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Babcock perplexed by Franzen’s media silence

Apr 25, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT

FranzenBabcock Getty Images

Detroit forward Johan Franzen has turned down “several” media requests for interviews during the team’s opening-round series against Boston and, on Friday, Wings head coach Mike Babcock addressed the elephant in the dressing room.

From CBS Detroit:

“This is what I would say to you – I think Mule’s a real good person, a real good man, real good family man, tries to be a real good teammate, sometimes doesn’t handle you people as well as he should to help himself.

“To me, if you just step right up and just talk, it makes it easy. But when you don’t, things build and then I think that puts more pressure on yourself. I don’t know why you do that. Sometimes, and it’s no different than companies. You see this every day in business is you have a meeting, no one says anything, you walk out the door and you talk behind each other’s back. If you just call each other up and have the hard meeting, then everyone would leave and we’d get on with progress.

“Have the hard interview and get on with it and make it easier on yourself. He’s a man. He’s got to deal with that himself.”

Exacerbating the issue has been Franzen’s lack of production this series — no goals and just one assist through four games, with a mere 10 total shots on goal. For someone that’s had as much playoff success as Franzen (80 points in 106 career games), it’s not surprising reporters want to speak to him this time of year, more so given he’s struggled to produce.

When asked about Franzen’s lack of scoring thus far, Babcock was blunt.

“We need more out of the Mule,” Babcock said, per the Macomb Daily. “Plain and simple.”

  1. imleftcoast - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Franzen was one of the better forwards last night – took some hard hits, and made some plays. I can’t second-guess as a good as Babcock, but it seems like Franzen was contributing. Speaking of second-guessing, I loved Mr. Peanut interviewing Babcock during the first period about the stretch pass him and Emerck thought was the innovation of the last 20 years. That’s some doctor NBC has there.

  2. canucks30 - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    No player should be forced to pander to the media. If he doesn’t want to talk, he shouldn’t have to.

    • pwshrugged - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      The whole “locker room/player access” thing is one of my least favorite aspects of sports. I think the media access thing should be formally restricted to captains and the alternates, with a caveat that if a “star of the game” volunteers to give an interview, that’s up to them.

      And I think there should be no locker room interviews; any players who want to take questions should just sit at the post-game presser with the coach.

      On-ice interviews would be exempt from this, though.

    • njadvocate111 - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Franzen’s current contract is worth $45 mil, suck it up. Like Babcock said, he’s a man and media being involved in pro sports isn’t going away. So you can either make it worse for yourself and your team by becoming a distraction, or make things easier on everyone by just getting on board. You think Hank want to talk to the media every day? But he does it because otherwise it becomes a distraction. If Babcock dances around that question it only becomes more of an issue Now is not the time to baby these guys. Its time for them to do what they get paid to do. Last thing the Wings need now is outside distractions.

      • mikebel11 - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        As much as the media would like to think of it as a distraction, I can tell you that no player in the locker room gives a crap whether their teammate talks to the media or not. Nothing the media creates is a distraction to anyone regardless of how often the media tells you it’s a distraction. Besides is it really that important to talk to him? You could easily just make up your own quotes and come pretty damn close to what he would have said anyway. “I’m just not getting the bounces right now. I’m gonna go out there a take it shift by shift, work hard, play physical and keeping getting chances, eventually it’ll come. Obviously no one wants to go down 3-1, every ones got to contribute and we need a big win in game 5.” There you go. Every standard hockey cliche. Now you don’t need to talk to Franzen.

    • sabatimus - Apr 25, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Another reason I hate the NBA.

  3. matt14gg - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    That’s one way to add gasoline to a small dumpster fire. Seems weird that Babcock would take this approach. It’s kind of like he’s calling Franzen out. There’s obviously tension between Franzen and the media, but it also seems there’s tension between Franzen and Babcock. Either way it seems counterproductive to make it public…and honestly it’s really none of Babcock’s business.

  4. pwshrugged - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Who cares? Mule is evidently frustrated, although he had a solid Game 4, and he knows he’s going to get hammered by the media because his reputation is as a playoff performer, and everyone likes to get all worked up about his long-term contract (which really isn’t THAT bad, but it’s not great, either).

    As for Babcock, he’s just being common sensical. His approach is “do it, get it over with, and they’ll stop bugging you, and you can get it off your shoulders.” And I think it’s no secret to anyone that the Wings need Franzen to step up.

