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If I’m Dan Cleary…

“If I’m Dan Cleary, I worry about forecheck, penalty killing, getting to the net.  I don’t spend any time thinking about goal-scoring. You’d be amazed at how everything works out from there.” –Mike Babcock

That quote comes to us from Khan(!) this morning.  We know that everyone’s favorite Newfie is having some trouble producing this year…and hell, Chris is even digging on that.  Guys like Cleary and The Namesake may be off in the points department – but they are contributing almost everywhere else on the ice.

Forechecking, backchecking, penalty killing…these are figures that don’t often end up on the score sheet, but cannot be undervalued in terms of importance to a team.

And that’s what we should be focusing on…especially with the Mule producing every single game Datsyuk getting back on track.

Go ahead…make the jump…you know you want to.

“Everybody wants to produce, and when you’re not producing you start carrying the weight of the world on your back and it affects how you skate and how you play.” –Mike Babcock

It’s true, you know.  The more you struggle to score in hockey…the harder you try and the more frustrated you get when it doesn’t happen.  More often then not, it’s when you start doing the basics and wait for the opportunity to come to you, that you put the biscuit in the basket.  It hasn’t been happening for Cleary…and he knows it.  With Filppula sitting out against St. Louis, Cleary got a chance to play with Hank again…and registered an assist.

clearyandzata“Obviously, you want to play well. I’d like to play a lot better.  Anytime you play with Z, it’s a great opportunity. So you make sure you take advantage of it.  Just got to get back to having a clear mind and focus on a good forecheck and trying to get to the net. If you’re not playing the way you’re capable of, or scoring as much as you should be, you’ve got to focus on penalty killing, playing good defensively, being reliable.” –Danny Cleary

Looks like Charlie Buckets and the coach are on the same page, eh?  Cleary only has five goals and nine points on the season…but three of those nine points (33.333 – repeating, of course – percent) have come in the past five games.

So is Cleary getting back on the right track?  Or was he on it all along?

We’ll find out more tonight…maybe we’ll see a little more of this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=

KJpMCyf48r8[/youtube]

…or this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=

GfWqCUGb-hw[/youtube]

What?  You didn’t think I was going to post WITHOUT at least a little video hype…did you?

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