Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Johan Franzen Jersey Card

When you're nicknamed The Mule by Steve Yzerman because you can ''carry the load'', you're doing something right, and throughout his NHL career, Johan Franzén has done a lot of things right with the Detroit Red Wings, even breaking an old Gordie Howe team record by scoring 6 game-winning goals in the same month, with Howe present, celebrating his 80th birthday.

That's right, I just found a way to talk about The Mule by name-dropping two of the five best Wings players of all time (for the record, the other three in my opinion are Terry Sawchuk, Alex Delvecchio and Ted Lindsay).

He also broke another Howe record by scoring 9 goals in the same playoff series in 2008. As a matter of fact, his points production is actually better come playoff time than during the regular season; he knows how and when to step up to help his team succeed, which is why he has a Stanley Cup (2008) and World Championship gold (2006); he had been named to Team Sweden's 2014 Olympic team that eventually won silver, but had to bow out due to injury (a concussion, which didn't stop the Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil from trying to fight him) and was replaced by Wings teammate Gustav Nyquist.

He also shares Detroit's post-season scoring record of 13 goals in the same year with captain Henrik Zetterberg, and is one of only three Wings to have scored five goals in a single game.

Having signed an 11-year contract under the old CBA, Franzen's tied to the Wings until 2019-20, when he'll turn 40 years old. Though Detroit's no longer the powerhouse it was in the 1990s and early 2000s due to the salary cap, they are still consistent playoff contenders, and in most years that can be enough to make it to a certain point; the current crop of kids they have coming up is really impressive, and I see them winning another Cup before The Mule retires.

I'm a huge fan, which is why I cherish this card of him wearing his rookie jersey number (#39) rather than the #93 he's been sporting since 2006-07, from Upper Deck's 2006-07 Be A Player Portraits set (card #FE-JF of the First Exposures sub-set), featuring a small white piece of jersey that was worn in a photo shoot:
I'm thinking of writing him this season, so we'll see how that pans out.

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