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Hit on Franzen worthy of suspension

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROITJohan Franzen is grateful that the hit his knee absorbed in Wednesday’s preseason opener in Pittsburgh wasn’t worse than it was.

But that doesn’t mean the NHL shouldn’t levy a suspension against the man who delivered the dirty hit, he said.
“In the air, I was thinking about my knee,” said Franzen of the knee-on-knee hit by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik late in the first period.

Franzen had just dumped the puck deep into the offensive zone and began to skate after it when Orpik swooped in with the hit that ended the night for the Wings’ power forward, who was assisted off the ice by athletic therapist Piet Van Zant.

“It was terrible,” said Franzen, who is one of the premier power forwards in the league. “He lifted his foot up and put his knee inside of my leg.”

Franzen, who missed four months last season following ACL surgery, believes Orpik’s hit does warrant a league suspension.

Coach Mike Babcock isn’t sure if the league will take a look at the hit, but he certainly wasn’t thrilled to see one of the team’s big offensive guns laying on the ice Wednesday.

“I didn’t think it was a very good hit,” Babcock said. “I don’t think they would be very happy if one of our guys did that to (Sidney Crosby) or (Evgeni) Malkin. … In the league, we like to look after each other’s knees, and to me that’s uncalled for.”
The hit was reminiscent of last season’s knee-on-knee shot by Montreal's Georges Laraque that sidelined Niklas Kronwall for two months. For his part, Laraque received a five-game suspension from the league.

At the time, Orpik received a five-minute major for kneeing. Moments later, he was also assessed a fighting major and game misconduct for his scuffle with Red Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi.

“I only saw (Franzen) on the ground. That’s it,” Bertuzzi said. “I just saw him flying through the air and rolling around.”

Franzen said that he has a charley horse, and that he hopes to return to the ice by Friday or Saturday.

INJURY UPDATE: Frazen wasn’t the only player not to participate in Thursday morning’s practice at Joe Louis Arena. Derek Meech (concussion), Kris Draper (groin) and Jiri Hudler (foot) sat out.

Hudler was hit with a puck during the team’s final scrimmage before breaking training camp in Traverse City. He was walking in the Wings’ locker room with an immobilizer on his left foot.

“I didn’t feel it at first,” Hudler said. “As soon as you take off the skate, it was very swollen. At least it’s not broken.”

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