Franzen ready to return to lineup, feels like he hasn’t played in a year or two

Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen (93) shoots as Pittsburgh Penguins' Sergei Gonchar (55) defends during the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game in Detroit on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen (93) shoots as Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sergei Gonchar (55) defends during the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game in Detroit on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


DETROIT >> It hasn’t been quite a year yet since Johan Franzen last played in a regular season game, but for him it feels like an eternity.

“I’ve just been working out all summer so I’m looking forward to it,” Franzen said Friday morning after the Wings’ morning skate at Joe Louis Arena as they prepared to host the Toronto Maple Leafs later that night. “I missed hockey a lot.

“I don’t know when I got hurt last season, but it feels like I haven’t played in a year or two,” Franzen added. “At least that’s how it feels. I’m really excited to get started tonight. Hopefully I won’t get too nervous or too excited that I forget about the details. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Franzen 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.

He didn’t return the rest of the season.

“Not really,” Franzen said when asked if he ever thought there was a chance he’d not return playing. “I was in a dark place for a while, but it was never really on my mind that it would stay like that forever. My focus was getting back to playing. I was like that the whole time.”

Franzen, 35, was cleared to resume playing prior to the start of training camp.

He said up until the time of training camp that his headaches weren’t completely gone, but they’re not as severe.

“Not too nervous, but you can get a little too excited because it’s the first game and you forget about what you’re supposed to do out there,” Franzen said. “Hopefully I can keep that under control and play a solid game.”

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.

He’s skating on a line with Teemu Pulkkinen and centered by Riley Sheahan.

Also prior to training camp, Franzen, who has 187 goals and 182 assists in 600 regular season games with the Wings, said that he wasn’t going to think about the possibility of suffering another concussion.

Franzen has 42 goals and 39 assists in 107 playoff games.

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