Tag Archives: johan franzen

Wings want to continue to build on the fly with young talent

DETROIT >> With a head coach in place, the Detroit Red Wings can turn their focus on how the roster will look for the 2015-16 season.

And that gets going Tuesday when general manager Ken Holland oversees things during the annual pro scouting meetings, which run to Thursday.

“We’re trying to go younger,” Holland said. “We’re trying to get better and sometimes when you’re dealing with younger people you’ve got to have patience and believe the patience is going to reward you somewhere down the line.”

The Wings’ core – Pavel Datsyuk (36), Henrik Zetterberg (35) and Niklas Kronwall (33) – are getting up there in age.

“There’s no doubt the core group of our team is old, but they’re superstars in their prime,” Holland said. “Those players can last longer. Even as their skills diminish, they may not be superstars, but they’re still good players. That’s what happened with (Steve) Yzerman, (Nicklas) Lidstrom. They could play until they’re 40. We’ve got a core that’s older, but if we can support them with youth, enthusiasm, speed, energy, it allows those players to kind of hold and maintain their status.”

The Wings have 17 players signed for next season with a cap hit of $56 million. This year’s projected cap is around $71 million.

Of the 17 players signed, two – Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss – may not be back because of different issues. Franzen ($3.955 million per year over the next five seasons) because of his concussion issues and Weiss ($4.9 million per year over the next three seasons) having the potential to be bought out.

“I think the way things ended last year when I came back when the season started I wasn’t in the lineup, I was a healthy scratch, sat around for a while,” said Weiss, who has a no-trade clause in his deal. “They told me they were going to put me in and wanted to know if I wanted to go play a couple games in Grand Rapids. I wanted to. I went and did that, came back and got a good opportunity then. Playing with Pav there for a little bit and playing pretty well. And then, for whatever reason, I just fell down the lineup. I wasn’t playing a ton and when you’re not playing a lot it’s tough to do what you’ve always done.”

The buyout period runs June 15-30. Players receive two-thirds of the remaining contract value spread out over twice the remaining length of the deal.

If new coach Jeff Blashill feels Weiss, 32, will help the lineup he’ll be back.

A lot of the remaining cap dollars will have to go to re-sign restricted free agents Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro.

They also have those in need of extensions next season – unrestricted free agents Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm, along with restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek and Riley Sheahan.

Holland said Blashill will have input as well on how the roster will take shape.

“My management philosophy is we’re all in it together and at the end of the day the head coach has to have a voice as we head into the off-season as we make decisions,” Holland said. “He’s behind the bench. I can’t tell somebody ‘we trust you to run the bench but we’re not letting you be involved in any decisions. You’re not qualified to make any decisions.’ That doesn’t make sense.

“Mike Babcock was involved in lots of the decisions,” Holland continued. “Not many decisions went on where he wasn’t totally involved. Some of the decisions he was the leader on, good and bad. When I say bad, I mean decisions that didn’t work out. We’re in it together.”

This and that … Zetterberg doesn’t practice, but will play Thursday; Franzen still MIA

DETROIT >> Henrik Zetterberg was absent at practice, but will play Thursday according to Wings general manager Ken Holland.

— Petr Mrazek will start in Colorado

— Jonas Gustavsson will complete his two-game conditioning stint with Grand Rapids Wednesday in Toronto and then join the team in Denver.

— There has still been no sign of Johan Franzen in the Wings’ locker room since he was injured on Jan. 6. “I don’t think he’s doing great, but I don’t really know,” Holland said. “He doesn’t come here. Until he gets to the point where they’re telling me he’s starting to work out, he’s starting to train, we run the team like they’re not on the team.”

According to Wings GM Ken Holland, Tomas Jurco could be out through All Star break; Kindl improving

TAYLOR >> Tomas Jurco (back) and Johan Franzen didn’t practice Friday.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said that Jurco is out at least a week and could possibly be shut down until after the All Star break.

“He’s got a back issue, a little bit of a disc issue,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’ll be shut down for a bit, hopefully for not long.”

Babcock had no update on Franzen, who was placed on short-term injured reserve.

Jakub Kindl practiced and said his elbow is getting better.

“It’s in a bad spot where if I get caught out there, I don’t want to get it worse,” Kindl said. “It’s just got to heal properly.

“I can skate finally, I can shoot finally,” Kindl added. “I’m just trying to get into contact more and more but obviously I’m trying to be careful. I don’t want to jam it or twist it again.”

Wings GM Ken Holland on Teemu Pulkkinen: “He’s got a weapon. His shot is his weapon.”

DETROIT >> Teemu Pulkkinen has been lighting up the American Hockey League this season.

Now he’ll get another chance to see what he can do against the best of the best.

The Wings recalled Pulkkinen from Grand Rapids after placing Johan Franzen on short-term injured reserve.

Pulkkinen leads the AHL in scoring with 20 goals and is tied for second with 39 points.

