I believe that No one can stop THE FRANZEN! More specifically I believe that the 6’3 Swedish center for the Detroit Red wings, Johan Franzen, is going to have an unprecedented career year in Detroit this 2008-2009 hockey season.
Johan Franzen joined the Detroit Redwings for the 2005-2006 seasons after playing five seasons for Linkoping in the Swedish elite league Elitserien. Franzen recorded a meager 16 points (12 goals 4 assists) in 80 games in his rookie season with the Red wings. Nothing special or in any way indicative of the way Franzen would end last year’s post season. The Redwings post season quest for the Stanley Cup unleashed an amazing breakthrough in the play of Johan Franzen.
It started just Prior to the end of the regular season. Franzen recorded his sixth game winning goal for the month of March on March 30th breaking the Record held by Hockey great and former Redwing Gordie Howe from 1952 and repeated by Howe in 1956. Then on April 18 Franzen scored the game winning overtime goal in the Western Conference Semi Finals game five against the Nashville Predators giving Detroit five wins in the 7 game series and advanced them to the next round in the Playoffs. Then on April 26 2008 in the second series of the playoffs the Madness began when Franzen scored three goals, a hat trick, in one game against the Colorado Avalanche in game two. Franzen did not stop he continued to pound Goalie Jose Theodore with pucks and in game 4 Franzen recorded his second Hat Trick of the series. Franzen Scored 9 goals in four games against Colorado establishing himself as the first NHL player to ever do so in the history of the league. With this amazing feat Johan beat another Gordie Howe record. In 1949 Howe had Scored 8 goals in a seven game series. This record was not only the only of its kind on the Detroit Red Wings but also had held fast in the league since 1949. No player had ever beaten it. And here a Player that was not anywhere near the top scoring, assisting or point holding players in the league just came out of the ordinary and became extraordinary. Johan scored the Stanley Cup game Winning goal. He currently holds a franchise record shared with teammate Henrik Zetterberg for 13 goals in a playoff year. Previously the record was held at 10 by Peter Klima, Sergei Federov and Brett Hull.
Prior to the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Johan Franzen was a seemingly average player that had been in the league a short time. Not a household name by any stretch of the imagination. The Former Redwings Captain had nicknamed him the MULE because his only outstanding trait seemed to be that he was incredibly hard working and stubborn. But in an amazing payoff to his work ethic and seeming steadfast stubbornness, the MULE has become an OVERNIGHT HERO and amazing and brilliant goal scorer. It just goes to show that Hockey is a team Sport and under the right conditions people working together as a team accelerates the potential of everyone involved. Every one took it to a higher level on Detroit and Franzen took it to the Highest level of all.
I don’t think it will stop here. I was at a Preseason game this weekend in Detroit against Buffalo. The Franzen scored two of the three goals and was a few millimeters away from a third. The Post saved the Sabers from another Franzen Hat Trick not the Brilliant Goal tender Ryan Miller. Wow. I know the MULE is here to stay. He just woke up one morning and was exceptional. Maybe there is something in this for everyone. Some people are born exceptionally talented and have an easy time doing the extraordinary, but maybe for most it is an exceptional work ethic, dedication and being a team player that make the difference.