Franzen ready to get “bumped around” on the ice

DETROIT >> It’s full speed ahead for Johan Franzen.

After being cleared Thursday, the Detroit Red Wings power forward can’t wait to start getting “bumped around” on the ice.

“I’m cleared to try, I guess,” Franzen said Tuesday during the team’s last informal practice before heading to Traverse City for training camp. “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.

“I guess I’m cleared to go full-out and get bumped around, do everything and go from there,” Franzen added. “I haven’t been bumped into (during these skates), well, actually I bumped into (Luke Glendening) the other day. That was good. It’s been going good.”

Franzen, who has been taking part in informal skates these past few weeks, has suffered multi concussions in his career, the last of which occurred last season after a blind-side hit by Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer last January. He finished the game, but began experiencing concussion-like symptoms the next day.

Franzen, 35, said the headaches aren’t completely gone, but they’re not as severe.

“I’ve got one right now, it’s not that bad,” Franzen said. “It could be just a regular headache. You can’t blame anything on previous concussions, it could be just a regular headache.

“I’ve 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,” Franzen continued. “I’m getting used to that and there’s some medicine for that.”

Franzen, who has been limited to just 128 regular season games over the last three seasons, played in 33 games a year ago, picking up seven goals and 15 assists.

“First of all, it’s great for him,” Wings first-year coach Jeff Blashill said. “As an athlete, you certainly want to dictate your terms of how your career goes and he gets an opportunity right now, being cleared, to go out and dictate his terms.

“He seems to be in good spirits, seems to be in great shape,” Blashill continued. “I know he’s excited about getting back playing again. If Johan’s healthy, then we’re a much better hockey team with his size and his ability to score goals. He’s been a real good player, a real good Red Wing, so hopefully he can stay healthy.”

Franzen, who has 187 goals and 182 assists in 600 regular season games with the Wings, said he’s not going to think about the possibility of suffering another concussion.

“It’s impossible to think about,” said Franzen, who has 42 goals and 39 assists in 107 playoff games. “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.”

Franzen added he expects to play in four of the Wings’ eight preseason games, which begin next Tuesday in Chicago.

“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,” Franzen said. “That’s going to put it to the final test. Plus, getting bumped around, of course.”

The Wings open the regular season on Oct. 9 at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“He was an unknown and I really wasn’t sure where he would be at,” Blashill said. “As we kind of moved through the summer, it sounded like he was going to get a chance to be cleared.”


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