DETROIT -- Sitting at his locker after Detroit's 4-3 win at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, Johan Franzen looked the part of a playoff hockey player.
He had a bloody gauze plug stuffed up his left nostril, stitches zig-zagged on his forehead and more blood crusted near his mouth. His nose was yellowish, swollen and turning purple and though his demeanor was as calm as ever, he was clearly upset about the hit that did all the damage.
While skating into the Phoenix zone, he was hit by Shane Doan from behind and his body wound up careening into the boards with his face hitting first. No penalty was called on Doan and after the game, both head coaches said they thought no call was warranted.
Franzen returned midway through the second period. Also in the second period, Detroit's Darren Helm was called for boarding on a big hit he put on Ed Jovanovski near the end boards behind the Coyotes. Franzen, who thought Doan's hit was illegal, also took issue with Helm being penalized for his.
"From behind? Three feet from the boards?" he asked rhetorically of Doan's hit. "Yeah, usually you get thrown out of the game for that, but I guess shoulder on shoulder like Helmer is worse."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn't think either hit should’ve been penalized, but Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said Helm's hit did warrant the time he served in the penalty box. Doan said he wasn't trying to injure Franzen and didn't think it was that violent of a hit.
"I didn't hit him that hard," Doan said. "I think he lost his balance. Him and I were both racing to get the puck. He sees me coming and he tries to hit me as much as I tried to hit him. Obviously it's a bad situation the way he goes into the boards. You never want to see anybody get hurt."
Still, though he says there is no burgeoning personal "rivalry" with Doan, Franzen was not pleased with what happened. He left the ice immediately and had to be put under observation for possible concussion symptoms while being stitched.
"I don't think me and him is anything," Franzen said of he and Doan. "He plays hard and he's out there trying to get their team fired up and trying to look for big hits. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with bad hits. He should be thrown out of the game. No question about it."
Did he watch the replay?
"No, but I felt where he hit me, my numbers," Franzen said. "Really dangerous hit. I'm happy I just got stitches and nothing else."
Tippett sounded just as irked at Helm's hit on Jovanovski, which knocked him out of the game.
"Jovanovski got run into the boards," Tippett said. "If you look at Franzen, he stops and turns back, he goes into the boards on his own. Doan never hits him. Doan doesn't touch him while his body is on the boards. He stops and spins … Doan hits him four feet in the center of the ice. The one at the end of the rink is Helm running a guy into the end boards. Big difference."
Babcock saw it slightly different.
"Neither one should be a penalty," he said. "Franzen toe-picked and Doan had kind of bumped him. In my opinion, no penalty. Then Helm self-chipped, went in, Jovanovski knew he was there. Helm hit him hard. No penalty."
Face-shield for Franzen? Mule says 'No'
After he came back from the training room, Franzen just had his helmet on with no visor, cage or face shield protecting his stitches – which numbered as many as 21 according to a report on the NBC TV broadcast.
During the broadcast, cameras picked up Babcock talking to Franzen on the bench and appearing to ask him about putting on a visor. Franzen declined. He was also asked about it after the game.
"They were talking about it, but I can't play with that," Franzen said. "It's tilted up, so I think if I would've had a visor going into the boards I probably would've cut my face even more probably."
Babcock said he hopes the face shield will find its way onto Franzen's helmet before game 3 in Phoenix.
"I was amazed he came back with no facial protection," Babcock said. "He'll probably have to get that fixed up. It's important for us to have the Mule and he'll be ready to go next game."
GAME 2 QUOTABLES
Helm on Datsyuk’s between-the-legs shot: "Second time he's tried it. He's got lots of skill. It doesn't really surprise me. He's pretty amazing. The rebound came to me and I just made sure I got it in the open cage.''
Franzen on concussion concern after Doan hit: "You go flying into the boards … that's always a concern, but I was lucky enough. I think the forehead is pretty strong – strong bone. Used that to take the hit and it worked out good."
Franzen on how his face looks after stitches: "I don't have any looks to worry about. I'm alright."
Datsyuk on his between-the-legs attempt: "Most times it's hard to shoot from here, but you know, if you make a nice move, you have an open small corner. It's a really good save and I'm happy it's a rebound, too."
Datsyuk on Helm's rebound goal off the between-the-legs shot: "I'm little bit upset, because why he don't shoot it between legs?"
More Datsyuk on between-legs shot: "It's spontaneous. Just try to shoot and score. Happy, too, Helm scored off it. Would be looking bad if he didn't score a goal."
Jimmy Howard on Datsyuk move: "He does a lot of crazy stuff in practice. The fact that he pulls it off in practice and almost pulls it off in a Stanley Cup Playoff game is truly remarkable."
Yandle on late rally: "There's no quit in our group, that's for sure. When we are down that much we work harder."
Dave Tippett on improved Phoenix power play: "You look at two of the goals and they came off shots that were rebounds. I thought our intent around the net was better (today) in the 5-on-3. We had some more poise that we were missing in that first game."
Tippett on special teams play: "We need to bring our power play and our penalty kill together and work on the same page."
Ray Whitney: "Two power-play goals get you behind and when that team smells blood, they're pretty good a picking the pace up."
Shane Doan: "We weren't dissatisfied with the way we played the first 20 minutes. They found ways to get pucks through and to the net and capitalized on their opportunities."
Doan: "Datsyuk's been the best player on the ice for the first two games. He's their best player."