Tag Archives: johan franzen

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock all but comes out and says what’s missing from Johan Franzen’s game of late.

“I think (Justin) Abdelkader’s our biggest … because he’s tenacious and hard. Your bigger people that have that ability … I watch (the New York Islanders’ Anders) Lee, he’s at the net all the time, so that frees up other people. To me you need guys like that. (Darren) Helm’s done a nice job like that. Abdelkader’s done a nice job like that. Jurco’s trying to do a job like that. The more of those people you have that can play heavy the better opportunity you have to spend time in your zone.”

Franzen has been battling an illness for a few weeks; he hasn’t scored since Nov. 20 and it a team-worse minus-9

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

Johan Franzen (illness) and Stephen Weiss (shoulder) both took part in a full practice.

Franzen hopes to return to the lineup Friday against the New York Islanders after missing Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Weiss, who separated his shoulder on Dec. 12, is shooting to return Sunday at home against the Colorado Avalanche.

For Franzen, he’s been battling an illness for a number of weeks.

“I’ve been under the weather for three weeks or so I think my body shut down for a few days,” said Franzen, who didn’t feat he had the mumps. “I’ve just been battling flus, stomach flus, regular flus, for the last few weeks. I just haven’t been able to get healthy.

“Beginning of this week I just felt really, really awful, like no energy, nothing,” Franzen added. “I figured I needed a couple days just to get healthy. I think it’s run its course.”

Franzen said they ran tests on him Wednesday and found no mumps virus, which has hit the NHL hard this season.

“I’ve been battling stuff the last few weeks, enough was enough,” Franzen said. “I just needed to get rid of it. Sunday I got really, really sick. Tuesday I tried to skate in the morning skate and I was really shaky. I just was running on empty.”

That illness could have affected how Franzen performed on the ice.

He hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 20 and is a team-worse minus-9.

“No,” Franzen said when asked if he was frustrated he wasn’t scoring much.

“Not really, mostly in the corners, passing pucks,” Franzen added when asked if he felt he was creating chances.

Asked if it was important for him to go into the short Christmas break on a strong note Franzen said, “I hope we win the last three games. That would be nice. If we win three games I’m happy, it’s a good Christmas gift.”

Franzen has never finished a season with a minus.

“We need him playing hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Everybody on the team, if your work doesn’t come before your skill you got no chance to be any good, period. So if you’re not a worker, no chance in today’s NHL, period. That’s why you look through it and see the teams. You’ve got to skate and you’ve got to work and if you can’t you’ve got to have people around you that flat-out can. But you can only have one guy per line max that doesn’t really haul.”

Tatar: Wings need to battle hard against Florida, not like how little they battled in last meeting

DETROIT >> The Wings all know too well what kind of problems this Florida Panthers team pose.

All they have to do is look back at the last meeting this season.

The Panthers beat the Wings, 4-3, to snap Detroit’s four-game winning streak.

“They just play hard,” Johan Franzen said. “They protect the net pretty good. It was tough to get in there. We had a pretty bad start I think against them. Hopefully we can learn something from that.”

The loss to Florida was just Detroit’s first loss in regulation in the last nine games.

“I feel if we play like (Wednesday) we will beat them,” Tomas Tatar said. “They battle hard. Like the games we play against them we don’t want to battle hard. This is the NHL, things are so tight right now. You’re not good enough with just skill, you have to battle hard to help your skill. We need to want to win more than they do and we can get two points.”

The Panthers sit 11 points behind the Wings in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

Franzen skates with team, but still not close to returning to lineup

DETROIT >> Johan Franzen participated in practice for the first time since injuring his groin on Oct. 17 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It wasn’t great, but it was a first time skating with the team so that’s a good thing,” Franzen said. “I felt pretty good. I’m going to skate again tomorrow.”

Franzen will make the trip to Washington and take part in the morning skate.

“I’ve just been trying (to skate on my own), cruising around in shorts, seeing if it’s still there,” Franzen said. “Today was a step forward.

