Denny Doherty was born in 1940 (Halifax) and became famous as the tenor and lead vocalist on songs like “California Dreaming” and “Monday, Monday.” He also enjoyed all the trappings of pop success (including a one year affair with Phillips and a proposal of marriage from the other female band member, Cass Elliot) and in later years talked openly about just how crazy things got for the four members of the band in the 1960s.
If you want to find out more about the band (who were really only popular for a short while) a quick zip around the Al Gore will tell you all you want to know about use and abuse. I’m not going to bother here because Denny Doherty is long gone and that isn’t really the point of the story.
The point of the story is that talent, combined with overcoming obstacles, is compelling no matter the walk of life. Denny Doherty was a splendid singer, so good in fact he ranks with the best and unique Canadian pop vocalists of the era (Burton Cummings, Anne Murray, Alex Machin). He recovered from a crazy time in his life to enjoy life to the fullest (Denny Doherty was married for 20 years to Jeannette, who died in 1998), including being father to three children. My own children enjoyed Doherty’s talents as he was Harbour Master and the voice of the characters in Theodore Tugboat (a children’s TV show) for a time.
Daniel Cleary comes from about the same part of the world (born in Carbonear and raised in the Riverhead area of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland) and was also supremely talented. Despite being drafted in 1997, we were finding out about him in the winter of 1994 (when he was 16) as he began playing in the OHL (81 points in 62 games for Belleville). He was drafted by Chicago who hurried him into the lineup and mishandled him badly. Cleary was talented but also raw, and it took several years (and a trade to Edmonton) for him to establish himself at the NHL level with the Oilers.
Cleary was a productive player under rookie coach Craig MacTavish in 2000-01 and got a nice payday and a multi-year contract from the big club. By 2003 mid-season Fernando Pisani had taken his job and the Oilers bought out Cleary’s contract in the summer of 2003.
He was certainly at a crossroads and once again an organization with troubles of their own (the Coyotes) became a place to land for Cleary. Following the lockout, Phoenix didn’t offer a contract.
We know how the story turned out, but that period of his life couldn’t have been much fun. When the worst team on planet earth doesn’t want you it might be time to look at doing someting else. And yet…the guy had talent. No one ever denied it.
Cleary accepted a TC tryout from the Detroit Red Wings, and he worked like a bugger.
He made the team, scored 20 goals and found a home. One of the things good organizations do is put people in positions where they can succeed and Detroit certainly did it with Cleary. Credit to him for taking advantage of it, including another 20 goal season in 07-08.
Despite a broken jaw that forced him to miss 19 games this year and a slump or two along the way, Daniel Cleary was productive and a big part of the team’s success. On March 11, Cleary signed a 5 year contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings for $14 million. And he won the Stanley, the first person from his province to do so.
It’s a great story.