With a player like Franzen is there something about his skill set and size that makes him particularly good at scoring goals in the playoffs?
He’s a big guy, but he’s probably not even filled out to his full size yet as far as an NHL pro.
The difference in the size of him from last year to this year is quite noticeable.
He’s strong on the puck and he’s shooting the puck and a lot of things are going in. It’s not like they’re shots that are in the middle of the net.
He’s finding the holes and and a lot of pucks have went in off the post. Some pretty good shots.
Along those lines about Franzen, how much do you think he benefits from teams focusing on other players on the Red Wings?
He’s playing with a pretty good center ice man and another winger so the things are both there. The players – they can probably feel it. If they play long enough, they’re going to get through on each scoring route.
They historically have a lot of offense behind them and they have a lot of confidence in their ability to score goals.
Do you think your team played desperate enough tonight?
A: No, for sure we did not. We did not. I thought at times, we looked worn down or however you want to describe it for that situation. We found life in a few situations when we moved Getzlaf around a little bit and tried to split up our offense. Then we had a glorious chance with Erik Christensen, we had him deep and he threw the puck right into Osgood’s glove, but then we had a chance to go 2-2. Then you never know when you’re on the road, that’s all we’re trying to do is get another chance and I don’t think we did it. What’s disappointing is we had a power play in the third in a 2-1 hockey game and we didn’t do very much with it. I think that took any momentum we were building away from us.
First off, the line jumping you did, as you just mentioned – trying to spread the offense, was that the extent of the reasoning or was there anything else that you had?
We weren’t playing very well. At one point I think we only had three or four shots after one [period], so we decided we were going to change it. We had to do something. We couldn’t continue to accept what was going on. We found a way to get a power play goal to give us a little bit more life. Then when we stayed with the changes, we had a decent finish to the second period. Up until we got the power play in the third, we couldn’t find a way to sneak on here, give ourselves a chance.
Secondly, can you just talk about the challenge of trying to bounce back from this and improving your performance enough to get the job done in Game 6?
I think that we need to get emotionally involved in the game right from the set; from the drop of the puck. The compete level for the space in the ice and the compete level for every puck in the next game has to go way up for our group compared to where it was today.
Q: The physical part – you did at times look tired as a team. There are a couple of guys that you played more than others, which a lot of teams have to do. What is the magical answer to going into Game 6?
A: We’ve had numerous stretches where we played our big guys a lot. I think that looking at the minutes after tonight, after two periods, [Ryan] Getzlaf had fourteen minutes, which is not overly taxing. I though that with our fourth line we mixed it up a bit. We changed on the fly quite a bit, so it wasn’t like we had a huge drain on our group. Some games, you feel you have energy and with other games you feel that you don’t. This is part of the process. Tonight we fly home, we’ll re-energize, re-focus and we’ll visit on the things that we have to do and then emotionally try to charge ourselves because we weren’t emotionally involved tonight. Not on a consistent basis.
Can you talk about [Jonas] Hiller’s night? He seemed to keep you in the game for most of it.
I thought that he gave us a huge boost in this play in the first period. The two goals in the second set us back on our heels. Then, we got ourselves back with the one and I thought that he did a pretty good job. I thought that the fourth goal or the last goal that there was a player in the crease that couldn’t get his leg over. I think that it was [Dan] Cleary, on the [Darren] Helm goal, had both feet in the crease. I would like to look at that one again.
What’s Getzlaf’s health status? He has been playing a lot of minutes, battling the flu. How is he physically right now?
I don’t think that it’s physical. It’s one of those situations where you get any type of illness or you don’t feel well, it’s taxing to play this game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This isn’t easy hockey.
There were four games that were played and we we’re all even. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears taken out of every player that is out there. Your big guys, they play some huge minutes and they play some very important minutes for your team and you have to go to them. They have to be the guys that are going to take you to the next level. Getzlaf has proven that before that he always has more in the tank than you think he does. Corey Perry
is along that line as well as Teemu Selanne
. We have a lot of baptism by fire here with our young players. We have a group of first year players in our lineup and this is a whole new experience for them. We are trying to keep the ship sailing the right direction. We know that when we play our game with energy and play to our structure that we can give ourselves a chance in every game.Detroit Coach Mike Babcock
Q: Could you talk about the depth that you have, and maybe that’s what keeps wearing these guys down. I mean, Abdelkader (Justin) and Helm (Darren), those guys coming up.
A: Well obviously it’s been real important for us. They’ve played such a big role and now with Kopecky (Tomas) out, the coaches just have to trust Abdelkader more and he’ll play more. They look like real good players. They’ve been fantastic, and Helm just goes out there. He’s on the body, plays with pace, and he plays hard. They’ve made a huge difference to our team. We’ve had good depth to our team but when you add those guys and the pace they’re playing at it makes a big difference.
Q: Can you talk about Franzen (Johan)? He seems to have an incredible knack for scoring goals in the playoffs. He’s got 20 in the last 25 playoff games -- that’s phenomenal.
A: It kind of reminds me in some ways they’re way different players in Getzlaf (Ryan). Every time they’re on the ice they’re so dangerous they have a skill set, but their size allows them to go into traffic without being cautious very easily, and to me that’s what separates them. When you’re not as big as them, it’s harder at this time of year and these guys have been great.
Q: Franzen said that he felt his game is really suited for this time of year, would you agree with that and what is it about his game?
A: I think the Mule’s game is suited for anytime of year but his activation level isn’t quite the same, and so now that he’s said that I’ll remember that for next year in November and in February.
Q You now face a game six, a situation you’ve had a lot of success in the last two seasons. What is it about your team that does well and likes the challenge on the road to close out a series?
A: Well, I think the big thing is game five is a huge game. If you remember the last time we played these guys we’ve played a great game, and then we didn’t get it out at the blue line one time and they ended up scoring and beating us. In the end they won the series. It gives you more confidence going into their building one more time, but obviously you know as much as past can help you out this is a totally different situation with a totally different team. I thought we controlled the game territorially tonight, but they were one shot away. Stuartt (Brad) had a miscue down low and Osgood (Chris) made a save off Christensen (Erik). They were one shot away maybe from getting to overtime.