DETROIT -- A day after scoring the game-winning goal and adding an assist in a historic win for the Detroit Red Wings, forward Johan Franzen missed Monday's practice at Joe Louis Arena.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was asked about Franzen's status after practice, and said the skilled Swedish power forward was "fine."
Franzen, however, was seen with his ankle taped in the locker room. He also had an ankle injury in a first-round playoff series last spring against the Phoenix Coyotes, which he said gave him problems all summer while trying to do conditioning work.
Franzen leads Detroit with 22 goals and leads the NHL with 10 game-winning goals -- including a goal early in the third that held up as the winner in Sunday's 4-3 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers that gave the Wings their NHL record-tying 20th straight home win.
The 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers also won that many in a row in one season. As for Franzen’s goal, it remained a topic of conversation a day later for its sheer beauty.
Set up by crisp passes from fellow Swedes Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom, it was a tic-tac-toe play that finished with Franzen streaking to the back side of the net and tapping home a perfect pass from Lidstrom.
"I know (Franzen) is there when (Zetterberg's) got the puck," said Lidstrom, whose perfectly placed one-time snap pass went right onto Franzen's stick blade. "The play started in their left corner, so that's when I sort of slid down their back side and I knew 'Mule' (Franzen) was standing there. As soon as I saw the puck coming to me, I saw their (defenseman) sort of leaving him, too. I just tried to put it in there. It could've been close to his skate and he could've missed it, too. I tried to get it there quick, so the goalie didn't have a chance to get back."
Everything worked perfectly, of course, and looking back on it a day later was fun to admire. It was one of those pretty goals that players love and coaches are leery of -- for fear their team will start trying for them all the time rather than getting "dirty" goals off tips and rebounds.
"It is fun," Lidstrom said of the goal. "It doesn’t happen all that often where you can make plays like that, but the opportunity was there and we took advantage of it."
You forget how good [Nieuwendyk] was. You hear the points and stuff and you almost forget until they kind of walk you through his career, and that was really cool for me. I might have felt it a little more than some of the other guys because he was one of my favorites growing up, but that was very cool and I'm honored to have been a part of it. I had chills the entire ceremony.
— Calgary's Joe Colborne on the "Forever a Flame" ceremony for Joe Nieuwendyk