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Franzen clears first hurdle

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen was helped off the ice by Red Wings trainer Piet Van Zant in Edmonton on Jan. 6. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT -- Now that Johan Franzen has cleared the first hurdle, it's time to see if he can clear the next.

Franzen, who has been cleared by doctors to take part in all activities, is eager to get going.

"I’m cleared to try, I guess," Franzen said after Tuesday's informal skate. "It’s going to be fun to start training camp and play a few games. It’s too early to tell, to know how I’m going to feel. I think I’m going to feel good and I hope I’m going to feel good, so I’m excited."

New coach Jeff Blashill is excited about the possibility that Franzen could play this season.

"If Johan's healthy, then we're a much better hockey team with his size and his ability to score goals," Blashill said. "He's been a real good player, a real good Red Wing, so hopefully he can stay healthy."

In healthier times, Franzen has scored as many as 34 goals in a season.

"There’s an unknown with Johan Franzen," general manager Ken Holland said. "He’s been out since January. If we can get lucky with some health and Franzen is one of those guys, Johan has a real chance to be a big impact on our team."

But the fact is that Franzen has not played in a game since getting injured Jan. 6 in Edmonton.

"I need a few games," Franzen said. "Exactly four. That’s going to challenge the mind and the head the most when you .got to have your head on a swivel all the time and you got to stay focused and know what’s going on around you. That’s going to put it to the final test. Plus, getting bumped around, of course. But I’m looking forward to that. I missed it."

Franzen said he won't be worried about another concussion once he's in a game.

"Maybe on a day like this you might skate around and think a little bit and be cautious, but as soon as you’re in a game and you set your mind into game mode you don’t have time to think about anything, you just go and react," he said.

Franzen said he bumped into Luke Glendening once during informal skates but that's one thing he's going to have to do during camp and in preseason games.

"If there’s no contact I’m going to look for it, you know, just to try it out," Franzen said.

Franzen said he still gets headaches from time to time and even had one after Tuesday's skate.

"You can’t blame anything on previous concussions, it could be just a regular headache," Franzen said. "I got some issues but as long as I can get through games it doesn’t bother me too much if I have a little headache after or the next day. I’m getting used to that and there’s some medicine for that."

NOTEBOOK: Franzen, Gustav Nyquist, Jakub Kindl and Dan Cleary all flew to New York to watch some of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

"It was good," Franzen said. "My games were a little quick, the ones I went to, but it was a good experience. I made it back in time for dinner. I was there for Friday, I wasn’t there for Sunday. I watched that on TV. I felt bad for (Roger) Federer. He was a little too tense. He needs to be relaxed and smooth and play his beautiful tennis but he was a little tense in the beginning. (Novak) Djokovic is pretty good. He’s got his number."


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