    But still, this is pretty run-of-the-mill non-issue playoff stuff.

  5. david1919 - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Frazen has amnesty written all over him, make it happen Kenny Holland!

    • oldfatbaldguy - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      Because he’s not producing well enough to justify his status as the team’s fifth-highest-paid forward?

      • rbbbaron - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        If you take into account Legwand and Alfie’s bonus, he’s the sixth

    • rbbbaron - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      Yeah, amnesty a guy with a cap hit of less than 4mil while the market is probably about to give Callahan the 6.5-7mil over 6 years that he’s looking for. A comparatively inconsistent Alex Semin makes 7mil per year. Meanwhile Holland is paying Tootoo 1.9mil to play for Grand Rapids.

      • hockeydon10 - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        THANK YOU!

        Yes, he’s streaky. But his production vs cap hit comparables are very good.

  6. ibieiniid - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    should the local sports talk station be expecting a call from the Mule soon?

    (just a joke. I actually thought it was ballsy of Phaneuf to do that)

  7. muckleflugga - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    why is this news when bruins are reinventing themselves game in and game out … now that’s news

    perhaps lucic going after another man’s ringmeat then yet another man’s balls has rendered the mule speechless, or in the least speaking in a range three octaves higher

    perhaps the big bad bruins dropping the bad then simply dropping at sight of their own shadows has left johan at a loss for words … whuuuuuuump clatter clatter whine

    perhaps the vision of brad marchand outing himself by swapping tongues with a flabbergasted stud like jarome iginla has left franzen at a loss for words –pass the penicillin honey, i’m not feeling well

    if franzen’s at a loss for words, it’s hard to imagine how all the rough tough creampuffs from south boston are managing …

    in 2011 they were all strutting hard-ons and stinking with dwarf-like machismo typical to the inbred irish, trashing a superior hockey team like canucks, and trashing superior players like the sedins, but look what their team’s become

    hockey’s favourite punchline in 2014

    about to get destroyed by a bunch of fat and sassy canadiens, yet again … what a disgrace for boston, the perennial doormat to montréal

    does it get any better …?

    • njadvocate111 - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      We have a French poet among us common folk! You try so hard in every post to be witty and clever, thinking you are so much smarter and better than everyone. Weird how a fan base takes on the persona of their team. If you don’t like the way the NHL game is played (by everyone), do everyone a “favour” and take a long walk off a short pier. Or , better yet I think the Raptors are in the midst of a series themselves, seems like the non contact sports that focus on individuals rather than the unit is your type of digs.

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        Think he’s off his meds again.

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        Think he’s off his meds again.

    • infectorman - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      It gets better alright.
      After the Beastly Bruins dispatch the over-matched Wings they get to take out their frustrations on the pretenders from up north who got to play a D3 Goalie in round 1.
      Here’s to hoping the descendants or Guy, Ken D and Rocket Richard get as stale as MuglyFugly’s misplaced ramblings while waiting for one last Bruin beatdown of the Wings.

      Panic in Detroit

      • gallyhatch - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        Bowie reference just made my day!

        : )

  8. miketoasty - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Man I wish the Pens had a coach like Babcock, seems like he always knows what to say and when to say it. Sorry just had to throw that out there.

    • mangoman1966 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      And it doesn’t take him 20 minutes to think of an answer

  9. amityvillefun - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    This is a cry baby attitude and not manly in the slightest. You make a ton of money, play a game you love, and play for one of the best franchises in sports. Suck it up and do your job.

    If you are going to be a player in the NHL, dealing with fame and the media is part of the job. Having a temper tantrum only makes you look like a child. He might as well wear a diaper acting like that. Maybe he can be the new spokesman for Huggies or Pampers.

    His coach is 100% right. Kudos to Babcock for telling him like it is.

  10. tapefolie - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Should have signed Hossa.

  11. titansbro - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Who cares if he doesn’t answer a bunch of lame-o questions that no fan really cares about? I know the media likes to think they represent the fans but if they did we’d get more questions like, “Mr Phaneuf, do you realize how douchey it is to have 30 flat bill baseball caps arranged in your closet by color?”

  12. the8man - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    I dunno what’s going on here, but Babcock is a helluva coach. So as an outsider with some perspective, I think you follow his lead.

  13. lennaykekua - Apr 27, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Good kid

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