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Detroit Gamebreaker: Johan Franzen

Wednesday, 04.14.2010 / 3:18 PM ET / News
By Phil Coffey
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Detroit Gamebreaker: Johan Franzen
There are a fair number of NHL players who make their teammates better. There aren't quite as many who make star players better.

Meet Detroit's Johan Franzen.

"Mule" as he is affectionately known around Joe Louis Arena, is one of those old-school, let's-go-to-the-front-of-the-net types who excels at converting loose pucks and rebounds into goals. He has been especially ornery, as his nickname implies, in the last two playoffs, first scoring 13 goals in 16 games as the Wings won the 2008 Stanley Cup, and 12 in 23 games as Detroit went seven games in the 2009 finals.

This season, a knee injury took Franzen out of the lineup for 55 games. But upon his return to the lineup just prior to the Olympics, the Red Wings got it together, thanks in large part to the chemistry between Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk.
He can make plays all day long, but if no one ever shoots it in the net, what good is it? 'Mule' is a huge talent, he's a big man and he's excited; he hasn't played all year and he's fresh. That helps Pavel and it helps our whole team. - Detroit coach Mike Babcock

In the first 11 games Franzen had been back in the lineup, Datsyuk was, well, Pavel Datsyuk, scoring 7 goals and 5 assists while shaking off the doldrums of a disappointing season.

"He can make plays all day long, but if no one ever shoots it in the net, what good is it?" Babcock said of Datsyuk. "'Mule' is a huge talent, he's a big man and he's excited; he hasn't played all year and he's fresh. That helps Pavel and it helps our whole team."

"I know they were good together before, but not that good," goaltender Chris Osgood told Chris McCosky of The Detroit News. "They are really clicking. Pav is a guy that makes everybody around him real good, and I think Mule does the same for him. Mule is a big guy who works the flank and when he goes to the net,
Pav is able to get him the puck.

"It's a give-and-take thing for both. They really complement each other well, and Pav's not the easiest guy to play with. He does a lot of different things that other players can't do and Mule is able to read off him real well."




SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  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
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
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 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59