Blogs > Red Wings Corner

Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Left-handed compliment

Halfway through the first period of Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wing forward Johan Franzen found himself with the puck deep in Chicago territory wide of the net.

Being a left-handed shot, Franzen carried the puck closer to the net than to the boards. Instead of driving closer to the net or snapping a shot from that angle, Franzen flipped the puck quickly to his backhand and took a shot from a worse angle than he originally had.

The shot didn't get by Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet, but the unusual move did create a rebound opportunity that Henrik Zetterberg just missed converting into a Detroit goal.

The backhand and the deception it creates has become one of Franzen's most dangerous weapons.

"If the goalie's taking his angle on me on the forehand, the quicker I can move it over and snap it on my backhand, the better," said Franzen. "To find a hole is the only way to take it to the backhand because you shoot better with the forehand."

Three of Franzen's 11 goals this season were scored on a back-hand shot. During his dominance of last spring's playoffs, Franzen netted four goals off backhanders among his 13 post-season tallies.

For Franzen, the tradeoff is giving up some of the zip of a forehand shot for a chance at surprising the goalie by changing both shot angle and timing.

"I don't think about it," said Franzen. "Every situation is different. It's about finding a way, finding the net. Every situation is different, especially in this league where the goalies are used to shots coming right away. So if you can hold on for a second and do something different, you can surprise him a little."


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