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.
“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.”