A wing for the majority of his career with the Red Wings, Johan Franzen has been switched to center on occasion when coach Mike Babcock shuffles his lines. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
Detroit — Johan Franzen is back in familiar territory.
For the second consecutive game, Franzen finds himself back at center, between Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Alfredsson.
A wing for the majority of his career with the Red Wings, Franzen has been switched to center on occasion when coach Mike Babcock shuffles his lines, like this particular instance.
Franzen progressed through the junior ranks back in Sweden, and began his Red Wings career, as a center.
"It's fun, you're more involved, get more choices when you get the puck," Franzen said. "You're stuck on the boards when you're on the wing.
"I feel pretty comfortable with it."
Franzen handled himself well Monday against San Jose center Joe Thornton, after finding out that day he was moving back to the middle.
"I was a little worried (when I found out), playing against the hottest team in the league, it could be bad," Franzen said. "But it was a good first game."
Franzen's line has size and goal-scoring ability, so the potential for success is there.
Babcock likes the possibilities.
"When the Mule (Franzen) skates, he can be a dominant player," Babcock said. "He came up as a checking center and found out he could really score.
"This gives us a good 1-2 punch, and (Stephen) Weiss, (Daniel) Cleary and (Tomas) Tatar played real well (Monday, on the third line)."
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall's head keeps getting in the way.
There was a minor scare for Kronwall during Wednesday's morning skate.
Returning to the lineup after missing the last two games with a mild concussion, Kronwall took a puck to his mouth during a penalty-killing drill and needed stitches.
"The puck came off my blade," said Kronwall, sporting a bloody cut near his lip.
Babcock and Kronwall both said it wouldn't be an issue in terms of Kronwall returning to the lineup Wednesday against Ottawa.
Kronwall was scheduled to see a dentist Wednesday afternoon, because he did suffer some damage to his teeth.
The Red Wings recalled Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids in case Kronwall cannot play, general manager Ken Holland said.
The crush of Ottawa reporters surrounding Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson expanded even more during Wednesday's morning skate, resembling a playoff media crowd. Alfredsson spent 17 years with the Senators before signing with the Red Wings this past offseason.
Some reporters couldn't help but joke with former Florida forward Stephen Weiss about the first time he'll face his former team, the Panthers.
Expecting the same type of media crush from the South Florida press, Stephen?
"I don't," Weiss said. "No."
Weiss is trying to get on track offensively (two goals, no assists in 10 games), and Monday was moved to a line with Cleary and Tatar, in a more defensive role.
Babcock — and Weiss — feel this is a good opportunity for Weiss to round back into form.
"Play hockey, handle the puck, have fun, and relax and everything else will come," Weiss said. "A little bit different mindset. Not as worried about results and just go out and play and create, and the line had some jump and we created a couple of chances and hopefully we'll be even better."