Is It Time to Move On From Franklin?
UPPER WEST SIDE ---- NEW YORK
It took NHL expert Long Shadow Jr. all of four games to declare last year’s #1 overall pick Jack Hughes a #bust. Long Shadow Jr. does not make his patented Long Shadow Guarantees often, but when he does, he is right almost every time. It was another late night in the Columbia Hockey Writers offices last night as everyone had gone home for the evening except for my boss and I. Naturally our conversation shifted towards Saturday night’s comeback overtime win for the Columbia Lions over fellow ivy league school Yale Bulldogs. We spoke of everything, from our depth players’ Jorgenson rankings, to head coach Bruce Baker’s suit, to Scott Slater’s crosscheck… It was then, in the depths of conversation, that Zack posed a difficult question: is it time to cut ties with Dennis Franklin?
Columbia has been involved in four overtime games this year; freshman “sensation” Dennis Franklin has zero (0) overtime game winning goals. Last night Dean Foskett had to complete his usual task of shutting down Yale’s top line and then he had to take on the additional role of scoring the game winner (in spectacular fashion, I might add). I spoke to Dean briefly after the game and when I asked him about the added expectations for him you could tell he was holding something back: “Yeah, you know, obviously scoring highlight reel OT winners is fun but at the end of the day Bruce expects me to be a shutdown D-man. We have forwards who are on this team to score, that’s supposed to be their job, so I’m out here doing my job AND their job and I’m only getting one paycheque. It just doesn’t seem right” Foskett explained.
Obviously, it can be frustrating when highly touted freshman do not appear as advertised. Besides all his ‘points’ and ‘backchecking’ and ‘goals’ and ‘everything else’ Franklin appeared quite irrelevant. Speaking of appearance, Franklin remains the only player on the Lions to not wear the standard navy-blue helmet his teammates wear, choosing to continue wearing a white helmet. Is this him trying to stand out from his peers? Is this an act of defiance? Is this a protest against the colour blue? Is Bruce Baker employing a Cleveland Brown-like system where the helmet is earned, not given? Nobody knows.
Coach Baker, when questioned, didn’t rule out the option of sending Franklin down to Columbia’s farm team for the bye-weekend, the ACHA D4 Barnard (bɑ:h-nɑ:d) Cubs. Historical medical professionals, and Game of Thrones enthusiasts will tell you that when an extremity gets infected, sometimes it’s best to cut off the whole arm before it infects the rest of the body. Now, I’m not saying Franklin is infecting the team just yet, but if he continues his trajectory of not scoring overtime game winning goals, game in and game out, it may be time to consider cutting off the arm.
Franklin led all skaters with 5 points last night and was named the game’s first star, he also continues to lead the rookie scoring race in the MCHC with 11 goals and 19 points in 5 games.
Mark Rassell is a Junior Reporter for the Columbia University Men’s Hockey Lions. Mark is currently studying Historical Medical Anthropology at the University of Westeros.