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Franzen gets OK to skate with team

Thursday, 05.22.2008 / 3:59 PM / 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Johan Franzen got the OK on Thursday to resume skating with the Red Wings after missing Detroit's last five games due to concussion-like symptoms.  Highlights
Johan Franzen, the top goal-scorer in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, got the OK on Thursday to resume skating with the Red Wings after missing Detroit's last five games in the Western Conference Final against Dallas due to concussion-like symptoms.

"We're optimistic," Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland said during a media conference call Thursday afternoon. "He’s doubtful for Game 1 (Saturday), but we've spoken to the doctors and have been notified that he's been cleared to start practicing (Friday) with our team, so we'll see how it goes."

Franzen had 12 goals and 15 points in the Wings' first 11 postseason games before being sidelined prior to Game 2 against the Stars. Franzen also had five game-winning goals, five power-play goals, two shorthanded scores and a plus-9 rating. His return would give Detroit's already-prolific offense a big boost. His 12 goals are still the most in this year's Playoffs.

"The possibility of him being in our lineup before the end of the series is pretty good,"  Holland said. "In the meantime, if he's pushing and has a setback, then that's going to be another story. But the good news is he went to see a doctor (Thursday) and was given clearance to start practicing. We have our fingers crossed and are hopeful."

Franzen had complained of headaches since early in the Wings' second-round sweep of the Colorado Avalanche, during which he set an NHL record of nine goals in a four-game series. He got the game-winner in the opener of the Western Finals, but was scratched before the pregame skate prior to Game 2 and hasn't suited up since then.

Franzen has scored 27 times in 27 games since March 2. His 12 goals in this year's Playoffs is a franchise record, and he's the first player to score 12 playoff goals in one year since Rod Brind'Amour did it for Carolina in 2006.

Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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