Detroit forward Johan Franzen — currently sidelined with a concussion — won’t be able to play for Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to various reports.
Swedish head coach Par Marts announced the news, per EliteProspects, and a decision will be made shortly as to who will take Franzen’s place. “The Mule” was one of 14 forwards selected to the team in early January and, according to IIHF scribe Risto Pakarainen, Sweden’s list of replacement forwards includes Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist, Washington’s Marcus Johansson and Franzen’s Detroit teammate, Gustav Nyquist.
As for Franzen, already being ruled out of the Olympics can’t bode well for his long-term health. On Sunday, he returned from a 16-game absence to play in a shootout loss to Florida, but was put back on injured reserve with concussion-like symptoms following the game.
Franzen, who had been out since Dec. 15, played quite a bit against the Panthers — 16:45 TOI — and registered an assist while finishing minus-1. Head coach Mike Babcock was forced to use Franzen at center because fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg was a late scratch (lower-body), something the Wings’ bench boss wasn’t happy about.
“You come to the rink hopeful [Zetterberg is] going to play,” Babcock said, per Fox Sports Detroit. “Because we didn’t have morning skate we didn’t know. Then we got the news and went from there. We would have liked (Johan) Franzen not to play in the middle his first game back.
“When you’re a winger and you got go in the middle it’s great when you’ve played and you got tempo and you’re in the kind of game shape you want to be. But that’s part of life.”
Sweden is surely concerned about its health heading into Sochi. Franzen has already been ruled out; Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin are both sidelined by injury and Alex Steen is dealing with a fractured toe.