“I tried a few strides at 100 percent or close to it,” Franzen continued. “It didn’t feel great doing that so I backed off. I’m going to start a little slower.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he expected Franzen back in a couple days, but the forward was less optimistic.

“The big thing is anytime you’ve been out, and I say this all the time, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s tough getting back in,” Babcock said. “The Mule has trained like crazy. But when you get back in your fitness isn’t the same and there isn’t anything you can do about that. It was good to see him out there today.”

Franzen has two goals and three assists in four games this season.

“I was feeling great,” Franzen said. “I’ve never had a groin issue before. I don’t know if it happened after I fell after that goal or what. I never really noticed it happened, but yeah it sucks. I’ve got to skate a little more and see where I’m at.”

Wings staying hitched to the Mule

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings know what they have in Johan Franzen and they’re not willing to part with what’s already been invested in him.

“I just think Mule has been a streaky scorer,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “When he gets into a groove, he rides the wave. When it’s not going, it’s not going in.”

It wasn’t going for Franzen over the last part of the regular season and five playoff games the Wings played.

After a stretch of six goals over four games from late February to early March, Franzen had just one goal over the final 18 games of the regular season and none in the postseason.

“He had 16 goals in 54 games,” Holland said. “I know he didn’t score down the stretch, he didn’t score in the playoffs. We had a lot of guys that didn’t score in the playoffs. I look around the league and I kind of hear this talk about players in other teams a year ago and this year those players are scoring. It’s a hard league every year to score come playoff time.”

“Mule’s a big body,” Holland continued. “Coming out of the Olympic break, he was on a hot streak and I think that hot streak is part of the reason why we were able to play our way into the (playoffs). To go on the open market, I think there’s this perception that July 1 free agents, there’s this hockey store, there’s this fantasy hockey league that I’m running, they’re playing in, where you can go get superstars. Those days are over.”

Franzen, who still has six years left on a deal that has an average annual salary cap hit of just under $4 million, had just two assists in the five-game series with the Boston Bruins and 14 shots on goal.

In his last 23 games, playoffs and regular season, he had one goal, eight assists and a minus-8 rating. In the previous 23 games, he had 13 goals, 16 assists and a plus-14.

“It’s hard league to score,” Holland said. “You score 20-25 goals now, it’s a lot of goals. Other than superstars, we don’t have 60-goal scorers anymore. I don’t even know 50, but obviously (Alex) Ovechkin. What we need, we need six or seven or eight guys that score 25. Mule is a guy that has the potential to score 25. We need more players that can score 25. I think that’s the way to be successful.

“Mule can score 20 goals,” Holland added. “We need more Mules. We need more players who can score 20 goals. If you had nine forwards who could score 20 goals, you could go into a playoff series, you’re not sure who’s going to score. But you feel you’re going to score because you’ve got lots of people who have scored over the course of the year.”

In Franzen’s last 32 playoff games since the start of 2011, he has seven goals (one game winner), five assists and a minus-11.

In his previous 51 playoff games from 2008-2010, he had 31 goals (nine game winners), 28 assists and a plus-29.

“I like Mule,” Holland said. “When he gets on a roll, he can carry a team. He’s a streaky scorer. We’ve had other streaky scorers. We’ve had streaky scorers here that are in the Hall of Fame that I’ve gone to Toronto for a Hall of Fame ceremony. This is a league where there’s 30 teams and most of them think they’re going to be a playoff team as we head into this offseason. I don’t have any plans to buy Mule out. I don’t know where you go replace these people.”

Perhaps the best example of how streaky of a goal scorer Franzen is game in the 2010-11 season. After a five-goal game against Ottawa, he went on a 14-game goalless drought and ended the regular season with just two goals over his last 27 games.

“You don’t really go into a game, ‘Oh, I’ve got to score, I’ve got to score,’” Franzen said after the Wings lost in Game 5 to the Bruins. “You go out there and try to do your job. I always want to play defense first and make sure I don’t (make) any mistakes in my own end and try to help out the D. When the goals are coming, they’re coming. You get confidence and it’s easy to score. You can only go out there and do your best and try to battle as hard as you can.”

