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Sport Ex-Red Wing Johan Franzen calls Mike Babcock 'the worst (person) I have ever met'

02:20  03 december  2019
02:20  03 december  2019 Source:   freep.com

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Mike Babcock left the Detroit Red Wings to become the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason, and Wings forward Johan Franzen Hey Nyquist, I know you been sad ever since your dad signed for Toronto so I had these custom bed sheets made for u so u always can be close to

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has told Swedish media Mike Babcock, is “the worst person I have ever met.”

In an interview with Expressen, Franzen described Babcock as a great coach, “but he's a terrible person, the worst I ever met. He’s a bully who was attacking people. It could be a cleaner at the arena in Detroit or anybody. He would lay into people without any reason.”

Asked if a player ever came to him and accused Babcock of abusive behavior, former Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press, “no. The answer is no.”

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Franzen also confirmed a story Chris Chelios revealed during Monday’s episode of the podcast, "Spittin’ Chiclets." The incident happened during Game 5 of the Wings’ 2012 playoff series against Nashville.

“Some of the things he (Babcock) said to him (Franzen) on the bench, I don’t know what he said to him behind closed doors one-on-one, but he blatantly verbally assaulted him during the game on the bench,” Chelios said. “It got to the point where poor Johan, no one really knowing he was suffering with the concussion thing and the depression thing, he just broke down and had nervous breakdown, not only on the bench but after the game in one of the rooms in Nashville.

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Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen has one assist in the series against the Boston Bruins. Babcock made a point of noting that Franzen is "a real good person , real good man and real good family If you just call each other out and have the hard meeting , then everyone would leave, and

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a man in a red uniform holding a gun: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen yells for the puck as he skates by coach Mike Babcock during practice on May 14, 2013, at Joe Louis Arena. © Julian H. Gonzalez, Julian H. Gonzalez Red Wings forward Johan Franzen yells for the puck as he skates by coach Mike Babcock during practice on May 14, 2013, at Joe Louis Arena.

“It was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”

The incident still haunts Franzen, who was forced to retire in 2015 after repeated head injuries caused him to suffer from post-concussion syndrome. He and his family returned to their native Sweden this past summer.

[ From 2018: Franzen has had 'really bad' few months, wife says ]

“I get the shivers when I think about it,” Franzen told Expressen. “That incident occurred against Nashville in the playoffs. It was coarse, nasty and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.

“He would lay into a couple of the other players. The nice team players, the guys who don’t say very much. When they left the team he went on to focus on me. It was verbal attacks, he said horrible things.”

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Babcock coached the Wings from 2005-2015. He left the Wings to coach the Maple Leafs, and was fired after 4½ seasons last month.

“From 2011 on, I was terrified of being at the rink,” Franzen said. “That’s when he got on me the first time. I just focused on getting out of bed every morning from that moment. Last year I could sleep naturally for the first time since then.

“It was just his attacks, playing in my head. Each and every day.”

Chris Chelios standing in a room: Former Red Wing Chris Chelios says thanks and good-bye to his fans during a press conference at his Cheli's Chili Bar in Detroit on June 24, 2009. © Patricia Beck, Detroit Free Press Former Red Wing Chris Chelios says thanks and good-bye to his fans during a press conference at his Cheli's Chili Bar in Detroit on June 24, 2009.

Chelios said players let Holland know about the incident at Nashville, but Chelios mixed up his time line.

“Ken Holland came down to the room and gave a speech, and supported Mike Babcock,” Chelios said on the podcast. “It was a great speech, but it was to tell everybody in the room, ‘If you don’t like it, you could be traded. Come up and see me and get traded,' and that’s the way that ended.”

Holland told the Free Press he talked to Chelios on Monday afternoon, and that Chelios admitted the incident he describes with Holland did not happen after the Nashville game. Chelios said he was in the locker room when Holland told players that if they had a problem with Babcock, they were welcome to address it with Holland in his office.

Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios says Mike Babcock was 'verbally assaulting' Detroit Red Wings' Johan Franzen

  Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios says Mike Babcock was 'verbally assaulting' Detroit Red Wings' Johan Franzen Chelios, who played 26 years in the NHL, said Franzen once had a nervous breakdown during and after a playoff game because Babcock's actions.Chris Chelios — who played 26 seasons in the NHL — alleged on Barstool Sports' Spittin Chiclets podcast on Monday that Mike Babcock verbally assaulted former Red Wings forward Johan Franzen to the point that Franzen had a nervous breakdown.

Chelios last played for the Wings in 2009-10. He joined the organization as an advisor to Holland, and joined head coach Jeff Blashill’s coaching staff in June 2015.

“The situation Chelios described had nothing to do with Franzen,” Holland said. “They were separate situations. That happened after a game in San Jose, when someone had said something on a telecast about there being unrest in the locker room. I told players they could come to me if they had anything to say. No one did.”

More on Chelios: 'Nothing tops' years he spent with Red Wings

In a text message to the Free Press, Chelios said he made his comments about Babcock and wanted to leave it at that. Babcock did not return a message requesting comment.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ex-Red Wing Johan Franzen calls Mike Babcock 'the worst (person) I have ever met'

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