleary struggled to find his niche in Chicago, Edmonton and Phoenix and after the 2004-05 season was lost, he found himself without a team, forced to make the Wings on a training camp tryout before signing a one-year deal.