Report: Franzen (concussion) to miss Olympics


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.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?