DETROIT – Seems like it might be time to kick the Mule.
At least that’s how Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg sees it with Johan Franzen, the 6-foot-3 power forward who is one of the league’s most prolific playoff scorers.
“He could 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.”
Maybe becoming a father for the second time has made the Mule a little less crotchety. Franzen's wife Cecilia gave birth to the couples' second son last Monday.
In eight playoff games this spring, Franzen has three goals – all on the power play in the first series against Anaheim. He also has a team-worst minus-7 rating.
Through his career, Franzen has always been a dynamic playoff performer, collecting 41 goals and 35 assists in 96 games.
He was befitting of his nickname after Friday’s practice turning a little ornery when asked about the Game 1 loss the Blackhawks and what the Red Wings can do differently in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at the United Center.
“That game is over. We don’t have to worry about that one anymore. We can focus on trying to make this one a little better,” Franzen said. “We need to handle the puck better. Come up with the puck and go from there so we can create some offense. We didn’t really have the puck at all last game. We need to do a better job of helping the D out.”
Asked about those who aren’t giving the Red Wings much of a chance to knock-off the Presidents’ Trophy winning ’Hawks, the Mule gave a perverse answer.
“Let them think that,” he snapped. “That’s awesome. Who cares.”
On a serious note, Franzen would like to see the Red Wings score the first goal on Saturday.
“It makes it a lot easier,” he said. “You open the other team up, because they’ve got to for it. Usually it means you’re going to get more chances.”
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