DETROIT — Daniel Cleary appears he’ll be a healthy scratch Tuesday, skating along with Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo at practice.
“We’ll see,” Cleary said. “I don’t know. I just have to play better. It’s the ebbs and flows of hockey. The only thing you can control know is your attitude and work ethic. I have to play better and I have to produce more.”
Cleary has a goal and two assists in 18 games.
“The bottom line is we have a lot of guys offensively have been challenged to score,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock. “Is that a lack of confidence, is that a lack of opportunity, I don’t know what the answer is to that. I just know each and every day as a coaching staff we go through the previous game and we look at what we did and we try and dress the best lineup that’ll help us win. Sometimes you never know for sure. You dress a lineup and watch them play. You base it on facts and that’s what we try to do.”
Babcock would not say whether or not Cleary would sit against the Jets.
“For a guy of his hockey sense and his ability he’s got to be a factor every night and I don’t see that,” Babcock said.
Cleary reached a deal with the Wings a day into training camp after turning down a professional tryout by the Philadelphia Flyers.
“You have to be able to bring different things to the table, try and focus and play well defensively,” said Cleary, who got a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. “I believe that’s the key to creating offense anyway.”
Cleary, 34, reportedly was offered a three-year deal worth $2.75 million a season to join the Flyers but he shot down a report on his first day at camp.
When Cleary rejected the Wings’ two- and three-year offers prior to the opening of free agency they moved on and signed Daniel Alfredsson (one year, $5.5 million) and Stephen Weiss (five years, $24.5 million).
“Hockey is such a game of confidence,” Cleary said. “I just have to stay positive and work hard. Hockey changes so fast. One day you’re feeling great and the next day you’re not feeling so great. You have to be positive, be professional and work hard. There’s a lot of hockey left here in the season.
“Adversity is nothing new to me,” Cleary continued. “I’m not really thinking a lot of about it actually.”