Friday, May 08, 2009

Franzen Has Been A Playoff Marvel

There are a number of things that stood out in the Red Wings’ 6-3 dismantling of the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night.
The way Red Wings coach Mike Babcock shuffled up his lines, most notably putting Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula together. The way the Red Wings didn’t cave after Anaheim scored less than a minute into the game. The way the Red Wings broke through against Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller, who looked more like the journeyman he is rather than the star he had played like previously this postseason. Hossa finally notching a goal.
To me, what stood out most, however, was Franzen. What a great playoff performer he has become. In his last 24 playoff games over the past two seasons, Franzen has 19 goals. He has six goals in 10 games this spring, proving his incredible playoff numbers last year were not a fluke.
To put Franzen’s statistics into perspective, San Jose’s Joe Thornton - proclaimed by CBC’s Don Cherry to be the greatest hockey player in the world - has 12 goals in 76 career playoff games.
A couple other factors in this series.
- Brad Stuart has been excellent. He has logged more playing time than even Nicklas Lidstrom as Babcock double shifts his defensemen with Brian Rafalski out.
- Chris Osgood has not been spectacular, but good enough.
- Darren Helm is a really, really good player. He’s been getting to the net and winning faceoffs. His speed sets the Ducks back on their heels.
- The Red Wings forecheck was very effective Thursday. They need to press Anaheim’s defense more during Game 5 Sunday
- It was sure weird seeing Jean-Sabastien Giguere in a mop up role.

Random Thoughts

- I don’t expect much from Dontrelle Willis when he returns next week. The Tigers have to find out sooner instead of later, though. The Twins are traditionally very patient hitters. Look for them to wait Willis out. It will be the ultimate test for him in that way.

- Anybody surprised Manny Ramirez was on performance enhancing substances? He arrived in the game at the height of the steroid era. It also helps to answer the question why so many teams were hesitant to sign Ramirez as a free agent last winter.

- So Brett Favre says he is going to stay retired. Wonder how many weeks it will be until he announces his return?

This is my column in Friday's Oakland Press about the Tigers:

The latest version of "The Book And His Boss."



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home