Johan Franzen

Wings’ Franzen has ‘no clue’ if he’ll return to playing


Johan Franzen says he’s finally starting to feel better, but isn’t sure if he’ll return to playing.

Franzen suffered a concussion following a hit from Oilers’ forward Rob Klinkhammer on Jan. 6 and did not play again.

“This time was a little bit scarier,” the 35-year-old told The Macomb Daily. “For two months you’re not able to pick up your kids or play with your kids for more than two minutes. It makes you think a little bit, but you know I’m slowly getting better, so that puts my mind to rest.

“I feel a lot better. I was in a really dark place maybe not the first month because you think it’s going to get better. But then when it doesn’t get better, you start wondering.”

Franzen, who has had multiple concussions during his 10 seasons in Detroit, was hoping to return to the Red Wings lineup if Detroit had advanced past Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs, but suffered a setback.

“Certainly the message the last month was he wanted to play,” said Red Wings’ GM Ken Holland. “He told us a couple weeks ago he felt great and was on the right path. If we advanced in the playoffs he was hoping he’d be available. Then he had a bit of a setback.

“People with concussions it’s hard to know, but the hope is over the summer he gets 100 percent healthy.”

As for his future in the game, both Franzen and Holland are unsure if the Wings’ forward will play again.

“I don’t think anybody knows,” Holland said. “When you’re dealing with people that have concussions and he’s (had) a bit of a history. That’s a decision that’ll be determined between Mule and Dr. (Jeffrey) Kutcher.”

Added Franzen: “I have no clue, but I’m just happy I’m feeling better. Hopefully, it’s going to progress a little bit every week and I will be fine.”

Franzen has five years left his deal with a cap hit of $3.95 million. If he does not play again, he will likely remain long-term injured reserve so that the Red Wings do not incur cap recapture penalties.

Holland: Franzen (concussion) not close to returning

Johan Franzen

With Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard healthy, Johan Franzen is the last Detroit player left on the injured reserve list. It sounds like the Red Wings won’t be back to full strength anytime soon though.

Franzen, who is dealing with a concussion sustained on Jan. 6, still isn’t ready to resume even off-ice workouts.

“I believe he’s getting a little bit better,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told “I know he’s working with Dr. (Jeff) Kutcher (a specialist at Michigan who treats sports concussions). I get a report occasionally from (trainer) Piet Van Zant when Piet talks to Dr. Kutcher. But (Franzen) is not here. He’s not on the bike. I don’t know how far he is away.”

The 35-year-old has a history of concussions and it most recently cost him 22 contests in 2013-14. He has seven goals and 22 points in 33 contests in 2014-15.

Video: Wings put Franzen on IR after blindside hit from Klinkhammer

Detroit Red Wings v Edmonton Oilers

Detroit put Johan Franzen on injured reserve with an upper-body ailment Thursday, just hours after taking this hit from Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer on Wednesday night (FF to 4:57):

Franzen left the game, returned almost immediately, then felt poorly on the flight out of Edmonton later in the evening, per MLive. The Swedish forward does have a history of concussions, including one last season that knocked him out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

As for last night’s hit, Klinkhammer wasn’t penalized on the play.

To replace Franzen on the active roster, Detroit has called up Teemu Pulkkinen from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Pulkkinen has been on fire in the American League lately and, on Wednesday, set a Grand Rapids franchise record by scoring a goal in his eighth consecutive game.

The Finnish forward currently leads the AHL in goalscoring, with 20 in 33 games.