Franzen put on IR with return of concussion symptoms

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Johan Franzen

Detroit — While it might mean the loss of 20 goals or more from the lineup, it is beyond doubt that is not the prime concern of anyone associated with the Red Wings.

Johan Franzen has run into some post-concussions symptoms again.

The Red Wings are concerned about the man, their friend, player and teammate.

“He worked hard to come back, and everything was going well,” general manager Ken Holland said. “But after he left the other day, we got a call saying some of the symptoms he had previously have returned.

“Obviously, there is concern.

“There is a lot of life after hockey, and we certainly don’t want to be putting a player in a position where he feels pressured to play in those circumstances.”

The expression on coach Jeff Blashill’s face said as much. He looked concerned, perhaps even sad.

“I feel unbelievably for him,” Blashill said.

“I think he’s a guy who’s been through a tough go. I think he’s a great person. He really wanted to get to where he felt good about playing hockey.

“I feel real bad.”

Before the first two games, Franzen had not played since Jan. 6, when a blind-side hit by Oilers forward Rob Klinkhammer put him down.

He also missed 22 games with concussion-related problems, and suffered from them in 2006 and 2008.

Just before Labor Day, Franzen addressed the issues at a time when he was feeling good again.

Asked if he had considered retiring, he said. “I haven’t been there yet, really, in my thoughts.

“It’s been tough years, the last two or three, with the injuries and the head. I just want to have a good year and I want to decide on my own when I quit.”

He said he had talked to his family.

“Well, they don’t want to see me like I was,” he said of the early weeks of his recovery. “But, I don’t think they want to see me grumpy and at home, and not being able to play, either.

“I think they’re happy I am improving, and looking forward to playing another year – or five.”

He turns 36 two days before Christmas.

The health of Franzen aside, there are some hockey issues.

Holland said Franzen is on the seven-day injured reserve list, which frees his position on the roster. But it does not free space under the cap equivalent to his salary.

Placing Franzen on the long term injured reserve list, which looks likely, would not allow the Wings equivalent cap space, either, Holland said.

According to the NHL rules, however, it does allow them to pay a replacement player, in certain circumstances, if they are right up to the cap.

“I think, right now, we don’t know what the future is going to hold,” said Blashill, who stated his intention not to address the issue, repeatedly, in the coming days, “We’re focused on the 20 guys we’re going to have dressed tonight (against the Hurricanes). We’re focused on the guys that are going to be available to us, right now. That’s the focus of the hockey team.”

Ice chips

Luke Glendening missed practice Thursday with swelling on the proverbial “lower body” after blocking a shot. He practiced Wednesday, but Blashill said the swelling became an issue.

Blashill said he did not know if Glendening would play tonight.

... Darren Helm suffered a bit of a setback at practice, but Blashill said that while he would not play tonight, Saturday remains a possibility.

... Joakim Andersson may play in his first game of the season.

“I have total confidence in him,” Blashill said.

... Blashill also said he has made up his mind on the starting goaltender, but would not say.

Bill Peters already has enough of an advantage,” Blashill joked about the former Red Wings assistant now with the Hurricanes. Peters broke in behind the bench with Blashill in Detroit several seasons ago.

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Hurricanes at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7:30 tonight, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit.

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Red Wings beat the Hurricanes, 4-3, in Carolina last weekend after rough turnaround from playing the night before. They were outshot 34-8 through two periods. ... The Red Wings enter tonight’s game with three days rest. ... D James Wisniewski is out for seasons (ACL) and F Riley Nash is out two weeks (shoulder). ... Jimmy Howard (1.99) and Petr Mrazek (1.33) have stellar career goals-against averages against the Hurricanes.