Tootoo a possible amnesty buyout for Wings … not Frazen

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings have one amnesty buyout left before it expires and they just may use it this offseason.

But it won’t be on the player many feel they should be using it for … Johan Franzen.

If they do intend to us it, that player most likely will be Jordin Tootoo.

“Toots doesn’t want to be in the American (Hockey) League,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during the Wings’ locker cleanout at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. “We don’t want him to be in the American Hockey League.”

Holland said he has spoken with Tootoo’s agent, Kevin Epp, about that possibility.

“I think at the end of the day, there was a little bit of interest in Toots prior to the trade deadline,” Holland said. “Toots has done everything we could have asked of him in the AHL. He hasn’t complained. He’s been a good foot solider.”

Tootoo has one year left on a three-year deal worth $1.9 million. He would receive two-thirds of the deal (roughly $1.27 million) spread out over the next two seasons.

If the Wings choose that route to go with Tootoo they won’t suffer any cap penalties.

In two seasons with Detroit, Tootoo has played in 53 games with three goals and six assists and 83 penalty minutes.

He was assigned to Grand Rapids in mid-November after clearing waivers. He was recalled in March and played one more game in Detroit.

With the Griffins he has six goals and 12 assists in 51 games. He has appeared in one of their first round playoff games this season.

“I don’t know if we’re going to buy him out, but I don’t think it’s fair to Toots and from the business standpoint,” Holland said. “We don’t want Toots in the American Hockey League, so I’ve got to figure out a way to get Jordin Tootoo back to the National Hockey League.”

The Wings used the first of two cap compliance buyouts last season when they shed the contract of Carlo Colaiacovo, who had one year left on a $2.5 million a season deal.

As for Franzen, “I just think Mule, has been a streaky scorer,” Holland said. “When he gets into a groove, he rides the wave. When it’s not going in, it’s not going in. It’s a hard league to score in. You score 20-25 goals now, that’s a lot of goals. Other than superstars. We don’t have 60-goal scorers anymore. I don’t even know 50. Obviously (Alex) Ovechkin. What we need, we need six or seven or eight guys that score 25. Mule is a guy that has the potential to score 25.”

Wings not getting enough from their veteran players

DETROIT >> The Wings’ veterans have been pretty much silenced through the first three games of their Eastern Conference best-of-seven opening round series with the Boston Bruins.

“When I look at Pavel (Datsyuk), he’s playing against (David) Krejci and (Patrice) Bergeron, two world-class players,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We all know the situation with him, he’s doing what he can on … as healthy as he can, but we need more from everybody.

“I thought we played a good Game 1,” Babcock added. “They’ve responded since that time. We’ve had no push back if you look at the two games.”

Datsyuk and Luke Glendening have the Wings’ goals in the series.

Johan Franzen, Drew Miller and Darren Helm each have an assist.

That’s it point wise for the Wings this series.

“I was disappointed with tonight,” Babcock said. “I wasn’t as disappointed with our game in Boston, I knew they were going to push. But I was disappointed with tonight. We didn’t do a good enough job, whether that be as a coaching staff, we didn’t have them settled down enough, whether we didn’t have enough players digging in. When you go through the whole thing, hard to find guys out there.”

Detroit has been outscored 7-1 since winning the opener 1-0.

“I don’t know about embarrassed, it’s sport, you make mistakes,” Babcock said. “We’ve got to come in tomorrow … I didn’t talk to them tonight after the game at all. We’ll come in tomorrow and get regrouped. We know we’re in a series. They just got the home ice back. We had three home games, we just gave away one. We’ve got to get back in it. But to me, I don’t think there’s ever anything wrong with losing when you maximize your group and did everything you could. That’s why that’s disappointing to me. We’ve been a way better team than that. That’s unacceptable. And that’s not taking away anything from the Bruins.”

The Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s overall this season, lost in last year’s Stanley Cup final after winning it two seasons ago.

Asked if experience is playing a role in series Babcock said. “I thought we looked like kids tonight for sure, no question about it.”