Tag Archives: DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

Wings seek solutions to Daniel Cleary’s scoring slump

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is doing everything he can to try and get Daniel Cleary out of his offensive slump.

Babcock has sat Cleary as a healthy scratch and then promoted him to play alongside Pavel Datsyuk a few games later.

Nothing has seemed to work.

“You just have to be good defensively, do the little things and always believe your game will come out of it,” Cleary said. “Being a professional, you have to mentally be strong and sometimes you go through stretches where … it’s one thing if the team is winning but we haven’t been winning.”

Cleary has just one goal and two assists in 24 games this season.

“Just like you, not enough,” Babcock said when asked what he was seeing out of Cleary. “The bottom line is confidence is a tough thing in the league.”

Cleary has not scored in 18 straight games.

Last Saturday, Babcock added Cleary to a line with Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

“It’s like winning the lottery,” Babcock said of anyone skating on a line with Datsyuk.

As the game progressed Cleary saw his ice time decrease ending with him playing just one shift in the third period of the Wings’ 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators.

“We’re hoping ideally that playing with Pav might help him,” Babcock said before the game. “Pav’s a pretty good player and yet we need Pav to be going big-time for us to have success and helping him in some ways is probably more important than helping Cleary. That’s our thought process right now.”

Babcock, whose squad is 2-3-5 over its last 10 games, said afterwards that it wasn’t a benching, he just wanted to see Justin Abdelkader inserted there “for a different look.”

On Sunday, Cleary played his fewest shifts of the season, 14, and registered no shots on goal in just over 11 minutes of ice time.

“It’s in the middle,” Cleary said when asked where his confidence level was. “We’ve all been through it. You have to stay positive, have to stay confident. That’s the only way to get through it.”

Cleary reached a deal with the Wings a day into training camp after turning down a professional tryout by the Philadelphia Flyers, getting one year at $1.75 million.

Cleary, 34, reportedly was offered a three-year deal worth $2.75 million a season to join the Flyers but he shot down the 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).

“You can’t meet with him every day,” Babcock said. “You can talk to them about their kids every day. You can see them at the coffee pot. You can’t talk to them about hockey every day, they’d quit hockey.”


Wings feel four-game Western Canada road trip could not have come at a better time

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock knows the importance of his team’s pending four-game trip to Western Canada.

“Have you ever heard that joke, if you can’t win at home you’ve got to go on the road and if can’t win on the road you’ve got to find somewhere else to play,” Babcock said after practice.

The Wings’ road trip begins Wednesday night in Vancouver and concludes Monday in Winnipeg. They’re winless in their last four games, going 0-2-2, scoring just five goals over that stretch.

“It’s a huge trip for us,” Daniel Cleary said. “We’ve got to get back to playing the way we’re supposed to play and capable of playing.”

Detroit began the season 6-2-0.

“I think sometimes you simplify your game on the road,” Cleary said. “You play a strong game, good defensively, just play a smart game. That’s what we need to do. We need to get a lot better defensively. Once we do that, grind out some low scoring games then the offense will come.”

The Wings have been outshot in eight of their first 12 games this season and have given up an average of 32.4 shot per game.

“Adversity is nothing new to NHL players and teams,” Cleary said. “Listen, we’re 6-4-2 and we haven’t played well. We have to get better in every area of the game and that’s just it.”

The road trip, which also stops in Calgary Friday and Edmonton Saturday, is something players feel will pull the team together.

“Right now home hasn’t been treating us that well,” Jimmy Howard said. “Hopefully, getting out of here, getting on the road, doing some dinners together with the guys will help put these past few games behind us.”

The Wings are 3-2-0 on the road this season.

“We’re going to enjoy it, play some good hockey and get some wins,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Everything that happens just happens and you have to deal with it. There’s no big panic button that is pushed, but we know we got to play better. The only thing we can do is to go out and play good hockey.

“It doesn’t matter what we say, it doesn’t matter how many meetings we have, it doesn’t matter what we’re telling the other guys to do, everyone has to look at themselves and go in and do a better job,” Zetterberg continued. “If we do that we’ll come together and play better hockey as a team.”

Detroit heads into play Tuesday night fifth in the Atlantic Division.

“Frustration is something that you’re just wasting your energy being,” Niklas Kronwall said. “At the same time everyone in here thinks we’re a hell of a lot better team than what we’re showing right now. We want to get back on track and get back to playing some good hockey. We know it’s in here, now we have to show it.”

The Wings have also had issues with turnovers registering 116 giveaways through 12 games.

“A good road trip is never bad,” Kronwall said. “We’re looking at this as getting back to playing the way that we can and play like we know how to play. We know how to play out there we’re just not showing it out there.

“I don’t think there’s any point in time where it’s like, ‘Get those guys off ice,’’ Kronwall added. “No question about it. That’s not how we work. You win as a team, you lose a team. We’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole and the only way to get out of it is to have all the guys pull together and get going in the right direction. That’s how we’re going to solve this one.”