Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Cleary scratched as Detroit Red Wings dig deep for answers


Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings had to shakeup their plans and their roster to make room for Dan Cleary when he suddenly decided that he wanted to remain in the Motown this summer. General manager Ken Holland found a way to make it work, and head coach Mike Babcock got one of his favorite players back into the lineup for the 2013-14 NHL season.

That last-minute sit down must feel like a different lifetime for Cleary, Babcock and the rest of the Red Wings organization. The veteran forward has one goal through 18 games so far this season and has seen looks with top-six forwards such as Daniel Alfredsson. Nothing has kick started the slumping Cleary though, and Babcock has seen enough for now.

When Detroit takes on the Winnipeg Jets tonight, it’ll be without Cleary in the lineup.

He skated on a line with similarly scratched Patrick Eaves and the recently waived Jordin Tootoo at practice this morning. Probably not what the forward had envisioned when he inked a one-year deal to stick around in Detroit.

Babcock had some very pointed words about the scratching for the official site of the Red Wings:

My job each and every day is to put the best 20 guys in the lineup that I think can help us win today. I’ve been with Clears for nine years, I know him well. There’s no one who’s a bigger fan of Dan Cleary than Mike Babcock. I imagine he’s very pissed off today and I don’t know what you want me to do about it.

Meanwhile, Johan Franzen will step back into the lineup and play on the second line alongside Alfredsson and Darren Helm. It’ll be interesting to see how this 9-5-4 Wings club responds to seeing a regular like Cleary sitting up in the press box because of his poor offensive play.

Tags: Dan Cleary Detroit Red Wings NHL