Luke Glendening: Red Wings 'want to finish,' but plenty of uncertainty remains with NHL season
Detroit —The questions from teammates keep coming, but Luke Glendening doesn’t have all the answers.
Along with being a key part of the lineup and being a Red Wings’ alternate captain, Glendening is the team’s NHL Players Association player representative.
So Glendening has been a go-to guy for details during this coronavirus pandemic.
But as teammates ask about a possible resumption of the season, and when, and how it will be done, Glendening can only help so much.
There are more questions than answers at this time.
“A lot of guys are wondering, but there’s so much uncertainty and nobody has the answers that you want,” Glendening said, referring to a possible completion to the Wings season. “You watch or read the news every day and it seems like the guidelines are changing, and all they (officials) know is changing. So there’s so much uncertainty.
“But it makes it more difficult when you don’t know, or how long we’re going to be in lockdown.”
The NHL hit the pause button on its season March 12. The Wings, who were scheduled to play in Washington that night, had 11 games left on what’s been a difficult regular season
But Glendening and his teammates would love to finish the schedule — if it’s safe and possible.
“For sure, guys want to finish,” Glendening said. “But the hardest thing is how we are going to make it work. Can we do it in a way that makes sense for health issues? But also whether it makes sense in terms of scheduling, so there are many intangibles that have to be figured out. How far can you push it (this season), but at some point you want to save the integrity of next year, too.
“But I can tell you guys are chomping at the bit to play.”
Health and safety concerns will be crucial, said Glendening, along with lead time to play.
Given the fact players already have been off the ice for more than a month, with no end in sight, there would need to be an extensive training camp.
“You’ll have to retrain your entire system to skate again,” Glendening said. “Guys have not been able to skate for what would be eight or nine weeks, maybe. That’s another thing guys have talked about. If we do come back, what is it going to look like in terms of (a training camp).”
Resuming the season also could help fans with getting their minds off all that is happening around them.
"Sports gives people something to cheer for and get their minds off things that are going on," Glendening said.
About half of the roster is still in the Detroit area, Glendening said, while others have left for their offseason homes.
The Wings haven’t entered the Zoom craze, Glendening said, as many corporations have, but there are group chats.
“We talk on the chat, but there’s been nothing too crazy,” Glendening said. “It’s been good to keep everyone in the loop and check in on each other. It’s been a difficult time for everybody, and one of the coolest parts about hockey is the family atmosphere and the camaraderie you have playing an 82-game season with the guys.”
Staying in shape while being in self-quarantine continues to be a tricky situation for Glendening and all professional athletes.
The inability to skate is huge, but Glendening said players are trying to make the best of the situation.
“Whether it’s some gym work or biking or running, you’re trying to do something, because it’s good for the mental health as well,” Glendening said. “But it is difficult. When you come back for training camp, you’ve been skating leading into it.”
Glendening sometimes goes back to March 12, when the Wings were scheduled to play in Washington, and thinking play would be suspended for a couple weeks.
“Now we’re sitting at five weeks,” Glendening said. “I figured we’d be playing by now. But after I got home and dug in and studied it, I knew it wouldn’t be a week or two and we’d be digging in for the long haul.
“Now it’s been five weeks and we’re no closer to seeing where the end is to this.”
Through all that is happening, Glendening is keeping everything in perspective as to what it is going on around him and how hockey fits in to the current world.
There are more important matters than NHL hockey.
“It’s hard to think about hockey when you see what is going on,” Glendening said. “Hockey brings people together and it’s something we like to do. But you see the people struggling so bad with this, and you’re thinking about the people on the front lines, the workers stepping into a battlefield every day, it’s real hard to think about hockey.”