Franzen: Babcock is ‘worst person I’ve ever met’

DETROIT - JANUARY 26: Head coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings talks to Johan Franzen #39 on the bench during a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Joe Louis Arena on January 26, 2006 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings won the game 2-1. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (2006 Getty Images)

Tell us how you really feel, Johan. 😲

Yes, Johan Franzen has joined the growing list of NHL players speaking out about coach Mike Babcock.

“As a coach he is extremely accurate and prepared. He is great at putting together a gaming system and getting everyone to buy into it. That’s his strong side,” Franzen told Swedish newspaper Expressen. “But then he’s a terrible man, the worst person I’ve ever met. A bully who cheated on people, it could be cleaners in the Detroit arena or anyone. He jumped on people just because.”

Franzen was approached about Babcock yesterday after Chris Chelios’ interview with the Spittin Chiclets podcast. Chelios said Babcock “blatantly verbally assaulted" Franzen during a playoff game, helping Franzen suffer a “nervous breakdown."

Chelios said team leaders stayed silent about this incident and several others with the coach because they were afraid of being traded. He said Ken Holland gave some big speech in support of Babcock, basically leaving the door open for trading anyone who didn’t want to play for the coach.

This, coupled with what Carlo Colaiacovo said last week about players in Detroit hating Babcock and wanting him fired, has only left us with more questions about Babcock and specifically about his tenure with the Red Wings, his relationship with Ken Holland and the rest of the Detroit front office at the time.

Of course, it would be interesting to hear from Nicklas Lidstrom or Henrik Zetterberg about this, too.

Eric Comrie is newest Red Wing goalie 🥅

Anyway ... back to the present-day Red Wings (latest losing streak is at 10 now, FYI):

GM Steve Yzerman has made another trade, this time for a goalie. Eric Comrie, 24, joined the team and backed up Jonathan Bernier on Monday night. I wrote about his final season with the Jets this week, how he ended up on waivers, why the Arizona Coyotes picked him up at the beginning of this season, and how he’s not waivers-exempt at this point in his career.

That final point is a big part of why he’s on the NHL roster right now instead of Calvin Pickard, who was recalled last week only to be sent back down to the AHL after Comrie was acquired. Comrie would need to clear waivers before he could be assigned to the AHL. He’s too high of a prospect, however, so he’s probably not clearing waivers right now.

The 2nd-round pick by the Jets in 2013 had his breakout pro year this past season with the Manitoba Moose -- 0.917 save percentage and 25 wins in 47 games played for the AHL team. A lot of people are expecting him to take the next step soon. The Maple Leafs were rumored to be interested in possibly adding him as a backup right now. But in stepped Steve Yzerman, ready to give Comrie a chance here with the Red Wings, as he’s done a couple other times already this season with Brendan Perlini and Robby Fabbri.

With Jimmy Howard on IR for however long and Bernier, well, he’s just Bernier, let’s face it, this could be Comrie’s job for the taking as early as this season, and perhaps for sure next season. He’s getting the opportunity to show his value.

Red Wings Hive? ✍️

Is this a newsletter name? -- “Red Wings Hive.”

I kind of like it, but I’m not sold yet. Send me your ideas when you’re bored.

- Dave | dbartkowiak@wdiv.com

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