When he had a goal and an assist in the first game of the playoffs, it looked like the start of another banner spring for Red Wings forward Johan Franzen.

Danny Cleary commented at the time that he thought Franzen "just hates the regular season," a nod to Franzen's playoff history, which includes tying the club record for consecutive games with a point and holding the club record for most goals in a series.

Then Franzen suffered a sprained ankle in Game 2 of the first-round series against Phoenix, rendering him ineffective the rest of the playoffs.

"We tried, and he tried, and every time he went out there, he just got worse and worse, as far as the injury went," Wings coach Mike Babcock said this past weekend. "In hindsight, should you have managed it different? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But our medical people did everything we could. We tried a bunch of different things, and the Mule being the Mule, he wanted to play, and that's what we love about him.