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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: on ‘pro camps,’ lockout talk and the inevitable Mule

Whether it’s on this side of the Atlantic or over in Europe, the vast majority of the Red Wings’ players have started to skate for the first time since either the Wings’ playoff loss to Nashville or, in slightly under half the team’s case, the World Championships.

At this point, as the many Wings fans who took part in that Pure Michigan commercial on Tuesday will tell you, the ice hasn’t been placed on Joe Louis Arena’s concrete concert floor yet, so those without NHLPA and cupcake-related responsibilities (Henrik Zetterberg) or kids to move back to Metro Detroit and/or enroll in school (see: half the roster) are taking part in “pro camps,” either where they make their offseason homes or, well, whichever locale served as their hockey-playing alma mater.

RedWingsTV is following Michigan State University alums Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller and honorary Spartan Jakub Kindl at Michigan State University’s pro camp, and as the Lansing State Journal’s Brian Calloway notes, Michigan State has quite the shindig going on:

Justin Abdelkader has many good memories from his hockey career at Michigan State. Among the most memorable was when he was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2007 Frozen Four after scoring the game-winning goal to lead MSU past Boston College in the national championship game.

That moment and many other from MSU will always stick with Abdelkader. And now that he’s in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings, he enjoys returning to Munn Ice Arena to reminisce about those moments at MSU with former teammates and other Spartan hockey alums. Abdelkader gets that chance every August when he and many former MSU players that are playing professional hockey convene at Munn for the annual week-long Spartan Pro Camp.

“It’s a good to get back here to Michigan State, to Munn Ice Arena and to skate,” Abdelkader said. “Obviously we’re all getting ready for our respective camps, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun to be here and to be skating with the guys and to feel like we’re back here at Michigan State again. It’s just great catching up with the guys and reminiscing old times. A lot of good memories here so it’s always good to talk about them and rehash the good times here.”

Drew Miller (Red Wings), Corey Potter (Edmonton Oilers), Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Chris Mueller (Nashville Predators), Jim Slater (Winnipeg Jets) and Mike Weaver (Florida Panthers) were among the 20 former MSU players attending the camp, which concludes Friday. The players participate in practices under the direction of MSU assistant Tom Newton and former Spartan goaltender Jason Muzzatti.

They spend the first hour in drills and the second hour scrimmaging. It’s an experience they know they can’t get while working out at other places. Players often use it to get an edge on others heading in to training camp.

“Finding ice in the summer time is always hard and getting things organized and getting a good pace going is kind of tough in the summer,” Potter said. “To get a bunch of quality players together to be put through some drills that you’re going to do during the season and some high intensity scrimmages definitely helps.”

In Sweden, Niklas Kronwall’s skating with pals from Djurgarden and Huddinge hockey, as Marie Hallman told us yesterday (I’ll get to the translating today, I was indisposed on Wednesday), and in Colorado, where Kyle Quincey still makes his offseason home, the recently re-signed defenseman’s taking part in Denver University’s pro camp. He spoke to the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers about his desire to press the reset button after an up-and-down return to Detroit last February…

“I’m so excited to finally get a real training camp with Detroit and starting fresh, learning their systems inside and out,” said Quincey, who was drafted by Detroit and spent three years in the organization. “Great organization. So much history, and I’m going back to the place I was drafted in, so it’s kind of a second chance. And with Nicklas Lidstrom retiring and losing Brad Stuart (traded to San Jose), there’s a chance to step up. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity, and just can’t wait to get back to work.”

But it should come as no surprise that Quincey, who took part in several of the NHLPA’s CBA negotiating sessions, is also wondering whether he’s going to be playing at all this fall, and he spoke to Chambers about that sticky wicket as well:

“We’re all planning on starting on time, but if it doesn’t happen, we’re all prepared,” Quincey said. “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.”

The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15, and commissioner Gary Bettman has said the owners aren’t prepared to begin the season without a new CBA. Thus, just as training camp is scheduled to begin, the owners might lock out the players for the second NHL work stoppage in eight years.

Quincey, whom Colorado traded Feb. 21 in the three-team deal that brought forward Steve Downie to Denver, attended last week’s negotiation sessions between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association at the union’s office in Toronto. Quincey maintains a Denver-area home.

