No 'free pass' for Franzen in Game 2
Pens coach expects plenty of 'Mule' contact in front of crease
|Johan Franzen answers questions during Live at the Stanley Cup finals media day on Friday at Cobo Hall.|
“Mule’s been cleared; he’s in,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, poking his head into the media workroom.
Franzen has missed the last six games with headaches. He took the morning skate on Monday and stayed on the ice with the black aces for an extended time.
He is tied for the playoff goal scoring lead (12) with teammate Henrik Zetterberg. Franzen could be reunited on the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Mikael Samulesson.
With Franzen back in the lineup, right wing Darren McCarty will likely sit. McCarty has played in all but one of the Red Wings playoff games this season, registering two points and 19 penalty minutes.
At first, it looked like Franzen would sit out another game. At his post-practice press conference, Babcock said he didn’t know whether Franzen would suit up.
“I know he’s out they’re flying around, and I know it’s decision time,” Babcock said.
At the time, Franzen was still out skating on the ice with a few of the Red Wings' reserves. Red Wings personnel handed Babcock a note from athletic therapist Piet Van Zant during the press conference. Babcock read: “Piet just said right here: Nothing's on Franzen. He's not playing. Sorry.”
About 15 minutes later, Babcock reversed his comments — Franzen was a go for Game 2.
When asked about Franzen’s return in his press conference, Penguins coach Michel Therrien said his team would play Franzen hard.
“He's got a lot of success this year in the playoffs,” Therrien said. “He's going to have to be ready to play playoff hockey. And that means with all the intensity, with all the contact, and it's demanding.
“He's not going to have any free pass.”
Beyond Franzen, there will be no other lineup changes for the Red Wings on Monday. Chris Chelios (healthy scratch) will sit his second straight game.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS: As planned, Babcock met with the league after practice on Monday regarding Tomas Holmstrom’s goaltender interference penalty in Game 1.
“The rules didn't change,” Babcock said of what he learned in the meeting. “Everything's the same. That's over with. We're fortunate, and they're fortunate it had no impact in the end on the game. Now it's Game 2, and we gotta go to the net if we're going to score.”
Nicklas Lidstrom’s goal was called off in the first period of Game 1, and Holmstrom was sent to the box for interfering with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He swatted his stick between the legs of Fleury prior to Lidstrom’s shot hitting the net.
Babcock argued the call immediately on the ice, and had choice words about the incident in his postgame press conference.
“That's the rule, you can't put your stick in the crease now, is it?” Babcock asked after Game 1. “Did they change that when I wasn't watching?”
NOTES: Gary Roberts will replace Georges Laraque in the Pens’ lineup. “You bring experience,” Therrien said. “He brings intensity. He's a tough guy to play against. And for him it means a lot to be back in our lineup.” … Red Wings GM Ken Holland called Pens’ Sidney Crosby the “face of the game” last week at Media Day. Being such, he’s held press conferences every day during the series, just like the team’s coaches. “I try not to complain about it,” Crosby said. “It's not a terrible situation to be in the Stanley Cup finals and have to go to the podium every day. So I'll take it.” Crosby, who ranks behind Zetterberg for the playoff scoring lead, has 21 points (4 G, 17 A) in 15 games.