Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
2014 NHL Draft
SHARE

Blackhawks vs Red Wings

Red Wings need more kick from Mule

Friday, 05.17.2013 / 6:23 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Share with your Friends


Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog
Red Wings need more kick from Mule

CHICAGO -- If the Detroit Red Wings are going to make their Western Conference Semifinals series close, they know they need an ornery "Mule" on the ice against the favored Chicago Blackhawks.

The hard part for Detroit coach Mike Babcock is pushing the right buttons on Johan Franzen, a Swedish power forward nicknamed "Mule" who can score goals by the bunches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Red Wings need captain Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to shine, but Franzen has a knack for scoring in the postseason that many players don't possess.

Tapping into that knack consistently, however, can be an issue at times.

Franzen didn't record a point, finished minus-2 and got one shot on goal in the series opener Wednesday at United Center, a 4-1 Chicago victory.

The second game is Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC) in the same building, and the Red Wings hope to see a snorting, sneering Mule on the ice.

"He [can] be pretty mean, but I think he's playing the best hockey when he's a little grumpy," Zetterberg said. "I think maybe it's up to us to get him a little bit grumpy before the games."

It might not take too much effort if Franzen's mood after practice Friday at Joe Louis Arena was any indication. Asked about the Red Wings already being written off by some, based upon Game 1 and Chicago's 9-0-1 record against Detroit during past two seasons, Franzen huffed, "Let them think that. That's awesome. Who cares?"

Franzen, who once removed the mouth guard from Blackhawks star Patrick Kane's mouth in their 2009 Western Conference Final series, was then asked about the Red Wings being outscored in the third periods of this year's playoffs by a 15-5 margin.

"We're just thinking about golf or something [in third periods]," Franzen joked. "I don't know. No one knows about this stuff except [reporters]."

Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie