Babcock always uses his centers as shutdown guys, especially against the Sharks, who were extremely deep down the middle (Thornton/Pavelski/Couture). That he trusted Filppula to play center on a line with Franzen and Hudler, two huge defensive liabilities, shows how much he trusted Filppula to play a defensive/backchecking role on that line.
In the Sharks series Filppula centered Franzen and Hudler, and you say he was being used primarily as a defensive center?
Well, I guess that means Hudler was being used in a defensive role, right? So the fact that he didn't score any points either doesn't matter because he wasn't out there to score points.
The fact that Franzen played like s***, and then got injured and kept playing like s*** is what kept that line from scoring. But people here don't like to bag on Franzen for some odd reason. Here's a nice juicy fact. FRANZEN SUCKED. FRANZEN WAS THE REASON THE FRANZEN/FILPPULA/HUDLER LINE WASN'T SCORING. Not Flip, and not Huds. They were both effective in all of the games that line played.
And yes, Franzen sucked. But then again, that's nothing new. He has large periods during the regular season where he sucks/is invisible.
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