news 5 days ago

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen calls Mike Babcock 'the worst person I've ever met'

Sporting News — (Sammi Silber)

In wake of Chris Chelios' interview on Barstool Sports podcast "Spittin' Chiclets" in which the Hockey Hall of Famer alleged former Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock of "verbally assaulting" Johan Franzen, Franzen himself discussed his experience with Babcock in an emotional interview with Swedish publication Expressen.

The 39-year-old, who is still under contract with Detroit but hasn't played in the NHL since 2015-16, said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression — as well as concussion issues — following his time in the NHL.

"Sometimes everything just collapses and there is no light at all. Then you almost give up," Franzen told Expressen (translated with Google Translate).

MORE: Chris Chelios discusses Mike Babcock's alleged behavior toward Johan Franzen

Franzen claimed that Babcock would direct "verbal attacks" toward players and say "terrible things," which took a toll on him during his time with the Red Wings.

"He was on a couple of other players before ... those who don't say that much. When they disappeared the [negative energy] passed to me," Franzen added.

Looking at Babcock's coaching career, Franzen called him "extremely accurate and prepared," but added that he's a "terrible person."

"[He's] the worst person I've ever met. A bully ... " Franzen said, adding, "He was a specialist in managing the media. He creates teams that are very difficult to beat, you can't take that away from him. But he makes his players very anxious. They are terrified of making mistakes and his team rarely makes it past the first playoff round.

The Swedish left wing also said in the interview that he got help for his concussions and PTSD alongside military veterans.

Franzen said that Babcock will "surely get a new [job]," but hopes that his behavior toward players will change moving forward. The full interview can be found here.

In 11 seasons and 602 career games with the Red Wings, Franzen recorded 187 goals and 370 points.