The Detroit Red Wings received some good news as they ready to face the bumbling Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
The good news: Johan Franzen is set to return, according to the Detroit News.
Almost as good news: Sliding “The Mule” in the lineup won’t kick out any part of a top Red Wings line that has been pretty hot lately.
Rather than dislodging one of Justin Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg from a trio that’s been very productive lately, Franzen will be part of a second line that includes Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm, the Detroit News reports.
Then again, “The Mule” hopes he doesn’t mess that up, either.
“They have tons of speed, so they can help me with that,” Franzen joked to the Detroit News. “I just hope Nyquist stays hot. I hope I’m not going to cool him off.”
Franzen, 34, scored two goals in the Oct. 17 contest in which he got injured, so he’s coming off a two-goal game much like Nyquist.
As much as top players have come through for Detroit, Franzen’s struggled with injuries and up-and-down play lately. The Red Wings could be that much more dangerous if he can stay healthy and approach his prime form.
The NHL handed a two-game suspension to Los Angeles Kings winger Jordan Nolan for his boarding hit on Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm from Thursday.
Update: the league released an explanation video, noting that Nolan “forcefully” boarded Helm, who was not eligible to be hit:
Helm stayed in that game, which probably helped Nolan, 25, avoid a longer punishment. The Kings forward received a one-game suspension back in March, so the league considered him a repeat offender.
Here’s how it will impact his wallet:
Nolan is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $17,073.18. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen caught up with Nolan, who isn’t pleased with the decision:
After a remarkably (maybe coincidentally?) quiet October, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has been awfully busy lately. The latest verdict is a four-game suspension for Nashville Predators defenseman Anton Volchenkov’s hit on Calgary Flames forward Michael Ferland.
The league labels it “an illegal hit to the head.”
Update: here’s the explanation video for the hi, which left Ferland with a concussion:
Volchenkov, 35, has now been suspended three times in his NHL career.
Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference will have a meeting with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Monday for this high hit on Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian:
Ference received a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. The 35-year-old has been suspended on two different instances during his NHL career, with the most recent punishment being a one-game ban during the 2013 playoffs.
There’s no word regarding whether this will be a telephone or in-person hearing.
The New York Rangers are hoping that Ryan McDonagh will only be out three-to-four weeks while fellow defenseman Kevin Klein’s experiencing too much swelling to allow for an estimated window of recovery.
Not surprisingly, the team does know that Klein will miss at least tomorrow’s game against the St. Louis Blues:
Also not shocking: head coach Alain Vigneault admitted that Derek Stepan won’t be ready to return on Monday.
On the bright side, Stepan and Dan Boyle were able to participate in practice on Sunday, though both wore no-contact jerseys. Boyle could take a while to get comfortable enough to play, though:
Ryan Malone was placed on waivers to make room for an AHL call-up, which is expected to happen in the early evening.