DETROIT >> The third period on-ice incident between Johan Franzen and Ottawa’s Chris Neil has taken on a life of its own.
Just a day after Neil slammed Franzen to the Ottawa media, Saturday was Franzen’s time to respond.
“Someone told me, (they) said it was something weird,” Franzen said. “No one could really understand what it was. He said yellow streak or something?”
The Senators’ tough guy ripped Franzen’s helmet off and then began to rough up the Wings forward in the third period on Thursday.
What Neil said was, “(If) he wants to drop his purse, take the lipstick out, put it on his lips and ‘Let’s go.’ Anytime. Any day. Anywhere. I’m 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. He’s 6-foot-4, 240 pounds. I’m giving up height. I’m giving up weight. I’m not scared of him. Bring it on.
“I’d take my cape off (if) he took the yellow streak off down the middle of his back,” Neil added.
The cape reference was in response to what Franzen after the Wings’ 6-1 win over the Senators on Thursday.
“I think he got a little upset,” said Franzen, who potted a hat trick in the game. “I don’t know (why), I have no clue. He usually shows up when the game’s over and tries to be the hero. Puts his cape on and goes and flies around out there. He doesn’t like to take heat from fans and coaches, I think. He usually steps up when the game is over and shows everyone that he really fights hard.”
Franzen has 11 goals in his past four games against the Senators, including a five-goal outburst back in 2011.
As for Neil’s reference to Franzen dropping his purse, “OK That’s tough. It’s funny. I definitely don’t care.”
Despite his size, Franzen is a skill player and not anywhere near a fighter.
“He thinks I’m not tough because I’m not fighting him,” Franzen said. “What does he have, like 30 fights a year? And he’s been doing that his whole career. I’ve never had a fight in my whole life. It’s like me asking him to get hockey sense and good hands or something. It’s kind of the same thing.
“I’ve never been fighting, didn’t grow up fighting,” Franzen continued. “For me it’s not a part of the game. I couldn’t care less … I’m not going to fight. It’s as easy as that. I’ve had enough concussions. I’m definitely not going to risk one doing something stupid like that.”
Another reason why Franzen isn’t real eager to drop the gloves is his latest bout with concussions.
After missing 16 straight games due to a concussion he returned for one game before going back to the sidelines for the final six games before the Olympic break.
“I definitely wouldn’t start with him,” Franzen said. “Like I said, it’s like me asking him to be a good hockey player.”
Prior to getting sidelined on Dec. 15 when Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas hit him in the face during a battle for the puck, Franzen had seven goals and 10 assists over his last 17 games.
“I’ve been getting head shots pretty much every year and I don’t think it’s ever been punishment for any of the hits I’ve gotten to the head,” Franzen said. “This was the third one, targeting the head. He just sucker-punched me.
“I don’t care really, it’s up to the league to … maybe they should actually try to protect the players … a play like that when he just drops his gloves and punches me in the head, if he doesn’t get anything for that I don’t know, seriously, what’s going on,” Franzen added.
Having Franzen healthy will be big down the stretch for the Wings with Henrik Zetterberg lost for the rest of the regular season after having back surgery.
“I didn’t say that,” Franzen said when asked if he believed fighting should be taken out of the game. “I said I don’t fight. I never played that way. I don’t see the reason to start now.”