Yep. Cleary is one of Babcock's favorites, and Modano is not going to sit unless he wants to. Babs has never been a Huds fan, and the fourth line was playing well. So Hudler was doomed to sit with the line not meshing.
Oh, god. This is really bad, Eva. Modano was in because Babcock wanted him on the first PP unit while Rafalski was out, and Cleary was in because he brings more to the team than just scoring. This was made very clear several times by Ken and Mickey. Hudler was simply and very clearly the least useful player on a successful squad for some time. Babcock could have simply continued scratching him, but instead he sat other, more valuable players, gambling that he might be able to get Hudler moving on the scoresheet. Hudler being scratched never had anything to do with any imaginary dislike Babcock may have for him.
Yeah, it's ok for Franzen to be trying hard and not producing, but when it's Hudler trying hard and not producing much on the scoresheet it's "trade that little bastard!"
Must be a size thing.
Franzen has six goals and three assists. He's a +4. He's rightly seen as a scoring threat by the opposition. He is solid defensively, and he brings a good two-way game. He's tough to knock off the puck, and so he's valuable in a puck-possession system even when he's not directly contributing on the scoreboard. He's responsible and he rarely gives the puck away.
Hudler has three assists this season; all of them were on the power play, and on only one of them--his shot which Franzen redirected in last month's second game against Phoenix--was his effort very significant. He currently has the worst +/- on the team. His removal from the 3rd line--and his subsequent replacement by Abdelkader--helped ignite that line's scoring. He is poor defensively. He is easily knocked off the puck, and so has it taken away from him often. He's prone to irresponsible giveaways in both zones. He is, quite simply, a liability when he's not scoring.
The guy deserves some more time, but yeesh... he has been beyond awful. He can't handle the puck, he can't make a good pass, he never shoots, he gets knocked around, he turns the puck over... what happened to him?