Thread: Franson
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11-09-2010, 07:10 PM
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Are we really trying to compare or analyze Lidstrom and Franson? Quick story about how good Lidstrom is.

Scotty Bowman used to talk to everyone at Red Wings practices, everyone, except Lidstrom. He would coach all the other guys and say what they weren't doing right. He never said a word to Lidstrom. Lidstrom thought Bowman hated him since he hardly if ever uttered a word in his direction. It wasn't until Bowman stopped coaching and left the team that Bowman let him in on the secret. The reason he didn't say a word to him was he didn't have to, Lidstrom did everything correct, in Bowman's eyes. Have you ever heard of that in any player? I don't think I have. Bowman coached quite a few elite defensemen over they years and Lidstrom was the best of the bunch.

All that said, I don't care how big, small, round, thin, etc, that you are. If you have a great set of physical tools and couple that with a mind that is far and above everyone else's, you go down as one of the greatest ever. Lidstrom's mind, coupled with his skills allow him to not take punishment, be in the right place at the right time, essentially making him the perfect player. There are very few guys like him if ever that have played this game. He just knows where to be and what play to make all the time. Very rarely, if ever, do you see him make a poor play or decision.

With that said, people will try to defend Franson and that's fine and good but he is a sub par defensive player at this point in his career. His offensive decisions and skills are about average at this point. While he's had a few nice goals and assists as of late, his decision making with the puck when leaving the defensive zone leaves a lot to be desired. A guy with his height and ability to see the ice should be able to make the correct pass from the back. While I see Grinder's point about wanting to see Franson use more of his size, I'd personally like to see him use his mind and skills to more of an advantage as he doesn't appear to be a punishing type player. He needs to learn better positioning and to anticipate the player better.

The same arguments were made for Zanon and his ability to block shots. While all that was fine and brave, more often than not he was out of position and having to block shots for not being in the right spot.

I would rather have a guy that doesn't hit and doesn't block shots to a guy who is positionally sound and knows how to play his position properly. I saw a play the other night where Lidstrom was the one guy back on a 2 on 1. He played the passing lane like he was supposed to. The pass comes across and instead of trying to knock it down with his stick, goes to the ice with one leg, impedes the progress of the puck with his leg, giving him a better chance of re-directing the puck, and breaking up the play and making it look easy. This is a guy in his 40's and still doing it better than everyone in the league.

While this thread is all fine and dandy and there is no right answer, Franson, at this point in his career, IMVHO, is a third pairing guy, at best. He has upside but if he doesn't get smarter while reading the play in front of him, he's not going to make it much past where he's at now. He could also learn to take some skating lessons to help improve his stride and speed.

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