After practice ended Monday, Red Wings forward Johan Franzen and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson had a little fun outside the locker room. Wearing a harness around his waist, Franzen sprinted down the hallway, Ericsson holding onto the other end of the rope, trying to hold back the Mule.

This reeked of symbolism, coming two days before the Wings open their first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators: Franzen pulling his weight and then some.

It takes a lot of people to win a Stanley Cup, and one of them is a goal scorer. This is Johan Franzen's function. It was clear from the moment he joined the team for the 2005-06 season, when he netted seven goals before registering his first assist. The last two seasons, he has flirted with the 30-goal mark, held back only by injuries.