Cleary to be healthy scratch for Wings as Franzen returns versus Jets


Dan Cleary, the veteran winger who so badly wanted to remain a member of the Detroit Red Wings that he reportedly spurned a higher offer with more financial security from Philadelphia, will be a healthy scratch tonight at home versus Winnipeg.

It wasn’t an easy move to make for Wings coach Mike Babcock. The team comes first though, and Cleary’s one goal and two assists in 18 contests wasn’t enough to keep him in the lineup.

“My job each and every day is to put the best 20 guys in the lineup that I think can help us win today,’’ Babcock said, per “I’ve been with Clears for nine years, I know him well; there’s no one who’s a bigger fan of Dan Cleary than Mike Babcock.

“I imagine he’s very (ticked) off today and I don’t know what you want me to do about it.’’

As Cleary takes a seat, winger Johan Franzen, whose injury/ailment we’ve covered here and there on PHT, is expected to be back in the lineup tonight. He’ll reportedly skate on the second line with Darren Helm in the middle and Daniel Alfredsson on the right side. The top line will once again feature Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Todd Bertuzzi.

One final lineup note: center Stephen Weiss remains out with a groin injury that he hopes will be better by next week.

The Wings are winless in their last three games, including a 4-2 loss to the Jets in Winnipeg last Monday.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: