Agree with dyanetti; the two end tabs in step 32-33 are not intended to be bent. Should release all four of the clips on the sides of the plate first, then it will rotate up and the end pins will just slide out (and in when reversing the process for reassembly).
If you take the top off the dvd drive, these tabs are easy to unlatch from the other side.
May need an additional step when replacing with a new laser sled assembly: The new one will have a solder blob across two signals for esd protection; this must be removed after the new laser is installed, otherwise it will be completely unable to read the disk.
It's important not to scratch this rod with the pliers. I would use fingertips or plastic tweezers for this step, or wrap the needlenose pliers with tape first.