“We came up with a great proposal. I’ve never been through this before, but I feel so unified with the guys,” Quincey said at Magness Arena. “It’s pretty amazing how intelligent and knowledgeable all the guys are. They understand the proposal, the money we are giving back and the overall give-and-take that we proposed. I honestly feel that the proposal we made last Tuesday was a very good one.”

The NHLPA’s proposal was a counter from the owner’s original plan to increase ownership revenue and stabilize other economic aspects of the game. The players introduced a revenue-sharing plan that would help struggling teams, but Bettman slammed the counterproposal by calling it incomplete and said the sides are far apart.

Bettman and NHLPA executive Donald Fehr are scheduled to meet Thursday morning in Toronto.

“We’re kind of at a standstill,” Quincey said.

Sort of. For the record, former Wing Mike Commodore spoke to The Fan 960’s Kelly Kirch and Andrew Walker about CBA negotiations, and he at least sounded Quincey’s tones regarding solidarity with his fellow players while endorsing Donald Fehr’s leadership:

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If the Wings do play hockey this fall, well… Sigh. This was somewhat inevitable, and I don’t expect it to be pretty, but with an immovable salary in terms of both money and remaining years on the deal, especially under any potentially new CBA rules, Johan Franzen represents both an immovable object, a subject of derision among Red Wings fans after his poor playoff performance, and despite earning his playoff goat horns, a very important part of the Wings’ offensive machine given that the team didn’t sign a top-six, goal-scoring forward. The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers the following take on Franzen’s perhaps still-untapped potential:

Looking at numbers: 29 goals, 27 assists, 56 points, plus-23 in 77 games in 2011-12.

Looking at money: Salary for 2012-13 is $5.25 million; 11-year, $43.5-million deal runs through 2019-20 at average cap hit of $3.9 million.

Looking back: Franzen got mad in training camp when reporters asked about his need to improve after a slow finish to the previous season. He had seven points in the first five games—then went quiet for six, a snapshot of the inconsistency that marked another season. He had one point, a goal, in five playoff games, and that was because the puck went in off his skate.

Looking ahead: When he wants, Franzen can be unstoppable—he’s a 6-foot-3, 220-pound bulldozer with a sweet finishing touch. He had 34 goals in 71 games in ‘08-09, prompting the lifetime contract, which looked even better when he followed up with a playoff performance that garnered Conn Smythe talk.

Franzen lost most of the following season to a knee injury, but stormed back in the spring and delivered 18 points in 12 playoff games in 2010. Since then, he has been noticeable for his capriciousness—so dominant some nights, so disinterested others. Henrik Zetterberg has noted that Franzen plays better angry. Coach Mike Babcock has said that when Franzen is on top of his game, he is as good as anyone in hockey. He usually plays wing, but he’s at ease in the middle, and the Wings like using him there against big opposing centers like Joe Thornton.

Babcock also has admitted he challenges Franzen to be an elite player, to be harder around the net. Franzen should have been a 40-goal scorer last season after spending most of it playing with Pavel Datsyuk and averaging nearly 3 minutes a game on the power play.

Franzen, 32, isn’t the only enigma in the NHL, and his salary-cap hit is very reasonable, which gives him high value in a potential trade for the top-four defenseman the Wings so badly need. At the same time, if Franzen can play with a touch more consistency in the regular season and return to his old assertive ways in the playoffs, he’d be a great bargain.

So yeah, discuss.

 

 

Also of Red Wings-related note:

• As noted in the evening report, Hockey’s Future offers a new top 20 Wings prospects list, one of those prospects, Ryan Sproul, spoke to the Sault Star’s Peter Ruicci about his upcoming OHL season with the Soo Greyhounds, and Kris Draper talked hockey with the Saginaw News’s Erica Perdue after throwing out the first pitch at Wednesday’s Great Lakes Loons game;

• Despite AnnArbor.com’s Pete Cunningham’s suggestions to the contrary, Paul had me track down the paper trail confirming that NBC will be paying at least $150 million to the NHL regardless of whether a season or Winter Classic are played, so there is no real Winter Classic “pressure point” in terms of CBA negotiations, and, as noted by RedWingsFeed, the Detroit Free Press reports that University of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon knows it:

During his speech to the Economic Club, Brandon talked about the NHL labor situation. He hopes Michigan Stadium will host the Winter Classic this year and that any lockout is over by then. But if it’s canceled, he hopes the NHL considers U-M again for next season.

