Mar 29, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Red Wings right wing Johan Franzen (93) during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Red Wings beat the Maple Leafs 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

What Will Wake Up Johan Franzen?

We can all agree that something has been lacking in the last half of this season with Johan Franzen, to put it lightly.

And yes. That includes myself as well, the self-proclaimed Franzen-lover–in case you never noticed that my picture here is me with the Mule.

But I can deny it no longer:

Johan Franzen has not been helping this team.

It’s almost cringe-worthy when you see a #93 jersey gracing the ice because you can’t help but wonder what sort of lazy blunder he’s going to make. Look at Game One–he made a lazy pass that got caught in traffic. Luckily enough, Pavel Datsyuk plays on a completely different level of hockey than everyone else and passed it to himself through his own legs to score the game-winning (and only) goal of the game.

It’s frustrating on so many levels to see Franzen playing like this, especially when we know that he’s can be capable of so much more. We like to harken back to that 2008 series against the Colorado Avalanche, because when Franzen is in the zone, he can nearly single-handedly destroy the opposition. But that begs the question…

Will Johan Franzen ever wake up during these playoffs?

The Mule plays his best kind of hockey when he’s ticked off. What does he have to do in order to get ticked off? Well, he seemed to be trying in Game Two against the Boston Bruins. (Thankfully, he didn’t go as far as Brendan Smith did, attempting to fight the Frost Giant that is Zdeno Chara.)

When Franzen plants himself at the front of the net in a Tomas Holmstrom-like manner, he’s racked up quite a few goals. If you have seen any of these first two games, you may have noticed that Tuukka Rask gives up many a rebound.

And yet, none of our players have been there.

The Bruins are very good at intercepting passes and getting sticks in the lane, but if the Red Wings had a player planted at the front of the net–Franzen, Justin Abdelkader to name the two that take on that role from time to time–they might get some chances at juicy rebounds and unnerve the Bruins just a bit.

So will Johan Franzen wake up this series? Anything is possible. If Mike Babcock is as smart as we all believe/know, he’ll plant Franzen in front of the net and tell him to score dirty, dirty goals. Maybe he’ll take a few crosschecks to the back like Holmstrom and that will tick him off.

Then things will really get going.

Tags: 2014 Playoffs Detroit Red Wings Johan Franzen NHL

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