DETROIT – Johan Franzen will miss a fourth straight playoff game when his Detroit Red Wings try to eliminate the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s Western Conference final Saturday (1:30 p.m. ET).
Franzen, who scored a franchise-record 12 post-season goals before being told to sit, has been experiencing concussion-like symptoms such as headaches since taking a hit during the second-round sweep of Colorado. He’s been cleared for light workouts, but GM Ken Holland says “he’s going to have to practice with us for a few days and feel good the next day before he plays again.”
Said coach Mike Babcock: “Obviously, it’s real difficult for him. It’s part of playoff hockey though. Things like this happen. You know, the bottom line is you just got to overcome it. Every team gets injuries. I think the hardest thing for Mule’s situation is that it’s day to day – sounds like it’s week to week. It’s got to be frustrating for him, I’m sure. Drives you crazy. You feel pretty good and yet you’re not allowed to do nothing.”
POWER OUTAGE: The Red Wings are 0-for-13 on power plays since Henrik Zetterberg scored early in Game 2 against Dallas.
LIKE TO LEAD: The Red Wings have trailed for only 15 minutes 27 seconds of the series’ 240 minutes.
TWICE AS GOOD: Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg used to wear No. 20. In fact, his Swedish club team, Timra, retired it in his honour after he left for the NHL.
Zetterberg doesn’t wear the number for Detroit because Luc Robitaille wore 20 when Zetterberg joined the team. So, he doubled the 20, settled on 40, and he’s stuck with it.
‘BOUT TIME: Dallas forward Steve Ott said the biggest thing the Stars did in winning Game 4 was that they “proved that we belong in this series and deserve to be playing these guys in the conference final.
“Before that, maybe not so. We didn’t play the hockey we need to play in the first three games.”
JUST KIDS: Playing in an elimination game in the NHL playoffs reminds Brenden Morrow of his childhood.
“When you’re playing road hockey growing up, it’s always Game 7, and we have that mentality right now where if we lose one game, we’re done,” says the Dallas Stars captain. “So, it’s fun, an exciting time. We’ve got big challenges ahead of us.”
Dallas would love a winner, he said.
“Dallas sports with the Cowboys and Mavericks and ourselves, the early exits, the disappointments, it’s a big year for us,” said Morrow. “We don’t want our season to end. We’ve got some work to do.”
CAPTAIN EUROPE: Should the Red Wings go on to win the championship, captain Nicklas Lidstrom would be the first European NHL captain to be handed the Stanley Cup by the commissioner.
“It would be something special but that’s not why I want to be the Stanley Cup,” says Lidstrom. “I’d love to win it again because I’ve done it in the past and I know what it’s like lifting the Cup.
“You want to get that feeling back again.”
SECOND CHOICE: No. 96 was Tomas Holmstrom’s second choice for a Red Wings sweater number. He wore 15 during his first NHL season. When Dmitri Mironov was traded to Detroit, Holmstrom told him he could have 15 because he’d worn it for eight NHL seasons. Holmstrom then chose 96 because it was the year he left Sweden and joined the Red Wings.