He said U-M will not have the rink if the Jan. 1 Classic is canceled because it involves too much prep for them to host their own game there.

“Michigan Stadium has been dark and cold and barren every New Year’s Day for the last 80 years, so we’re kind of used to that,” he said. “If something happens and they can’t play the game, it’ll be the way it’s always been.”

I’d assume that it’ll roll over to the next season as the Wings-Leafs rivalry means $$$, now or later…

• Somewhat ironically, Sports Illustrated posted a photo gallery of second lockout images, including one of the two charity games a good chunk of the Red Wings’ players participated in to raise money for the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital by playing against no-names like Phil Kessel, Jack Johnson and Patrick Kane;

• In the “very important artist” category, the latest edition of Stevie Roxelle’s Biscuit Fox is out

• And while most European teams aren’t actively hoping for a lockout given that their rosters (and payrolls) are full of players and usually quota-limited imports, they’re engaged in preseason play and many don’t want to employ players for a couple of months and then lose their services if there’s a half-season “work stoppage,” Sport-Express’s Vladimir Yurin points out that Vyacheslav Kozlov and Alexei Kovalev are among a slate of KHL and NHL veterans (including Oleg Petrov, Sandis Ozolinsh, Sergei Brylin and Maxim Sushinsky) who have yet to find gainful employment in Russia while certain KHL teams cross their fingers that Malkins and Yakupovs will be available a month from now.

All I know is that I’m supposed to keep a level head about this stuff, and I have no f***ing clue what will happen, folks. We’re at the cross-your-fingers and pray point.

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Comments

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Enh, most people are pretty much calcified on their Franzen positions.  Personally, I think getting 27-30 goals per year out of a sub 4 mil cap number is pretty awesome, but Franzen has assumed the position that at least 2 or 3 guys on every Wings team have to assume: designated target for derision.

Once those guys get designated it’s pretty much useless to discuss them any more.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/23/12 at 08:50 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Salary for 2012-13 is $5.25 million; 11-year, $43.5-million deal runs through 2019-20 at average cap hit of $3.9 million.

I like the $3.9 cap hit. I HATE that the contract ends in 2020.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 08/23/12 at 09:24 AM ET

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I like the $3.9 cap hit. I HATE that the contract ends in 2020.

The ‘nice’ thing is it’s unlikely Franzen will stick around for the last three years of the deal when he’s making 2, 1 and 1 mil a year.  Which is mostly the point of those deals.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/23/12 at 09:37 AM ET

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Im pretty sure he isn’t going to do us a favor and walk away from that contract and not earn one or two million. That isn’t the point. Pronger hasn’t walked away. DiPietro hasn’t. Marc Savard hasn’t. Who does that?

Posted by Rick on 08/23/12 at 09:58 AM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

29 goals for $3.9? Bargain.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again - since his concussion he’s been playing careful and picking his spots.

Posted by Keyser S. on 08/23/12 at 10:42 AM ET

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a very important part of the Wings’ offensive machine given that the team didn’t sign a top-six, goal-scoring forward.

If he can’t find some consistency he’s not an important part of the Wings’ offensive machine, no matter when they signed 0 scoring forwards or 8 scoring forwards.

Pronger hasn’t walked away. DiPietro hasn’t. Marc Savard hasn’t.

None of these guys are in the final year or two of their contracts, bringing in $1M or $2M.  Pronger’s set to make $7M+, Savard $6.5 and DiPietro $4.5M, why would any of them walk away?  There’s a pretty significant difference between their situations and Franzen playing at 40 years old for $1M…

And with Pronger it doesn’t matter because Philly is on the hook for his cap hit if he retires, so they’re probably asking him not to retire but to just stay on injured reserve so they can replace his cap hit.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 10:53 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again - since his concussion he’s been playing careful and picking his spots.
Posted by Keyser S. from http://theredwingsforum.com on 08/23/12 at 09:42 AM ET

Troof. He hasn’t been the same “beast” as he was before the dinger.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 08/23/12 at 11:07 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

So yeah, discuss.

