Daniel Cleary is struggling to produce points this season and in 18 games he has only been able to tally 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists).
During this time he has begun to fall out of favor with Mike Babcock, Cleary started the season on the third line with Joakim Andersson and Todd Bertuzi, but has seen some time on the second line.
Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Cleary was dropped down to the fourth line because of his play, but still saw time on the penalty kill and power play.
Tonight is a different story for Daniel Cleary, he will be riding the pine up in the Leino Lounge as Johan Franzen returns to the line-up.
This is a big drop for Cleary as he could have been on the first line next to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg if he had signed with the Red Wings a day earlier and joined Training Camp on time. This drop means that the Red Wings would prefer to have Luke Glendening in the line-up over Daniel Cleary.
Franzen could have moved into the center position on the second line, which would have forced Helm and Andersson to move down a line, but the Wings preferred to sit Cleary rather than make that move and that says something big about the way he has been playing.
There is no bigger fan of Cleary than Mike Babcock.
“There’s no one who’s a bigger fan of Dan Cleary than Mike Babcock” – Mike Babcock
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) November 12, 2013
But even Babcock knows that Cleary has not produced enough on the ice to keep his spot.
The pressure will be on players like Glendening, Tatar, and Miller to prove that they can produce and dropping Cleary from the line-up tonight was the best decision for the team.
This demotion will most likely not last longer for Cleary because he is a very good player. When Babcock sat Brendan Smith, it gave him a different view of the game and helped him understand what he needed to do to get back on the ice and that is what it will do for Cleary as well.