Cleary on fans: “I just hope they don’t vilify us”

16 Comments

Raising money for charity was a big part of Saturday’s “Rock Out the Lockout” event in Windsor, Ontario, but it didn’t stop players such as Danny Cleary from thinking about the work stoppage that inspired the name.

Cleary told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan that he’s concerned about fan apathy and anger amid all the discussions.

“I just hope they don’t vilify us,” Cleary said. “Everyone loves the game, we all love it the same.”

Fans indeed showed some love for the game – and charitable causes – as Khan estimates about 4,500 people showed up for the event.

It included 11 players from the Red Wings, yet Los Angeles Kings player Kevin Westgarth was the surprising star, scoring four goals as the White Team defeated the Black Team in a 17-11 track meet.

The best part of the evening probably came before the game, though, as the NHLPA presented a $10,000 check to SPARKLES From Above, which benefits childhood cancer patients.

That 17-11 score indicates that the defensive play and physicality would have made Jacques Lemaire’s stomach turn, but there was one hit in which Todd Bertuzzi claims he took a solid one from teammate Niklas Kronwall.

“I got Kronwalled, but I feel OK,” Bertuzzi said.

If all that charitable goodness doesn’t give you enough of a warm and fuzzy feeling, known Gary Bettman-basher Shawn Horcoff even showed some optimism about the lockout ending.

“I’m still confident we’re going to get a deal,” Horcoff said.

Sounds like a solid night in Windsor. For pictures from the event, check out the Windsor Star’s gallery.