Prediction: Samuelsson will put up as many points as Franzen next year and play with more grit.

I’d give Franzen away in ANY reasonable trade scenario. Sorry, I know he’s big and he’s got touch, but chronic underachievers rarely break free of that, and he’s just getting worse and worse.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 08/23/12 at 11:20 AM ET

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I’d give Franzen away in ANY reasonable trade scenario.

Yes.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 12:12 PM ET

awould's avatar

I’d give Franzen away in ANY reasonable trade scenario.

Yes.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 11:12 AM ET

Franzen is the player I most hope is traded. Partially because any trade involving him would be significant but also to get rid of the inconsistency. His performance for his cap hit is not the problem, it’s that he disappears for ten games at a time. I’d rather take a guy who reliably scores a goal every 2-3 games than a guy who scores 8 goals in 4 games and then nothing for a month. He used to be a playoff monster, now not so much.

Since his concussion, he’s played very safe.

Posted by awould on 08/23/12 at 12:30 PM ET

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None of these guys are in the final year or two of their contracts, bringing in $1M or $2M…. There’s a pretty significant difference between their situations and Franzen playing at 40 years old for $1M…

You are correct but like HockeyinHD you’re implying that these contracts are low in the final years to make it easier for the player to walk away from them which isn’t the point of structuring a contract like that. In my opinion its to get a nice average cap hit (obviously) and you have to assume that by the time the contacts for your older stars are expiring you will have younger talent needing to be signed who will be making more per year than their average cap hit.
When you’re writing the checks you don’t want an expensive player with declined production affecting your bottom line or your ability to get younger talent signed to multiple years, plus bonuses, ect.

Posted by Rick on 08/23/12 at 01:06 PM ET

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you’re implying

I’m not implying anything.

YOU made the comparison between Franzen and Pronger/Savard/DiPietro, all I did was point out that your comparison doesn’t make sense.

You’re saying that Franzen won’t walk away from the million or two when he’s 39/40 and to support your argument you’re using the fact that Chris Pronger hasn’t decided to walk away from the 19M+ that he is still owed on his contract.  DiPietro is still owed $40.5M on his contract and Marc Savard is still owed $14M+ on his.  Why would any of those guys walk away from their contracts and how do any of their situations compare to the hypothetical situation of Franzen deciding to hang them up a year or two before his contract is up because there’s little financial gain for him to continue playing for $1M a year?

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 01:40 PM ET

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Partially because any trade involving him would be significant but also to get rid of the inconsistency.

Exactly.  I would love to have a guy on the team who gets paid $4M a year and absolutely busts his ass every game to score 29 goals a year rather than have a guy who plays when he feels like it, disappears for long stretches (regularly going through 3-4 game droughts and going up to 9 games between goals) and very rarely seems to care that he’s not scoring.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 01:43 PM ET

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I think most fans have this perception of Franzen as an elite talent who has motivation issues. That perception is fueled, I think, by a handful of really small samples of games (a few great playoffs; the odd game here or there where he scores 3 or 4). The belief is that he realistically could be a 40-goal, ppg player if he only tried harder.

Well, I tend to think the reason he has never hit those targets isn’t because he doesn’t care or isn’t trying. I think it’s because he’s just not as good as everybody thinks he is.

Pointing to his hot streaks and expecting him to keep that up over full seasons is like expecting Lee Stempniak to be a 50-goal man because of that one time he scored 14 in 18. It’s not a fair or reasonable expectation. But because Franzen has been lucky enough to have his best hot streaks in high-leverage situations—the playoffs—people expect more of him.

For what he is—a consistent 25-30 goals and 55-60 points year in and year out—$3.9 million is a good deal. I would still trade him for the right return, but I think getting your leading goal scorer at less than 6 percent of the cap is nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by Sven 22 at work on 08/23/12 at 01:43 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Sven 22 at work on 08/23/12 at 12:43 PM ET

No offense, but your argument here sounds like an argument crafted from looking at his stats and not watching him play. There is a marked difference in Franzen’s play when he’s engaged in the game (and usually visibly pissed off) and when he’s just drifting around (usually a vacant look on his face). And there is a correlation between engaged/pissed off-Franzen and his point production.

