Babcock verbally assaulted Johan Franzen on the bench, causing Franzen a nervous breakdown


  • Chelios was a guest on the Spittin Chiclets podcast when he was asked to share his most harrowing story involving former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, one of the men who has been subject to a firestorm of criticism for his coaching style and a man that Chelios played under during his time with the Red Wings.
  • The story that Chelios decided to share was nothing short of chilling and takes on an even darker tone when you realize just how much Franzen is suffering today as a result of what he experienced in hockey.

“”That would be an easy one, it would be Johan Franzen,” said Chelios when asked about the worst abuse he had personally witnessed. “What he did to him at the end, he was hurt at the time… and some of the things he said to him on the bench… he was just blatantly verbally assaulting him during the game on the bench and it got to the point, no one really knowing that [Franzen] was suffering with the concussion thing and the depression thing, and he just broke down and had a nervous breakdown. Not only on the bench but after the game in one of the room’s in Nashville, so that was probably the worst thing I have ever seen.”

  • Johan Franzen told Swedish publication Expressen on Monday that ex-Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is “the worst person I’ve ever met,” as translated by the outlet.

“I get the shivers when I think about it,” Franzen said. “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.

“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.”

  • Franzen admitted that as a coach, Babcock was “meticulous and well prepared” but said “he’s a terrible person, the worst I’ve ever met. He’s a bully who was attacking people.”
  • The Swedish winger claims Babcocks’ tirades began one year prior to the event in Nashville and got so bad he struggled to get out of bed.

“From 2011 on, I was terrified of being at the rink,” Franzen said. “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.

“It was just his attacks, playing in my head. Each and every day.”

  • A year ago Franzen spoke to a Swedish outlet regarding the damage the brain injuries he received in the NHL had done to him, and the beloved NHL veteran revealed he had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
  • The comments he made at the time were obviously coming from a very dark place.

“Most of the time I think I am moving in the right direction, but when I have the down periods there is nothing positive,” said Franzen regarding his mental health. “I almost give up then, and it is even worse because you think you have been better for a while.”

“All I can do then is to sleep and lay in my bed. I take antidepressants and try to feel better again. But it quickly gets dark. Very dark.”

“Sometimes my whole world falls apart and I can’t see the light in the end of the tunnel.”

Sources & Credits: Spittin Chiclets, Peter Andrianopoulos, Hockeyfeed
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