Tag Archives: johan franzen

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.”

Babcock juggles up his top three lines two days into preparing for series opener with Boston

DETROIT >> Just two days into Detroit’s preparation for its opening round series with the Boston Bruins, Wings coach Mike Babcock has already changed up his forward line combinations.

On Tuesday, Pavel Datsyuk centered Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader, while Tomas Jurco was on a line centered by Darren Helm along with Daniel Alfredsson.

On Wednesday, Nyquist was with Datsyuk and Abdelkader and Jurco was reunited with the Kid Line along with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.

“I think it’s helped even more that we’ve adjusted so well and we’ve done it together and we’ve relied on each other,” Sheahan said of the lines with his former Grand Rapids Griffins. “Obviously Tats and Nyqi and sometimes Tats and Jurcs, we have some good chemistry but I think it’s just working hard and that’s the biggest thing.”

Franzen, Helm and Alfredsson made up another line.

“There are a lot of things we’ve got to do,” Helm said. “They’re a really good team and we’ve got to be on top of our game, doing everything we can as well as we can. If we do that, then we’ve got a chance to be successful. If not, if we’re not driving to the net, forechecking hard, being in position, then it might be a short series.”

The fourth line of Luke Glendening centering David Legwand and Drew Miller remained the same.

Jurco back in lineup and inserted on top line alongside Legwand and Franzen

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings’ top line will have a different look to it tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

Wings coach Mike Babcock has inserted Tomas Jurco to skate alongside David Legwand and Johan Franzen to at least begin the game.

“He’s a big guy, good speed and good skill level,” Babcock said. “He gives us another real good player. He’s been an important guy for us, missed him when he was injured, helps on the power play. Good two-way player.”

Jurco, 21, has missed seven games with a broken rib.

“He probably thinks he’s dragging those old guys around,” Babcock said. “I can put (Gustav) Nyquist back there in a heartbeat but Nyquist on that line is flying. (Jurco) has a skill set, he makes good plays with the puck, can really skate. That line needs more tempo. We’re trying to have more balance, we need to generate on more than just one line.”

That move keeps the new Kid Line intact – Riley Sheahan, Nyquist and Tomas Tatar – and drops Daniel Alfredsson to the third line with Darren Helm and Joakim Andersson.

“The big thing with having players back that haven’t played in a while they’re trying to catch up,” Babcock said. “So you get their number back and their name on the back of the sweater but you watch them and they’re not the same. I’m hoping Helmer, now after a few games under his belt, will be Helmer and be able to contribute. Normally your first game back you’re all right and then you fall off the face of the world for a couple of games. So hopefully Jurcs can go tonight.”

Jurco has five goals and 10 points in 26 games.

“It’s a good chance for me, good opportunity for me to get back in the game quick,” Jurco said. “I know obviously the second with Shea and Tats and Gus were playing good so I understand that coach wants to keep them that way so hopefully I’m going to fit in the first line and we’re going to play good too.”

Before getting injured, Jurco was a winger on that kid line with Sheahan and Tatar.

“I just have to play my game, that means just keep being physical and try to win some battles for them and just put some pucks in the net hopefully it’s going to go in,” Jurco said.

Not doing so much with the puck is what Babcock wants from Jurco.

“He’s going to score better eventually but he’s got to be physical, he’s got to be hard guy, he’s got to get on the inside, all the dangling stuff, that doesn’t score any goals, I don’t know what all that stuff is for,” Babcock said. “Entertain your friends in practice, I guess.”

Franzen continues war of words with Neil … ‘I’ve never had a fight in my whole life. It’s like me asking him to get hockey sense and good hands or something. ‘

DETROIT >> The third period on-ice incident between Johan Franzen and Ottawa’s Chris Neil has taken on a life of its own.

Just a day after Neil slammed Franzen to the Ottawa media, Saturday was Franzen’s time to respond.

“Someone told me, (they) said it was something weird,” Franzen said. “No one could really understand what it was. He said yellow streak or something?”

The Senators’ tough guy ripped Franzen’s helmet off and then began to rough up the Wings forward in the third period on Thursday.

What Neil said was, “(If) he wants to drop his purse, take the lipstick out, put it on his lips and ‘Let’s go.’ Anytime. Any day. Anywhere. I’m 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. He’s 6-foot-4, 240 pounds. I’m giving up height. I’m giving up weight. I’m not scared of him. Bring it on.

“I’d take my cape off (if) he took the yellow streak off down the middle of his back,” Neil added.

The cape reference was in response to what Franzen after the Wings’ 6-1 win over the Senators on Thursday.

“I think he got a little upset,” said Franzen, who potted a hat trick in the game. “I don’t know (why), I have no clue. He usually shows up when the game’s over and tries to be the hero. Puts his cape on and goes and flies around out there. He doesn’t like to take heat from fans and coaches, I think. He usually steps up when the game is over and shows everyone that he really fights hard.”

Franzen has 11 goals in his past four games against the Senators, including a five-goal outburst back in 2011.

As for Neil’s reference to Franzen dropping his purse, “OK That’s tough. It’s funny. I definitely don’t care.”

Despite his size, Franzen is a skill player and not anywhere near a fighter.

“He thinks I’m not tough because I’m not fighting him,” Franzen said. “What does he have, like 30 fights a year? And he’s been doing that his whole career. I’ve never had a fight in my whole life. It’s like me asking him to get hockey sense and good hands or something. It’s kind of the same thing.

“I’ve never been fighting, didn’t grow up fighting,” Franzen continued. “For me it’s not a part of the game. I couldn’t care less … I’m not going to fight. It’s as easy as that. I’ve had enough concussions. I’m definitely not going to risk one doing something stupid like that.”

Another reason why Franzen isn’t real eager to drop the gloves is his latest bout with concussions.

After missing 16 straight games due to a concussion he returned for one game before going back to the sidelines for the final six games before the Olympic break.

“I definitely wouldn’t start with him,” Franzen said. “Like I said, it’s like me asking him to be a good hockey player.”

Prior to getting sidelined on Dec. 15 when Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas hit him in the face during a battle for the puck, Franzen had seven goals and 10 assists over his last 17 games.

“I’ve been getting head shots pretty much every year and I don’t think it’s ever been punishment for any of the hits I’ve gotten to the head,” Franzen said. “This was the third one, targeting the head. He just sucker-punched me.

“I don’t care really, it’s up to the league to … maybe they should actually try to protect the players … a play like that when he just drops his gloves and punches me in the head, if he doesn’t get anything for that I don’t know, seriously, what’s going on,” Franzen added.

Having Franzen healthy will be big down the stretch for the Wings with Henrik Zetterberg lost for the rest of the regular season after having back surgery.

“I didn’t say that,” Franzen said when asked if he believed fighting should be taken out of the game. “I said I don’t fight. I never played that way. I don’t see the reason to start now.”