He is CAPABLE of scoring in bunches but fails to because he’s lazy and unengaged most of the time. And you can see it in his play. I don’t think anyone is disappointed to get a 50-60 pt/season guy for his cap hit, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be rightfully disappointed that he’s operating below his potential.

The opposite of Franzen is Helm. He earns every point.

Posted by awould on 08/23/12 at 02:06 PM ET

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Well, I tend to think the reason he has never hit those targets isn’t because he doesn’t care or isn’t trying. I think it’s because he’s just not as good as everybody thinks he is.

Great, but you’re ignoring the evidence.

His average of the last four full seasons he played was 29.5 goals and this is while going through extended goalless streaks every year.  You don’t do that by accident, you do that because you’re good.  The problem is that, so often, he doesn’t seem to care.

All you have to do is watch him when he’s scoring to see how good he can be.  He’s not getting lucky.  He’s making things happen.  You can see when he wants to play and you can see when he doesn’t care.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 02:18 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Posted by awould

Yep.

I’d be less concerned with his point totals if he were an actual threat more often. All too frequently he doesn’t move his feet. He waits for someone to get him the puck rather than working to get open. Even Pavel can’t reliably put passes on the tape of a guy who’s not even trying to help his cause. Even if he’s not putting up points for stretches at a time, at least being a threat during those games takes some pressure off the rest of his line.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 08/23/12 at 02:23 PM ET

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Im pretty sure he isn’t going to do us a favor and walk away from that contract and not earn one or two million. That isn’t the point. Pronger hasn’t walked away. DiPietro hasn’t. Marc Savard hasn’t. Who does that?

Savard’s deal doesn’t step down for two more years, which makes it a pretty bad example.

Pronger’s deal doesn’t step down for 3 more years, so that’s an even worse one.

However, DiPietro’s deal doesn’t step down AT ALL, EVER.  Which makes it perhaps the worst possible example you could have conceivably selected.

I’d give Franzen away in ANY reasonable trade scenario. Sorry, I know he’s big and he’s got touch, but chronic underachievers rarely break free of that, and he’s just getting worse and worse.

I have to ask, although given my previous comment regarding calcification I’m wincing as I do so: do you legitimately have any idea what you’re talking about with Franzen?

His goals per game the past 5 years is .375, .479, .370, .368, .377.  One big year and then pretty much metronomic consistency otherwise.  In the playoffs he had huge years in 08, 09 and 10 and he was invisible in 11 and 12.

The big ‘problem’ with his production is that it’s pretty streaky.  That’s a fair criticism.  Calling him an underachiever isn’t very reasonable, mostly because it relies on whatever oddball expectations people may have for Franzen that aren’t teribly representative of what he actually is.

He’s a guy who will routinely score 25+ goals, who has size, is competent defensively, but is pretty streaky.  He has also repeatedly demonstrated he can score a ton of playoff goals.  He was the teams leading goalscorer last year.  He was the teams leading goalscorer in 2011.  He was the teams leading goalscorer in 2009.  He was #9 in 2010, and played just 27 games.

I suppose the question is, what exactly do you think you should be able to get for a 3.9 mil cap hit anyway?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/23/12 at 05:39 PM ET

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Forgot about Hossa in 2009.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/23/12 at 05:41 PM ET

awould's avatar

I suppose the question is, what exactly do you think you should be able to get for a 3.9 mil cap hit anyway?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/23/12 at 04:39 PM ET

I don’t really disagree with anything you say about Franzen. But he’s a Jekyll/Hyde guy.

The praise: his point production for the cap his is great.
The criticism: he garners those points in a lazy way.

I think both statements above are valid and equally good reasons to love him or hate him from whatever perspective you value. The thing with Franzen is you can tell when he’s on. When he’s engaged, he’s like a bull in a china shop, but with a plan. When he’s not, he just floats around the ice. It’s frustrating.

