Franzen looks forward to training camp: 'I feel good'

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Johan Franzen actually was almost the last to find out he’d been cleared to participate in training camp.

“I read about it, so you knew it before I did,” Franzen said of the news late last week he’d gotten the OK to begin preparing for the upcoming season.

Franzen, out with a concussion since Jan. 6, has been skating with teammates during informal skates at Joe Louis Arena the past few weeks.

But he’s anxious to test himself in physical intrasquad scrimmages in Traverse City, and mostly, exhibition games.

“I missed it, I missed it big-time,” Franzen said. “It’s going to be great. It’s going to be fun to start training camp and play a few games.

“It’s a little early. I don’t know how I’ll feel. I think I feel good. I hope I feel good. I’m excited.”

By getting the clearance from doctors, Franzen said “I’m cleared to go full out and get bumped around, do everything, and then go from there.”

How Franzen reacts to getting hit, and doing the hitting, will be closely watched.

There has been very little physical play in these conditioning skates, and Franzen admits he still is getting minor headaches.

“I haven’t bumped into anyone, I bumped into Glennie (Luke Glendening) the other day but that was OK,” Franzen said. “A little stiff but it’s been going good.

“I have some headaches, but it’s not really that bad. I had one today but I don’t know what it could be, it might be just a regular headache and you can’t blame it on the concussion.

“As long as I can get through games, it doesn’t really bother me that much if I would have a little headache after (the game) or the next day. I’m getting used to that and there’s medicine for that, as long as it doesn’t get too bad I’m OK with that.”

Coach Jeff Blashill is excited about the potential of having Franzen in the lineup.

“If Johan is healthy, we’re a better hockey team with his size and ability to score goals,” Blashill said. “He seems to be in good spirits and in great shape and he’s excited about playing again.”

Camp objectives

The Red Wings make their way to Traverse City on Wednesday, have physicals the next day, and begin the on-ice portion of training camp Friday.

Blashill sees the time as an opportunity to build the team’s foundation and view the competition for playing time.

“Building the foundation of how we play,” Blashill said of the camp’s focus. “It’s not much different than how they’ve played here in the past. It’s just building those principles, making sure we get our principles down.

“I also think it’s a chance for some of the competition, for guys to show what spots they want within our lineup and our team. We’ve got an opportunity for some good competition that way.”

Goaltending riddle

Petr Mrazek got the nod to start in last season’s playoffs.

But that was under Mike Babcock, who left to coach Toronto, and with new coach and new season ahead, Mrazek knows he has to work to maintain a hold on the starting job.

“That was great, that I had a chance to start last year, but that’s over,” Mrazek said. “It happened, now it’s a new time to show coaches and the staff that I’m ready for a full (time) job here and play as many games as I can.”

New guidelines

The Red Wings will have a clear-bag policy for all games at Joe Louis Arena to provide a safer environment for the public and expedite entry for fans.

Fans who have non-compliant bags will be asked to return their bags to their cars.

Allowable bags include clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag, or small clutch bag about the size of a hand with or without a handle or strap.

Similar public safety measures have been established by all 32 NFL teams and Michigan and Spartan stadiums for college football.

Prospects Tournament

The Red Wings lost to Columbus 5-2 Tuesday in the championship game of the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City.

Tomas Nosek and Andreas Athanasiou scored for the Red Wings (3-1-0). Each had a team-leading three goals for the tournament.

Columbus won the championship for the fourth time in the 17-year history of the tournament. The Red Wings won the tournament in 2013.