“Injured forward” is a phrase as synonymous with Johan Franzen as “The Mule”. Alas, his latest setback will cost him a trip to the Sochi Olympics.
The Detroit Red Wings confirmed on Thursday that Franzen will miss the Winter Olympics for Team Sweden with lingering “concussion-like symptoms,” which also forced him back to the IR this week. He’s missed 16 of his last 17 games.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Franzen won't skate Friday and probably won't return Monday, when he's eligible to come off IR. “It’s doubtful we’ll play him before the Olympic break (Feb. 9-24)," Holland said. "Hopefully he’ll be ready to go after the Olympics.
… Franzen's withdrawal leaves the Red Wings with nine players heading to Sochi, Russia, including five Swedes (Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Jonas Gustavsson). Also participating are Jimmy Howard (USA), Pavel Datsyuk (Russia) and Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco (Slovakia). Mike Babcock is Canada's head coach.
The smart money’s on Patric Hornqvist of the Nashville Predators getting the call for Franzen, considering he’s another player quite comfortable with planting his backside in front of opposing nets.