Last year, he scored 36 of his points in the first half of the season, with 20 after that. 1st half=0.88ppg, 2nd half=0.56ppg. I know the team fell off as a whole, partially due to some injury issues, but still, some blame must be laid on the players who did play and Franzen is front and center of that group.

I am still a fan of Franzen but all of this is why I find it easy to label him ‘tradeable’. I just wish he’d show up every night. If he were Russian, he’d get lumped in with Semin.

Posted by awould on 08/23/12 at 06:56 PM ET

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The big ‘problem’ with his production is that it’s pretty streaky.  That’s a fair criticism.  Calling him an underachiever isn’t very reasonable,

If he was just streaky, if he was clearly playing his heart out every game and simply wasn’t getting the bounces I would agree with you, but he very clearly just doesn’t try sometimes, for prolonged stretches.

I might argue that he’s the very definition of an underachiever.  We’ve seen what he can do, but we’ve seen that half the time he just doesn’t seem to care.

He’s that kid in school that the teachers all complain about.  He’s got the brains, if he only applied himself he could be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  If he doesn’t, the best he’ll end up will be Chief Judge of the Mr Tight-Buns competition.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 08:29 PM ET

awould's avatar

If he doesn’t, the best he’ll end up will be Chief Judge of the Mr Tight-Buns competition.

Sounds like a sweet gig.

Posted by awould on 08/23/12 at 09:13 PM ET

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The criticism: he garners those points in a lazy way.

Why do you think the way he gets points is any more or less lazy than the way Hudler got his points, or that Bert gets his points, or that 90% of the team gets their points?

This is clearly not a direct comparison, but Lidstrom never really looked like he was killing himself out there, did he?

If he was just streaky, if he was clearly playing his heart out every game and simply wasn’t getting the bounces I would agree with you, but he very clearly just doesn’t try sometimes, for prolonged stretches.

Unfortunately, those two above are the kinds of comments I expected regarding Franzen.  It’s people’s perception of how he produces, and not the production.  Then, from there, a rationale is constructed upon that assumption to try and imply he should be better because, you know, he’s not really trying.

Let’s keep in mind Franzen was a nothing pick.  From there he was a nothing player for his first year or so.  He earned his way up from a 9 minute a night slug to a legit top line NHL forward who is about as sure a thing as it gets for 25+ goals.

And people are actually going to try and say he’s an UNDERachiever?  That, really, is the crazy part of all this.  He’s never had fewer than 27 goals in any full season since cracking the top 6, and I would bet a million bucks to a pack of someones cigarettes there wasn’t hardly anybody suggesting he could have been anywhere near that prior to him doing it.

But he’s an underachiever.  Because he ‘looks’ lazy.

Right.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/23/12 at 09:56 PM ET

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But he’s an underachiever.  Because he ‘looks’ lazy.

No, he’s an underachiever because he should be producing more than he is.

The evidence is in watching him play.  When he is clearly engaged, he finds the net when nobody should be able to find it.  He plays with passion and he creates plays and he makes the opposition look silly.

He’s an underachiever because we ALL have seen what he is capable of, and we have ALL seen that he is not performing to his capabilities.

This is clearly not a direct comparison, but Lidstrom never really looked like he was killing himself out there, did he?

No, he didn’t.  But he didn’t look like he was trying one game and not trying the next.  He makes it look easy.  When Franzen is engaged you can see it in his play.  When he isn’t, you can see that in his play too.

Consistency.  There’s a reason that’s the big knock against Franzen.  Lidstrom always looked like he was giving the same effort, game in and game out.  Consistently.  Whether he was producing or not, he played the same way.

It doesn’t matter when he was drafted.  That’s a BS argument.

If Pavel Datsyuk, in the next NHL season that happens, scores 3 goals and 6 assists in 82 games would he not be underachieving?  He was a nothing pick, after all.

What if Zetterberg plays 77 games and manages 3 assists and is a minus-19 +/-, would he not be underachieving?  After all, he was the 210th overall pick.  Eighth round.

But let’s use your logic.  If Datsyuk and Zetterberg were sixth and eighth rounders while Franzen was a fourth rounder, shouldn’t expectations for Franzen be higher than for Datsyuk or Zetterberg?

