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Captain suggests Wings' Mule may need a swift kick

Friday, 05.17.2013 / 6:29 PM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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Henrik Zetterberg said Friday that it's time to make Johan Franzen "a little grumpy" in order to get him to play better in this series against Chicago. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

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.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
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11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80