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Franzen unapologetic for incident with Preds bench

by Brian Hedger /
DETROIT -- Johan Franzen is clearly unhappy with the officiating in the Western Conference Quarterfinals series between his Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators.

Prior to Detroit's 3-2 loss on Sunday in Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings power forward chastised the calls and non-calls from Game 1 and Game 2, in which he says some stick work in the first game and an elbow in the second left him with the black eye he's currently sporting.

Franzen then picked up a pair of slashing penalties in the second period on Sunday, with the second one leading to a 4-on-4 situation that eventually got the Wings their first goal by Pavel Datsyuk.

Franzen went to check Ryan Suter near the Predators bench and only got a piece of him before slamming into the boards right in front of the Nashville bench. Predators center David Legwand was then spotted holding Franzen's sweater with a tug -- which prompted the Red Wings forward to yank free and drive his stick toward Legwand on the bench in a spearing motion.

Did the heat of the moment cause his temper to boil over into making a bad decision?

“No," Franzen said. "He held me. If he does it again, I’m going to do it again. He got called for it and I’m happy for that. We're a good team 4-on-4, so if he's going to do that again, I'm happy to do it. Maybe I'll drag him out onto the ice and sit on him, I don't know ... maybe do something else."

Franzen said that by jabbing his stick in retaliation, he feels that led officials to look into what happened to start the incident in the first place -- which resulted in a bench interference minor called against Nashville.

"The ref wouldn't have called him if I wouldn't have done that," Franzen said. "He needed help from his [linesmen] and his partner to figure that out, so that would never have been called otherwise."

It also happened to create 4-on-4 play, which has shown in this series to help Detroit's top offensive stars -- like Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg -- create more scoring chances.

"I would take that any day," Franzen said. "If I could get [Datsyuk] and [Zetterberg] out there playing 4-on-4 instead of 5-on-5, you'd play like that all day if you could. [There's] a lot more room to create stuff on."

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom doesn't necessarily agree with his Swedish countryman's logic. Lidstrom talked at length on Monday about the Red Wings not taking bad penalties and putting themselves at a disadvantage either in numbers or taking key players off the ice for however long the infraction is worth.

Lidstrom was asked about Franzen's incident with the Nashville bench and said it was a good example of what the Wings cannot do in the remaining games of this series.

"That's where you have to try and stay disciplined, and it's hard sometimes," Lidstrom said. "It's very hard. You're in the heat of the moment and your heart rate is going [really fast]. You're so into the game, so it's hard sometimes. But that's when you get sucked into those kinds of penalties. You can still react to it, but you have to be aware of it and you have to have that in the back of your mind that you can't do certain things now."

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