“I think the thing we like about Pulkkinen is he’s got a tremendous shot,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Thursday. “He’s got a weapon. His shot is his weapon. He likes to use it and he seems like he knows how to get open.”

Pulkkinen equaled a Grand Rapids franchise record Wednesday with a goal to extend his goal scoring streak to eight consecutive games. The mark was set by Donald MacLean in the 2005-06 season.

“We felt he deserves to come up here,” Holland said. “Mike Babcock and I had been talking the last little while that if we had an opportunity along the way to see what he could do we would. He certainly deserves to be rewarded with an opportunity.”

Tomas Jurco is also sidelined with back spasms.

“It’s an opportunity for him,” Holland said. “He’ll play in Washington. He’ll be in the lineup. I’m not sure how much he’ll play, Mike Babcock will figure that out as they go.

“He’s been a talented offensive guy,” Holland continued.

Holland wasn’t sure what line Babcock would put Pulkkinen on, but one thing’s almost certain is he’ll play on the power play with his right-handed shot.

Pulkkinen played in three games last season with the Wings and didn’t register a point and had just four shots on goal.

“He had a real good rookie year last year with 31 goals,” Holland said. “He came to camp this year, played some preseason games and played pretty well. He’s picked up where he left off last year and continues to get better. Certainly we’re aware of how he’s doing there.”

Pulkkinen slipped in the entry draft after injuring his shoulder and the Wings were able to get him in the fourth round, 111th overall, in 2010.

The year he was drafted he set a record for assists (36) by a rookie in the Finnish Elite League, breaking the mark set by Teemu Selanne.

“We’ll see what he can do,” Holland said.

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock all but comes out and says what’s missing from Johan Franzen’s game of late.

“I think (Justin) Abdelkader’s our biggest … because he’s tenacious and hard. Your bigger people that have that ability … I watch (the New York Islanders’ Anders) Lee, he’s at the net all the time, so that frees up other people. To me you need guys like that. (Darren) Helm’s done a nice job like that. Abdelkader’s done a nice job like that. Jurco’s trying to do a job like that. The more of those people you have that can play heavy the better opportunity you have to spend time in your zone.”

Franzen has been battling an illness for a few weeks; he hasn’t scored since Nov. 20 and it a team-worse minus-9

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

Johan Franzen (illness) and Stephen Weiss (shoulder) both took part in a full practice.

Franzen hopes to return to the lineup Friday against the New York Islanders after missing Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Weiss, who separated his shoulder on Dec. 12, is shooting to return Sunday at home against the Colorado Avalanche.

For Franzen, he’s been battling an illness for a number of weeks.

“I’ve been under the weather for three weeks or so I think my body shut down for a few days,” said Franzen, who didn’t feat he had the mumps. “I’ve just been battling flus, stomach flus, regular flus, for the last few weeks. I just haven’t been able to get healthy.

“Beginning of this week I just felt really, really awful, like no energy, nothing,” Franzen added. “I figured I needed a couple days just to get healthy. I think it’s run its course.”

Franzen said they ran tests on him Wednesday and found no mumps virus, which has hit the NHL hard this season.

“I’ve been battling stuff the last few weeks, enough was enough,” Franzen said. “I just needed to get rid of it. Sunday I got really, really sick. Tuesday I tried to skate in the morning skate and I was really shaky. I just was running on empty.”

That illness could have affected how Franzen performed on the ice.

He hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 20 and is a team-worse minus-9.

“No,” Franzen said when asked if he was frustrated he wasn’t scoring much.

“Not really, mostly in the corners, passing pucks,” Franzen added when asked if he felt he was creating chances.

Asked if it was important for him to go into the short Christmas break on a strong note Franzen said, “I hope we win the last three games. That would be nice. If we win three games I’m happy, it’s a good Christmas gift.”

Franzen has never finished a season with a minus.

“We need him playing hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Everybody on the team, if your work doesn’t come before your skill you got no chance to be any good, period. So if you’re not a worker, no chance in today’s NHL, period. That’s why you look through it and see the teams. You’ve got to skate and you’ve got to work and if you can’t you’ve got to have people around you that flat-out can. But you can only have one guy per line max that doesn’t really haul.”

Tatar: Wings need to battle hard against Florida, not like how little they battled in last meeting

DETROIT >> The Wings all know too well what kind of problems this Florida Panthers team pose.

All they have to do is look back at the last meeting this season.

The Panthers beat the Wings, 4-3, to snap Detroit’s four-game winning streak.

“They just play hard,” Johan Franzen said. “They protect the net pretty good. It was tough to get in there. We had a pretty bad start I think against them. Hopefully we can learn something from that.”

The loss to Florida was just Detroit’s first loss in regulation in the last nine games.

“I feel if we play like (Wednesday) we will beat them,” Tomas Tatar said. “They battle hard. Like the games we play against them we don’t want to battle hard. This is the NHL, things are so tight right now. You’re not good enough with just skill, you have to battle hard to help your skill. We need to want to win more than they do and we can get two points.”

The Panthers sit 11 points behind the Wings in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.