Despite all the talk about Zetterberg, Ericsson, and Conklin struggling this year, to me one player has stood out as being especially terrible: Dan Cleary. He’s been on the top two lines for the entire first two months of the season and had a paltry six points going into Saturday’s game. He’s a team worst -3 and has what appears to my eyes to be million turnovers. He’s looked behind this entire time, confused, and just plain bad. I truly believe that he’s kept Datsyuk down.
I’m not all down on Dan, make the jump for the rest.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Cleary. His hard working, grinding, never give up attitude is exactly what the Wings need. Plus, he can step in as a scorer, which is a great ability to have.
But while he can step in as a scorer, that doesn’t mean he should. He’s a grinder, a hard working 3rd liner. He’s not pretty, he’s not that creative. He can’t keep up with the Datsyuk and Zetterbergs of the world. Bertuzzi and Filppula know how to, but Cleary doesn’t think like that. When he tries to be something he’s not, that’s when he’s going to struggle.
I loved the third line on Saturday. Cleary, Helm, and Eaves are all hard working grinders who can occasionally put the puck in the net. This was the first time I saw the Dan Cleary we all knew from the past few years. He looked confident, strong and effective. The line buzzed all night and
It’s a damn shame that Eaves was hurt, but I think Brunnstrom would fit well into his place. Emmerton doesn’t bring the same offensive touch that we need in a third liner. But all I know is that I hope the idea for the lines stays the same. Cleary is a third liner and it needs to stay that way until absolutely necessary.