Franzen earns spot alongside Red Wings legends
by Ansar Khan
Friday May 09, 2008, 12:12 AM
DETROIT -- Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Johan Franzen.
No, it's not the Detroit Red Wings' new Production Line, but Franzen's postseason production has earned him a spot in the record books alongside those legends.
Franzen tied a franchise record by scoring in his fifth consecutive playoff game in Thursday's 4-1 victory over Dallas in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at Joe Louis Arena. He now shares the mark with Howe (1949, 1964) and Lindsay (1952). And he seemed a little embarrassed by it.
"I don't want to look at myself that way (as a star), I still want to look at myself as a hard worker out there," Franzen said "I don't think about those records right now, maybe I'll look back on it after the season or when I quit playing."
Franzen's power-play goal at 15:34 of the first period -- he tipped in a shot by Niklas Kronwall -- turned out to his league-leading fifth game-winner of the playoffs. It was his 12th goal, adding to a team record he broke in his last game. He has 27 goals in his last 27 games, including the regular season.
"He was in front of (Dallas goaltender Marty) Turco tonight," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We did a good job of that early tonight, especially since Turco's been on fire. We can't let him have space, we have to be right there and back him in."
Brunnstrom chooses Dallas
Fabian Brunnstrom had a better chance to play right away on one of the top two lines in Dallas than he did in Detroit, so he chose to sign with the Stars on Thursday, ending months of speculation on where the highly touted 23-year-old Swedish prospect would land.
"We've courted him pretty hard and I would have been excited if we had him, but I'm not disappointed that we don't have him," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "I think it's an honor to be a Red Wing. He obviously felt he had a better opportunity elsewhere. Good for him."
Brunnstrom, a late-blooming winger who became a free agent after being overlooked in the draft, visited the Stars, Red Wings and Montreal last week. The only assurance the Red Wings, with their deep and talented roster, could make was that he would be with the team for the first month of the season. After that his status would depend on his performance.
"Our feeling was he's a young player, we roll four lines, there was an opportunity," Holland said. "He sees the style of hockey, we've seen the development of (Dan) Cleary, (Valtteri) Filppula, Kronwall, Franzen and (Mikael) Samuelsson in three years in a Red Wing uniform and in the end he chose to be somewhere else. That's fine. He's got to do what he thinks is best for him. ... We want people who want to be here and think this is the place for them."
It was all about opportunity, as money was not an issue. Every team offered the maximum allowed under the rookie salary cap (base salary of $850,000 and bonuses of up to $850,000).
"He's young, he's big, he's fast and he's got skill, exactly what you need to play in the NHL," Stars co-GM Brett Hull said.
Told Brunnstrom likes to back-check and play defense, Hull said, "I wouldn't know. I never looked at that. ... That's what you have defense and goalies for."Maltby in for McCarty
Kirk Maltby made his playoff debut this year, replacing Darren McCarty on the fourth line with Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler. Maltby missed the final two games of the regular season and the first round against Nashville with a pulled hamstring. He was available during the second round vs. Colorado, but Babcock didn't want to change a winning lineup.
"A tough decision," Babcock said. "Mac played real good. (We) wanted more speed. When they had (Brad) Winchester in, we thought it was a good move for us. Maltby is a good player, a good penalty-killer, plays with lots of tempo. We feel this series is going to get faster and faster."
It was the first playoff game McCarty has missed as a Red Wing, after playing in 160 straight. Babcock said McCarty and Maltby will be in the pregame warm-ups every game, before a decision is made on who plays.http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf ... ide_r.html