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Dominating Mule

from Craig Custance of ESPN (paid subscription),

On his second goal, he took a pass from Zetterberg behind Hiller and drove to the net untouched, stuffing it past the Ducks goalie. Franzen beat a stationary Winnik to the front of the net, proving how dangerous he can be in that spot if Ducks defenders don't put a body on him.

And that's the challenge moving forward for Anaheim. If it wants to slow down the Mule, he needs to fear more than pucks flying for his midsection or a quick shove after he scores a goal.

He's a big, powerful force, and he will continue to dominate down low if the Ducks don't raise their physical game to match it. Because there's no doubt Franzen has raised his already.

"When he gets his mean streak going, that's when he plays his best hockey. He can be a force out there when he's using his body," Howard said. "It's just the playoffs. He enjoys this time of year. He has a blast out there."

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Vladimir16's avatar

People that don’t think Franzen floats hasn’t played sports and/or they don’t watch the play away from the puck.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/03/13 at 04:16 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

He’s the example of the Wings for the season. You see the talent, you see the spurts of high quality play, you see the lulls, you keep saying to yourself, “could be better” yet realize it could be a lot worse. Welcome to you 2013 Red Wings, where inconsistency is their middle name, and where the fans have become bald with no finger nails and giant red spots where their heads are dented from banging their heads on the walls….

...and if anything, the first two playoff games reminded us of why we’re still watching and why were also thinking we should get off this roller coaster before we get sick.

Posted by Bugsy on 05/03/13 at 04:30 PM ET

SandysWingingit's avatar

Posted by Primis on 05/03/13 at 03:36 PM ET

Word! And thank you from a Franzen fan that takes a lot of heat for it! Sure, I’ve done some bad-mouthing about him, too, when he’s in a bad streak. But I do appreciate what he can and does bring to the team.


Posted by SandysWingingit on 05/03/13 at 04:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Yeah, so for approximately half of one season he’s taken more abuse than Z.  What about the rest of both of their careers in which Zetterberg took more abuse than Franzen?

Again, based on what?

Based on what makes a convenient argument for you?  I’m sorry Garth, but this is one of those “Just because you perceive something with your particular eyes doesn’t automatically make it fact” kind of things.  Your eyes are no more trained or special than anyone else’s here, and if you actually think so you’re a complete lunatic.

Here’s the thing though:  I have some data to back up my claim that Franzen’s body takes more of a beating than Z’s, in some cases a DRAMATICALLY big difference.  I unfortunately can’t find any actual Hits Given/Hits Taken kind of ratio stat anywhere.  However, I *can* find that data from NHL.com for just Hits.  Let’s have a look:

Franzen:  43
Zetterberg:  20

Franzen:  60
Zetterberg:  45

Franzen:  143 (yes, that’s the real number, in 76 GP)
Zetterberg:  38 (80 GP)

Franzen:  46 (27 GP)
Zetterberg:  45 (74 GP)

Now of course Hits is a flaky stat at times.  However, it’s also pretty easy to see a trend of Frazen putting his body out there more than Z over a good sample size.  And in the case of 10-11 the differential is astronomical.

Now the next question is:  how much time does Z spend in front of the net in the Homer role?  Very rarely if ever.  How much time has Franzen spent there?  Quite a bit in the past few years, and it’s not just only a recent thing.

Remember when Jamie McLennan slashed Franzen in the nuts basically… ending McLennan’s joke of an NHL career?  That was back in April 2007.  Do you remember *why* Franzen got speared?  Because he was one of the DET players who had his rear in Kiprusoff’s face the whole game.  Frazen was one of the guys driving Kipper absolutely crazy which is why they sent McLennan in to do that.  In 2007.  Kipper was slahing at him and others that whole game.  That’s already 6 years ago, seems like just yesterday.  Frazen was already doing that dirty work 6 years ago.

Here’s the point:  the data does not back up any assertion that Z takes as much or more of a beating than Mule.  That’s not saying Z *doesn’t* get abused, but Mule’s body looks to takes a lot more than most anyone on the team’s over that time period even.  If you want to know partially why Franzen seems to be injured a lot at times, that’s probably a good chunk of it.  And now with Homer completely gone, he’s taken even more this year as his net-front role has grown a bit.

But I’m going to need more than “But I see..” if you’re going to continue to insist Frazen is somehow just plain soft and lazy.  What data we can collect actually says otherwise.

Give the Mule some respect.

Posted by Primis on 05/03/13 at 09:29 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

This what I remember from last year I think.  If i’m wrong correct me.  Franzen never played center or killed penalties.

Yeah, that’s a big “Well Done!” to Coach Babs for figuring out how to get Mule involved in the games.  It took a some big attachments to put Franzen out there to kill penalties, but the gamble worked and he found himself trying harder than he wanted to (yes, I’m in the “He doesn’t skate in most Regular Season games and that frustrates the hell out of me” group) and that translated to him becoming engaged in the games…which translates into Mule putting the puck in the back of the net.  If his head isn’t in the game, the puck isn’t in the net.  That was one of Bab’s best coaching decisions over the last several seasons.  That idea may have earned us a Play-off spot.

And to throw my opinion…because why the hell not…I never wanted Mule traded or bought-out. I know that his cap-hit is manageable (It’s deals like his that made Bettman’s latest extended-vacation possible).  I know that the man lives to play in the Play-offs.  It is the lack of leg movement in regular season games.  It is 5 goals in one game in January and then 1 for the rest of the season.  It is the “meh” look on his face from October to March.  It’s because HE CAN be one of the best players in the league if he wants to be it drives us insane when it seems that he doesn’t care enough to be.

Also, Martin Frk is on the NHL Network right now with a replay of QMJHL’s Final Game 1.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/04/13 at 10:21 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.


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