By your ridiculous logic he’s even more of an underachiever than I considered him to be.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by Garth on 08/23/12 at 10:33 PM ET

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He’s an underachiever because we ALL have seen what he is capable of, and we have ALL seen that he is not performing to his capabilities.

That’s silly, though.  Because he is a streaky player he has, obviously, hot streaks.  Trying to say he should be as good as he is within a hot streak all the time is pretty goofy.  Trying to justify that position by saying he ‘looks lazy’ at other times is similarly goofy.

Consistency.  There’s a reason that’s the big knock against Franzen.  Lidstrom always looked like he was giving the same effort, game in and game out.

‘Looked like’.  Exactly.  It’s not Franzen’s production, which is fine.  It’s what he ‘looks like’ while producing.

It doesn’t matter when he was drafted.  That’s a BS argument.

You appear to be exceptionally selective in your choices of what, precisely, to respond to.  What I actually said was:

“Let’s keep in mind Franzen was a nothing pick.  From there he was a nothing player for his first year or so.  He earned his way up from a 9 minute a night slug to a legit top line NHL forward who is about as sure a thing as it gets for 25+ goals.

And people are actually going to try and say he’s an UNDERachiever?  That, really, is the crazy part of all this.  He’s never had fewer than 27 goals in any full season since cracking the top 6, and I would bet a million bucks to a pack of someones cigarettes there wasn’t hardly anybody suggesting he could have been anywhere near that prior to him doing it.”

So while you are technically right that it’s not all about draft position, since I didn’t say anything about it being all about draft position, what you are ‘right’ about is completely meaningless.

The point is that Franzen has far exceeded everybody’s expectations of him prior to the start of his Wings career.  He was so far under the radar that I’m positive very few people even HAD expectations for him of any kind.

The whole ‘looks lazy’ thing just cracks me up, really.  Why doesn’t Hudler ‘look lazy’?  Or Lidstrom?  Or Bert?  Or Fil?  Or Datsyuk?  Or Zetterberg?  It’s a silly, wholly subjective label people like to hang on guys they want to bash as a trope of last resort.

All of that aside, how many skilled Swedish players don’t ‘look lazy’?  Those guys grow up playing a smoother, more elliptical style than NA’s straight up and down smashmouth game.  IMO you’re getting distracted by a general style of play nationally and it’s leading you towards calcifying some pretty strong opinions.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/24/12 at 07:39 AM ET

awould's avatar

IMO you’re getting distracted by a general style of play nationally and it’s leading you towards calcifying some pretty strong opinions.

That’s a ridiculous statement is just not backed up by anything at all. Swedish players just play with a lazy approach? Are you really arguing that? If only we had other Swedes that we could compare with Franzen on a direct basis, like if they played on the same team, in the same games, on the same lines and shared minutes. Oh wait, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Holmstrom, Lidstrom. I’ve never heard anybody, ever, claim that any one of those players isn’t “in the game”. I guess they’re the exceptions to that heretofore unknown Swedish national trait that you’ve identified for us all.

In general though, your argument ignores the basic premise that is this - and I feel ok speaking for Garth here too - From watching Franzen for years now, we’ve developed the opinion that he doesn’t always try very hard. The only way we can form that opinion is by noting a difference between when he “looks like” he’s trying and when he “looks like” he’s not, and we correlate that to his production and have noticed that when he “looks like” he’s trying, he generates results, and when he “looks like” he’s not, he flutters around the ice in a useless manner. The difference is striking. We don’t try to pretend to know what is in his mind or project his lazy skating appearance to an entire nation, we just go by what we see.

Since we’ve watched a ton of hockey over our lives, we feel qualified to hold this opinion. By we, I refer to again to Garth and myself. But also the legion of fans who appear to hold this same opinion about him, as well as the hockey media who continually bring it up, as well as Franzen’s own coach who has alluded to it several times.

I’m not arguing against your general point - for the cap hit, 55-60 pts/season is great. But when a player phones it in so much, it’s not out of bounds to expect more.

So the general disagreement is that you believe Franzen shows up for every game, or maybe you disagree that not showing up for every game is a problem. I’m not really sure. But leave the Swedish people out of this.

Posted by awould on 08/24/12 at 11:53 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.