DETROIT >> Johan Franzen has been a ghost on the ice and in the Wings locker room as well in the 2014 playoff thus far.
He has one assist in four games and 10 shots on goal.
“I don’t know if it’s what I do, it’s what he does,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Friday at Joe Louis Arena when asked about what needs to be done to get Franzen going. “He’s got to get himself going, just like all of us. All of us are responsible for ourselves.
“Obviously we’ve talked to him, tried to put him in the best situations to be successful but like every guy on your team collectively as a group and individually we haven’t had our best, haven’t been good enough, so you got to find a way to get more,” Babcock continued. “That’s your obligation to your teammates and to yourself. He’s no different than anyone else. You ask yourself ‘Am I playing at the level I’m capable of playing?’ and if you’re not, then we need more.”
On Thursday, Babcock said that Franzen just needs to get on the inside more.
In his last 22 games, playoffs and regular season, he has one goal, seven assists and a minus-6 rating. In the previous 23 games, he had 13 goals, 16 assists and a plus-14.
“I think Mule is a real good person, real good man, real good family man,” Babcock said. “He tries to be a real good teammate, sometimes probably doesn’t handle (the media) as well as he should to help himself. To me, if you stepped right up and talked it makes it easier. When you don’t things build and I think that puts more pressure on yourself. I don’t know why you’d do that. It’s no different than companies. You see this every day in business. You have a meeting and no one says anything. You walk out the door and talk behind each other’s back. If you just call each other out and have the hard meeting, then everyone at the meeting can get on with progress. Have the hard interview and get on with it and make it easier on yourself. He’s a man, he’s got to deal with that himself.”
Franzen last spoke to the media a week ago Thursday, the day before Game 1 at Joe Louis Arena.
“I’ve got no idea on that, you’d have to ask him,” Babcock said when asked if the criticism affects Franzen on the ice. “I can’t say that to you, I don’t know what the answer is. When you coach 23 people you figure out 23 ways and that’s always in flux anyway. You try to find a way to make people accountable and not make mountains out of mole hills and on the other side you try to make people accountable and make them better. We need more out of the Mule. It’s simple.”
Fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg said that Franzen just has to stick with it.
“Go out and keep shooting and working hard,” Zetterberg said. “That’s probably the message we tell everyone that’s not scoring. When he gets one there’s a good chance he’ll get one or two more. I think he had some good looks yesterday. It will come.”
In Franzen’s last 31 playoff games since the start of 2011, he has seven goals (one game winner), four assists and a minus-9.
In his previous 51 playoff games from 2008-2010, he had 31 goals (nine game winners), 28 assists and a plus-29.
“It’s a team sport, everyone’s in it together,” Zetterberg said. “But if you don’t score, you go through that stretch, it’s easy, I’ve been through that too. You don’t want to be in that stretch, but the only thing you can do is work hard and believe in yourself. He’s a good player. He will come out and have a good game (Saturday).”