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Even 21 stitches can't stop The Mule

by Jeff Sanford / Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen talks about his facial injury after the Wings' 4-3 win
DETROIT - Despite being knocked violently against the boards and re-opening old wounds to his face midway through the first period Saturday afternoon, Wings forward Johan Franzen returned to the game just a period later, as Detroit secured their second straight win against the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.


Franzen - banged up and looking like an extra from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” - skated back onto the ice during the second period Saturday as a sold-out Joe Louis crowd chanted the forward’s name.

Franzen went down in the first after getting bumped from behind by Phoenix’s Shane Doan and colliding against the boards in a controversial play. He stayed down on the ice for a few minutes while Wings’ training staff assessed the damage. Franzen received 21 stitches while in the locker room, and routine concussion tests were performed before he was cleared to play again. There was no penalty call on the play. 

Detroit coach Mike Babcock and Phoenix coach Dave Tippett both agreed after the game that the refs made the right call by not assessing Doan a penalty.

Despite the stitches and a stopper in his nose to prevent bleeding, Franzen said he felt “great” after the game, although he did mention it was “hard to breath out there.”

And even though he definitely looked worse for wear, he still found time to crack a few jokes.

“I probably should have stayed out. They played a lot better without me,” Franzen said, alluding to the three goals his team scored while he was getting stitched up.

Detroit will take a 2-0 series lead to Phoenix as both teams ready for Monday night’s Game 3. 

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