Franzen needs to bring the noise

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DETROIT -- Gustav Nyquist was in front of his dressing room stall and surrounded. Cameras and microphones and pens and notepads all took down his explanation as to why he hasn't been able to produce in the playoffs like he did in the run up to them.

He politely took on the questions: What is Boston doing to slow him down? What is the message from Mike Babcock? What can he do better in Game 5?

Then captain Henrik Zetterberg emerged. He walked to center of the main interview area of the Red Wings dressing room and, like moths to a light, attracted the interest of everyone in the room.

Nyquist was left alone, which Zetterberg noticed, joking that he saved him again. The young forward smiled, the questions finished, allowing him to leave in peace.

That's what a good captain like Zetterberg does. He eases the pressure on others by being the face of the team. It's why Sidney Crosby is out there time and time again, as accessible and available a superstar as there is in sports. Or any other team captain who knows that, if he talks, he's doing his teammates a service.

Usually, that's good enough. It gets the news people their soundbite. It gets the beat writers their information.

In Detroit on Friday, though, it might not have been. Fans have little interest or tolerance for media griping about who talks and who doesn't. Nor should they. They typically don't want to hear it as long as that player is putting forth the effort on the ice and producing to their expectation.

Now, with social media and team websites, there are more avenues than ever for fans to get the interaction with their favorite players that a local media outlet might have been the only one to offer in years past.

Where fans should care is when silence seeps onto the ice and, in the case of Johan Franzen, the possibility has been raised. He hasn't scored a goal in these playoffs, and a guy who used to score in bunches has just one goal since March 9. He's not a guy who wants attention, even when things are going well, but Mike Babcock is left to wonder if his silence, and declining of media requests, is building even more pressure on a player already under pressure to contribute offensively.

"I think Mule is a real good person, a real good man, real good family man, tries to be a real good teammate," Babcock said after practice on Friday. "Sometimes [he] doesn't handle probably you people as well as he should to help himself. To me, if you just step right up and just talk, makes it easy. When you don't, things build, I think it puts more pressure on yourself. I don't know why you would do that as a human being."

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