Luke Glendening emotional about return to Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Free Press

Luke Glendening has gotten used to seeing more green, but seeing red still makes his heart swell.

The former Detroit Red Wings forward and alternate captain had lots of ticket requests ahead of his Friday appearance at Little Caesars Arena. He already had faced the Wings earlier in the season, but that was in Dallas. 

Playing in Detroit was much harder because it was home for eight seasons before leaving as a free agent last summer.

“It was definitely hard to say goodbye,” Glendening said Friday. “I made a ton of friends that will be friends for a lifetime in Detroit. It’s been a great experience in Dallas, but it’s always hard to say goodbye to a team and an organization that’s been so good to me. They always took care of me. I have so much respect for the organization. But it’s been a neat opportunity and been fun to be in Dallas.”

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Glendening, from Grand Rapids, compiled 126 points in 554 games with the Wings. He joined the organization as a free agent after a successful walk-on career at Michigan. Known for his faceoff prowess, strong skating and sound defense, Glendening became a stalwart presence and a leader in the locker room.

“He’s a winning hockey player,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “He does all the little thing it takes to win games, starting with winning puck battles and that starts with faceoffs. He wins 60% of them, which is more than most in the league. Very good defensively. Probably doesn’t get enough credit in terms of what he creates offensively on the forecheck and at the net. To me, he is a guy that can help teams win, and I think any coach that has coached him has loved him for that reason.”

It was Glendening’s lack of offense that prompted general manager Steve Yzerman to look elsewhere for grinding centers, opting instead to bring in Carter Rowney (one year, $825,000) and Mitchell Stephens (one year, $737,500).

Glendening, 32, got two years, $3 million from the Stars.

“I loved the organization, but it felt like it was time to do something different,” Glendening said. “It’s been a good change for me.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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