As you might have heard, Cody Franson made a really messy debut with the Toronto media today. Here are my two cents on the matter.Â Before you start reading, this is part of what was said:
â€œI donâ€™t want to be a guy that misses games,â€ says Franson, who is in the final season of his contract. â€œIâ€™m supposed to be coming into my own. This was supposed to be my breakout year. Thatâ€™s what I was working towards this summer. I was getting myself into shape to play bigger minutes and a bigger role. I prepared myself for that. For some reason, it just didnâ€™t turn out that way.â€
Now, before we start labeling Franson a crybaby, this may not say anythingÂ except that the guy really wants to play. Personally, I think many players experience a similar mindset when benched or scratched, but you can argue that not all of them or very few of them speak out (and for a reason). After you admit to that fact, you can then proceed to question the character of that player and whether or not he fits into the team-first model.
But all that seems rather hasty at this point, and it’s important to acknowledge as a newcomer he might not understand the Toronto market quite yet. Coming fromÂ a market like Nashville, he probably doesn’t realize what dropping quotes like this one can do in this market’s environment.
But it gets worse:
“You can only wait so long,” says Franson, whose agent told him to be as patient asÂ he can. “I just think itâ€™s one of those things where I really want to play and feel I canÂ contribute a lot more to this team than I am right now. Itâ€™s an awkward situation.”
I’m not so sure it was, but it may well be now. ‘So long?’ Weâ€™re two games into the new season. Franson has to control what he can, and itâ€™s up to him to fight for a spot in practice, not wait and hope. In a way, this speaks to our team’s blueline depth. The other part of it speaks to his lack of patience and maybe, partly, to frustration over his own performance so far.
“I expected to come here and be a key part of this team,” Franson says. “I had eight goals last year and was plus-10 on a team that couldnâ€™t score. I had a lot of confidence coming here. Itâ€™s tough to keep that the way this has turned out.”
Like I said, the guy wants to play, but after this player agent act you get the feeling it was a little bit on the extreme side.
Whatever we might think of the situation, only two things are really important. First off, I donâ€™t think that trying to force Burkeâ€™s/Wilsonâ€™s hand via the media is the smartest idea in the world. Frankly, those two really arenâ€™t the type to be pushed around, especially by a player who they currently have warming seats on the bench. Secondly, by speaking out in this manner, Franson has certainly put himself in a higher pressure situation. This means, if given the chance on Saturday, he really has to perform and prove that his words have merit. If he doesnâ€™t? Well, coaches have a doghouse for a reason.