Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010-2011 Player Profiles: Johan Franzen...

Hey, kids, guess what? Hockey's almost here. That means it's time for me to get back into this whole blogging thing that I've neglected during the off-season. Since I lack the creativity to come up with a new gimmick, I decided to continue the Player Profiles series I did last year leading up to the season. I'll be taking a look at a different player (almost) every day between now and when hockey starts. By my count, there are 19 days until the Wings open the regular season. Get excited. Today's subject:

Johan Franzen

2009-2010 Regular Season: 27 GP, 10-11-21, +/- 1, 22 PIM
2010 Playoffs: 12 GP, 6-12-18, +/- 8, 16 PIM

Season Highlight: Game Four against the Sharks. This was the most obvious choice I've made for any of these profiles.
Season Lowlight: Missing most of the season after tearing his ACL.

Last season was supposed to be Franzen's big year after he signed that life-long contract. Instead, he tore his ACL in an early-season game against Chicago. Of course, he still managed to finish the game and score a goal, thus making the news of his injury even more shocking when it was announced the next day. Franzen's absence left the Wings with a huge hole in their roster and missing him was a major part of their offensive struggles.

He did, however, surprise everyone by returning to the Wings' lineup prior to the Olympics and even taking Tomas Holmstrom's place on Sweden's Olympic squad. After missing that much time, it seemed like he didn't fully round into form until the playoffs. There's no doubt, though, that getting him back on the roster played a huge role in helping the Wings power their way up the standings and into the playoffs down the stretch.

This season should be a much different story for the Mule. He has the ability to take over games when he wants to (case in point: the above-mentioned Game Four) and when he's on his game, it can be a sight to see. I have a feeling we're going to see good things from Franzen this season.

What he needs to do to make me smile: Be the Mule we all know and love.

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