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Franzen: ”He is the worst person I have ever met”

This clip is part of an interview with Johan Franzén first published in december 2018.
Johan Franzen.Foto: BILDBYRÅN
Mike Babcock.Foto: TONY DING / AP FR143848 AP

Mike Babcock is being accused of using abusive mind games against his players.

Former Swedish NHL player Johan Franzen now reveals that he has had nightmares about Babcock since 2011. 

– He is the worst person I have ever met, Franzen says. 

The accusations against former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock keep growing. 

After the former Stanley Cup winning coach was fired by the Leafs on November 20, a number of former players have come forward to reveal experiences of Babcock’s oppressive leadership.

Two weeks ago retired NHL player Mike Commodore tweeted:

”Hey Mike Babcock … simply put your players quit on you. They quit on you because you are a terrible human being. You are an average coach with an extremely oversized ego. You finally got exactly what you deserve … The hockey world is ecstatic”.

Former Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios said, during a recent appearance on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, that Babcock ”verbally assaulted” Johan Franzen during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs when the Red Wings faced the Nashville Predators, causing Franzen to have a ”nervous breakdown.”

Johan Franzen: ”I get the shivers when i think about it”

In an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen Franzen now talks about the incident and reveals the mind games Babcock used against him.

– I get the shivers when I think about it. That incident occurred against Nashville in the playoffs. It was coarse, nasty and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg. 

How would you describe Babcock as a coach and as a person?

– As a coach he is extremely meticulous and well prepared. He is very good at putting a team together and getting everyone to buy into it. That’s his strong side. 

– But then, he’s a terrible person, the worst I have ever met. He’s a bully who was attacking people. It could be a cleaner at the arena in Detroit or anybody. He would lay into people without any reason. 

”He would lay into a couple of players”

Do you remember when it started? 

– He would lay into a couple of the other players. The nice team players, the guys who don’t say very much. When they left the team he went on to focus on me. It was verbal attacks, he said horrible things. 

– From 2011 on, I was terrified of being at the rink. That’s when he got on me the first time. I just focused on getting out of bed every morning from that moment. Last year I could sleep naturally for the first time since then.

The nightmares keep coming back.

– It was just his attacks, playing in my head. Each and every day. But I got help managing those obsessions during three week at a center in Colorado last year. It was me and a group of veterans who also suffered from concussions and PTSD.

To Franzen, Babcock is something of a Jekyll and Hyde person.

– He was a specialist at handling the media. He creates teams that are very hard to beat, you can’t take that away from him. But he makes his players very anxious, they are scared to death of making mistakes, and his teams rarely gets past the first round of the playoffs.