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Franzen to return Tuesday vs. Blues

Monday, 02.8.2010 / 3:46 PM ET / News
By Michelle Crechiolo  - Intern
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Franzen to return Tuesday vs. Blues
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DETROIT – After a four-month layoff, power forward Johan Franzen will make his much-awaited return to the Red Wings’ lineup Tuesday in St. Louis.

Franzen needed surgery to repair a torn left ACL suffered in the Wings’ home opener on Oct. 8. The projected recovery time for a significant injury like his, can take up to six months, but Franzen feels healthy and ready to get back to the grind.

“I’m really excited,” Franzen said. “I had a good practice today, and this was my first practice actually being in a line, so it was more fun. Hopefully with a good first game I can get some confidence, and hopefully feel good in the other games, too.”

Franzen has been an incredibly dominant force for the Wings, especially in the playoffs. During last season’s run to the Stanley Cup finals, he was second on the team with 23 points. His ability to generate offense also has his teammates anxiously awaiting his return.

“You’re talking about getting a player that is big, strong, and can dominate a hockey game,” Kris Draper said. “Right now, that’s something we’re certainly looking forward to having.

“Everyone’s seen him day in, day out, how hard he’s worked, off the ice and certainly on the ice. We’re thrilled to have him back in the lineup.”

While Wings coach Mike Babcock is as excited as anyone for Mule’s return, he warned against expecting too much, too soon from a player who has been removed from the speed, strength, and intensity of the NHL.

“The big thing is let’s not get our expectations out of whack,” Babcock said. “The guy hasn’t played since game three this year. That makes it hard for any player to get up to speed, and he’s going to be in a battle, but the thing about the Mule is he can shoot the puck, he’s a big, powerful guy, and ideally, he can help.”

There have been debates on whether Franzen should have waited to return after the Vancouver Olympics in order to get more rest. Franzen dispelled these arguments, saying he thinks it will be beneficial to play a few games for his body to gradually return to game shape.

“I think it will be good to get started here,” he said, “and then I will probably feel pretty bad, all my muscles will probably be sore, so get a good break in there and then I will be on the same page as the other guys are when we come back, hopefully.”

INJURY REPORT: The Red Wings will likely be without one defenseman and two forwards when they face off against the Blues at Scottrade Center on Tuesday.

“We’d like everyone to be at practice and be able to practice and know that they’re playing, that just hasn’t been the case for us,” Babcock said. “I’m hopeful that these guys are all returning tomorrow, I don’t know the answer to that though.”

Defenseman Nicklas Kronwall will more than likely miss Tuesday’s game to rest his troublesome knee. While he felt good in practice Monday, he is waiting for a different brace to come in that will make his knee “even more solid” and expects to play Thursday against Western Conference-leading San Jose.

“I can’t wait to get back in the lineup,” Kronwall commented.

Forward Patrick Eaves did not skate after a sustaining a sprained left ankle in Saturday’s loss in Los Angeles. Forward Tomas Holmstrom got on the ice for a short time, but left practice early. Both are doubtful for Tuesday.

Forward Drew Miller, who was questionable after taking a shot off his left ankle on Saturday, will dress against the Blues. He was apprehensive before hitting the ice for Monday’s practice, but all of his worries were alleviated once he began skating.

“I just didn’t know how it’d feel in the skate,” Miller said, “but I got out there and was able to go the whole practice, and it felt good, so I’m ready to go.”

TOLLEFSEN HEADS TO GR: Defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen cleared waivers after the noon deadline passed on Monday, and will begin playing with Grand Rapids Griffins immediately.

In order to clear salary-cap space for Franzen’s return, the Wings acquired Tollefsen and a ffith-round draft pick in 2011 on Saturday from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Ville Leino.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80